“The fear and threat of it”: Godzilla Minus One Director Addresses Striking Similarity with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer

Takashi Yamazaki discusses returning The King of Monsters with Godzilla Minus One to its roots for a modern audience.

“The fear and threat of it”: Godzilla Minus One Director Addresses Striking Similarity with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer

SUMMARY

  • The focus on historical figures connected to nuclear bombs and the aftermath of grief and guilt unites Oppenheimer and Godzilla Minus One.
  • Despite not being sequels, seeing these movies together offers a unique perspective on World War II from both the American and Japanese points of view.
  • Both movies provide a spectacle with profound meaning while striking a balance between mainstream cinema and independent entertainment.
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The cinematic experience of Godzilla Minus One is intense. However, in contrast to nearly all other Godzilla or giant monster films, this characteristic is largely attributed to the human characters rather than the formidable creatures they dread. Similar to Oppenheimer, Takashi Yamazaki’s film also explores the wounds caused by World War II, but this time from the viewpoint of those who were compelled to look up and witness the complete destruction.

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It makes sense that Yamazaki understands that the “fear and terror” caused by an apparently unstoppable force lie at the heart of Toho’s 33rd Godzilla film. The strikingly different films, Godzilla Minus One and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer combine artistic endeavor, genre subversion, and historical context in a way that is entirely new. Both include enormous historical characters connected to the atomic bomb. Both portray the debilitating consequences of deeply ingrained grief and guilt in the country. Both occurred at a time when the effects of war were still being felt in political arenas.

With both movies delving into themes of fear, threat, and humanity’s relentless battle against powerful forces, Yamazaki has come forward to draw intriguing parallels between his work and Oppenheimer.

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Godzilla Minus One
A scene from Godzilla Minus One

Also read: Godzilla Minus One Team’s Reaction to Historic Oscar Nomination is the Best Thing You Will See Today

Takashi Yamazaki Talks About Oppenheimer and Godzilla Minus One’s ‘Striking’ Connection

Godzilla Minus One, directed by Takashi Yamazaki and set in post-World War II Tokyo, presents the iconic monster as a new crisis brought about by the devastating power of the nuclear bomb. The director admits that it was “definitely a coincidence” that the movie came out the same year as Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which is about the father of the atomic bomb.

Yamazaki cannot help but notice both films’ striking similarities and their shared relevance. The Japanese filmmaker, 59, recently informed MovieMaker:

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“I think the threat of nuclear warfare is almost at its highest right now in recent years than in any other year that most of us have been alive. And in some ways, the original 1954 Godzilla was created with that same backdrop in the wake of World War II, asking what it means for these superpowers to develop so many nuclear warheads.”

Oppenheimer
A still from Oppenheimer

The director skillfully points out that the striking parallels between his and Nolan’s films sharpen the focus on shared themes, timely relevance, and the essence of “fear and threat”:

“I think the fear and threat of it is certainly real, but the timely relevance of the thematic elements are quite striking.”

In Godzilla Minus One, a motley crew of veterans band together to do what their nation is unable to do—that is, to eliminate the threat permanently. Leading the Japanese ensemble of actors is actor Ryunosuke Kamiki, who plays Kōichi Shikishima, a former Kamikaze pilot. Referring to Godzilla Minus One, Yamazaki tells MovieMaker that it is 

“A culmination of my entire filmography and everything I’ve been building up this entire time.” 

Godzilla Minus One shattered all box office expectations and emerged as a big hit
Godzilla Minus One 

Oppenheimer, on the other hand, accomplishes the seemingly unachievable task of fusing the director’s cinematic inclinations with a biographical epic, proving Nolan’s mastery of biopic engineering.

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Also read: “You just need horrid working conditions”: Godzilla Minus One Reveals Surprisingly Low VFX Artists That Has Left Fans Concerned About Their Well-Being

What More To Know About Godzilla Minus One 

The fear of a nuclear dystopia has become part of American mythology; the impending destruction is only a byproduct of the country’s own destructive behaviors. A similar theme runs through Takashi Yamazaki’s 2023 film, Godzilla Minus One as writer/director. 

The 37th film in the Godzilla franchise goes one step further by setting the story in the years following the war’s conclusion, prompting Yamazaki to spend three years writing the script, drawing inspiration from Godzilla (1954) and Jaws (1975). 

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A still from Godzilla Minus One
A still from Godzilla Minus One

In an interview with The Verge, Yamazaki stated that his goal was to convey the idea of how strong people can be in the face of unfathomable adversity:

“I wanted to tell a story about perseverance and bravery from the perspective of people who were at the bottom of the bottom in a society that was dealing with the devastation of feeling like it had lost everything during the war. Everyone’s already living with post-traumatic stress disorder and not knowing how to carry on.”

Also Read: “It deserves more”: Godzilla Minus One’s Staggering Win Has Fans Demanding the Impossible

Although these traits can be found in some of Toho’s most iconic Godzilla stories, Yamazaki was aware that he would need to fully embody them in his 2023 125-minute movie. With Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Yuki Yamada, and Hidetaka Yoshioka, among others, Godzilla Minus One is currently playing in theaters.

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Meanwhile, Oppenheimer can be rented on Apple TV.

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1775

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1700 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.