Post war Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb. (from IMDB)
With Godzilla turning 70 this year, and last month's release of Godzilla Minus One, director Takashi Yamazaki has decided to pay homage to the character's big screen roots and release a black-and-white version of the movie, aptly titled Godzilla Minus One Minus Color.
Before experiencing the film in black-and-white, I did see Godzilla Minus One in color twice in theaters. It's a truly incredible film that is expertly made all around. It's amazing how "human" the story about a giant city-destroying lizard is. Godzilla Minus One might be a little light on action, but when it delivers, it really delivers.
But I've already reviewed the film in full, so if you'd like to read that review, please visit this link for the full write-up. I'll be discussing the new black-and-white release here.
With Godzilla's origin on film being during the era of black and white cinema, it seemed like a no-brainer to release a black and white version of his latest - and perhaps greatest - big screen outing. Director/writer/VFX artist Takashi Yamazaki didn't just take the film and desaturate it; he painstakingly optimized the movie in black and white frame by frame... and the effort definitely shows.
From the start, Godzilla Minus One Minus Color feels right in grayscale. Personally, I'm a big fan of a lot of classic films that have only ever been shown in black and white -- anything from Some Like It Hot and It's a Wonderful Life, to Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Roman Holiday, and Casablanca (just to name a couple). The idea of seeing this story sans color really intrigued me. And its desaturated presentation definitely leant to that throwback feel.
But since I'd seen Godzilla Minus One in color twice before, I did find the black-and-white presentation to be somewhat of a disadvantage for the movie. As we crossed the lobby after the movie, my dad - a lifelong Godzilla enthusiast - commented that he liked it but he wished he'd seen it in black and white first before seeing it in color. I concur. Scenes like Godzilla's blue heat ray slowly illuminating his back, and Koichi wandering the rubble of his hometown, lose something without color. I felt the color version had more depth and grittiness to it. Ultimately, it felt more real to me in color.
All in all, I still left Godzilla Minus One Minus Color feeling as fulfilled and pumped as when I saw its colorized version twice before. Which is better? That's really up to the viewer, but for my money, I would say the color version is definitely better. Still, there's a charm to seeing a new Godzilla movie in its original (throwback) black-and-white presentation (especially since it takes place in the mid-1940's). With this version being the only one you can see in theaters at the moment (and apparently it will only be in theaters for a week), it's ultimately your only viewing option. So if you don't mind black-and-white movies, and you've yet to see Godzilla Minus One, then I definitely recommend catching this one on the big screen while you can.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 1/27/24)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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