MOVIES

Godzilla Minus One Just Made Oscar History After 70 Years Of Kaiju Films

1954’s “Godzilla” was a game-changer for the film industry. Up to that point, mainstream monster movies were a dime a dozen and often required the use of elaborate techniques to bring them to life, such as the intricate stop-motion effects of 1933’s “King Kong.” While suits had been seen now and then, it wouldn’t be until the release of “Godzilla” that this craft was elevated to a new art form, commonly referred to as tokusatsu. And while “Godzilla Minus One” has embraced the modern era of visual effects technology, it nevertheless harbors the same spirit of classic kaiju cinema. 

Japanese filmmakers have historically worked with smaller budgets than their American counterparts. As a result, effects artists such as Eiji Tsuburaya, who worked on many of the Showa era Godzilla movies along with creating the “Ultraman” franchise, were forced to make the best with what they had. Whereas Hollywood productions often throw money at their problems, these craftsmen relied on a level of creativity and ingenuity that came alive in their work. Tricks as simple as lowering the frame rate and utilizing creative camera and lighting angles did more than enough to give the monsters and their miniature environments a rich sense of atmosphere. 

With a budget of $15 million (and potentially less according to some reports), “Godzilla Minus One” stands out from the crowd, with the second lowest budget within its Oscar category being “The Creator” at $80 million. It’s a staggering achievement, to say the least, and proof that a film’s effects should not be judged by their perfection, but by the collective creativity, hard work, and artistry that went into making them. 

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