Gojira -1.0

Naoki Sat?

" Gojira Minus One can only be fully enjoyed and viewed as a standalone (flawed) masterpiece, one of the best Naoki Sato has ever written. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Ever since the first Japanese film in 1975, most of the Gojira films have included references to (nuclear) war trauma, environmental issues, symbolic themes, and specific Japanese topics, but also embarked on remarkably silly side roads. This new Gojira -1.0 (Godzilla Minus One, 2023) takes several of these themes and includes something as recent as the COVID-19 period as a source of inspiration for the director. Unfortunately, this is also the first attempt by a Gojira film to 'deeply' focus on the human factor, which fails, solely delivering an enormous amount of forgettable, embarrassing melodrama.

There are two central themes, a four- and six-note motif that signals a sense of hope, despair, trauma, and melancholy related to the central idea of the film to focus on characters (especially Kochi) and the overall melodramatic intent renders the music almost completely useless, even though some music independently isn't, but in context is beyond weak. They can be heard in excellent cues, such as Pain, Elegy, Divine and Hope, while being further developed in the unreleased portions of the score.

The three-note motif for Gojira is of stelllar quality within this score. Ever since monstrous creatures existed, even long before and after the very first 1954 Gojira film, this sound - orchestral burst of energy by brass, other orchestral elements, and chorus/choir - has been a cliché and continues to be so. I rarely find it engaging anymore, but at least Satō brings enough excellence to make it work splendidly. Yet, he also has arranged and re-recorded music from four previous Gojira scores; the three suites. In the tradition of the entire Japanese legacy, tracked in music by Akira Ifukube was often a recurring phenomenon, and Gojira -1.0 is no exception, only with the note that they are Satō's reworkings. Yet, in dismissing the melodrama, I found these epic Gojira elements, besides some atonal pieces, to be the best in context. What Satō tries to establish with his score is terribly interrupted by these pieces on the album.

Another important ingredient of the score is fearsome music Satō wrote, which is especially clear in some first few pieces. He uses incredibly hallucinating avant-garde atonal influences and a deeply atmospheric approach, such as an inadmissible fog horn effect.

The minimal, atmospheric electronic/orchestral fear, the brobdingnagian three-note Gojira motif, and the two themes related to the character's melodramatic developments intertwine throughout the score. Naoki Satō's music displays a strong soundscape of many subtleties and enrichments in how it is written and orchestrated, but in its overal presentation is very ubsubtle and wrongfully melodramatic in context. Gojira Minus One can only be fully enjoyed and viewed as a standalone (flawed) masterpiece, one of the best Naoki Satō has ever written.

A special mention goes out to the exceptional use of the noble tuba, the Daisensei Muroya Strings/Koichiro Muroya Strings - who have performed on literally hundreds of Japanese scores - the mixed chorus and Tokyo Philharmonic choir and the mezzo-soprano solos of the Little Singers of Tokyo.

01 Godzilla-1.0 Fear 3:49
02 Godzilla-1.0 Portent 3:25
03 Godzilla-1.0 Confusion 5:30
04 Godzilla-1.0 Godzilla Suite Ⅰ 3:40
05 Godzilla-1.0 Divine 2:12
06 Godzilla-1.0 Elegy 2:34
07 Godzilla-1.0 Mission 3:28
08 Godzilla-1.0 Hope 0:53
09 Godzilla-1.0 Honor 1:57
10 Godzilla-1.0 Pride 2:41
11 Godzilla-1.0 Pain 5:09
12 Godzilla-1.0 Resolution 5:08
13 Godzilla-1.0 Godzilla Suite Ⅱ 4:48
14 Godzilla-1.0 Unscathed 2:17
15 Godzilla-1.0 Last 2:33
16 Godzilla-1.0 Pray 4:14
17 Godzilla-1.0 Godzilla Suite Ⅲ 1:48

Disc length 56:06

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 4/5)

Released by

Rambling records (regular release 2023)