Movie Reviews

Which Versions Of Godzilla Is Minus One's Monster Based On? Influences Explained


  • Godzilla Minus One pays tribute to classic films in the franchise, drawing inspiration from the 1954 version for its monster design.
  • This installment reverts Godzilla to his original villainous roots and size, honoring the 1954 movie while borrowing from the 1990s films.
  • The new Godzilla’s regenerative abilities pose a challenge for the human characters, reminiscent of the Heisei era’s focus on healing powers.

With all the variations of Godzilla that exist in the franchise, Godzilla Minus One had a lot of options to choose from when it came to the inspiration for its monster design. Godzilla’s 70 years of cinematic history received a brand-new chapter with the release of Godzilla Minus One, Toho’s first installment in the series since 2016’s Shin Godzilla. Like the film before it, it offers a few new ideas to the franchise, such as the upgrade it made to Godzilla’s atomic breath, but it also draws a great deal from the King of the Monsters’ past.

Godzilla Minus One is rightfully packed with tributes to classic Godzilla movies. Scenes in the movie pay homage to the 1954 original, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Return of Godzilla,Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, and more. As for Godzilla himself, the movie’s interpretation of the creature honors two specific incarnations of the Japanese pop culture icon.


Godzilla Minus One’s Title Explained: Why The Godzilla Movie Is Called That

The newest movie including the iconic Kaiju – Godzilla Minus One – has an interesting title that holds a deeper meaning within the film’s story.

The Primary Inspiration For Minus One’s Godzilla Is The 1954 Version

Minus One’s Godzilla Has A Lot In Common With The Original

Out of all the versions of Godzilla in the franchise, none had a greater influence on Godzilla Minus One than the 1954 classic. That’s not surprising, considering that it’s the film that created the underlying concept in the first place. Since 1954, Godzilla has evolved considerably, becoming the defender of Japan and also an anti-hero seen as the lesser of two evils when another monster is around. Ignoring all of these changes, Godzilla Minus One goes back to basics with the character, reverting him back to the straightforward villain he was in 1954.

Not only that, but Godzilla Minus One also restored the King of the Monsters to his original size. After introducing Godzilla as a 164-foot-tall monster, Toho maintained that size for years, but doubled it in the 1990s. Most versions have been similarly massive, including Shin Godzilla’s, which was the tallest live-action version to date. Godzilla Minus One, on the other hand, turned back the page, making his 164-foot-tall stature one of the biggest callbacks to the 1954 movie.

Admittedly, multiple elements of his design in Godzilla Minus One are shared by other versions of Godzilla, but several can be credited first to the 1954 movie. Whereas Shin Godzilla reimagined the kaiju, Godzilla Minus One provided a more familiar take on the creature that’s not that different aesthetically from the 1954 monster. Their dorsal fins, body structures, and halting way of walking are all very similar.

Godzilla Minus One Also Borrows Heavily From The 1990s Movies

Godzilla Has Two Major Similarities To The Heisei Version

Biollante biting Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Biollante

A few characteristics boasted by Godzilla in the 2023 film can’t be attributed to the original. Among these is the way his dorsal fins light up blue when he’s charging up his atomic breath. This aspect of his design, which has since been borrowed by other iterations of Godzilla (including the Monsterverse’s), originated with the Heisei era Godzilla. Presumably due to the gradual improvement of visual effects, Toho made this aesthetic upgrade to Godzilla’s powers in the 1990s.

Though not as significant as some of the other details in Godzilla’s design, Minus One’s Godzilla has extremely large thighs, one of the distinguishing physical traits of the 1990s Godzilla.

Arguably the biggest connection between Godzilla Minus One and the Heisei era Godzilla is the kaiju’s healing abilities. This too wasn’t an ability Godzilla was explicitly stated to have in the 1954 movie or the Showa years; this concept stems from 1989’s Godzilla vs. Biollante, which established key details about Godzilla’s anatomy. Apparently, Godzilla possesses “G-Cells,” which allow him to regenerate rapidly. The G-Cell idea wound up becoming a key plot point in the series, and was carried over to the Millennium series, as evidenced by the story of 2001’s Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.

Not unlike the 2001 film and the Heisei series, Godzilla Minus One makes the kaiju’s regenerative abilities one of the human characters’ biggest hurdles. Since this Godzilla is physically weaker than most versions of the monster, there’s a sense that they’d have been able to beat him much more easily if it wasn’t for his healing powers. They hurt him repeatedly, but the speed in which he recovered made most of their efforts to defeat him ineffective.

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