Houston Matters

The Bigger Picture: ‘Godzilla Minus One’ and the trauma of war

Houston Matters looks at how the latest Godzilla film depicts trauma after great tragedy.

Still from Godzilla Minus One
Toho Co., Ltd.
Godzilla brings a new catastrophe to the Japanese people in the wake of World War II.


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The original 1954 Godzilla film is widely understood as a metaphor for the devastation of war in Japan, particularly in the aftermath of the atomic bomb detonations over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Now, nearly 70 years later, a new entry in the long-running franchise reimagines that story. Godzilla Minus One is set some years earlier, immediately after the end of World War II.

As the Japanese people begin to recover from the war, Godzilla represents a new threat to their existence as it emerges from the sea to wreak havoc and lay waste to everything in its path.

The film delves into not just the collective trauma of the country’s population, but also the individual trauma of the people directly affected by the war.

In this month's installment of The Bigger Picture, where Houston Matters explores social and cultural topics in film, we consider how today’s veterans cope with their trauma and how the rest of us can help.

In the audio above, producer Joshua Zinn talks with Cary Darling, arts and entertainment editor for the Houston Chronicle, and Andrea Tanner, a U.S. Army veteran and counselor for Veterans Affairs in Houston.