What the director of ‘Godzilla Minus One’ said about ‘Oppenheimer’

What the director of ‘Godzilla Minus One’ said about ‘Oppenheimer’
via Oscars, Universal Pictures
Bryan Ke
March 12, 2024
“Godzilla Minus One” director Takashi Yamazaki has a response to fellow Oscar winner “Oppenheimer.”
Catch up:Godzilla Minus One” made history at the 96th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday by winning for best visual effects, the first time a Godzilla movie has been nominated or won an Oscar and the first Japanese film to earn one in the category. Meanwhile, “Oppenheimer,” directed by Christopher Nolan, swept the night with seven awards, including for best picture.
Similarities: The films are set near or after the end of World War II. “Oppenheimer” follows American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the minds involved in the creation of the world’s first atomic bombs through the Manhattan Project that were later dropped in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “Godzilla Minus One,” on the other hand, depicts the horrors that come with nuclear bombing through its kaiju (“giant monster”) Godzilla.
“Oppenheimer” anger in Japan: “Oppenheimer” — and “Barbenheimer” memes fusing “Barbie” images with atomic blasts — sparked outrage in Japan, which saw more than 200,000 deaths after the WWII bombings. Despite criticism from many in the country that it ignores the devastation, the film is slated to hit Japanese cinemas on March 29.

What he’s saying: Speaking to reporters at the Oscars 2024 Press Room, Yamazaki acknowledged his film and “Oppenheimer’s” similarities, but noted that the relationship or juxtaposition of the two movies “was not intentional.”
“As we were making the film, the state of the world and the geopolitical scene has changed quite a bit,” he said through an English interpreter. “It almost feels fated that both of these films were released in the same year.”
Responding to the best picture winner as a Japanese person, Yamazaki told reporters, “As a person of Japanese ancestry and descent, my response to Oppenheimer [is that] I would like to dedicate a different film to that when that day comes.”
What he’s previously said: The director pointed out in another interview earlier this year that “Godzilla Minus One” is not necessarily a direct response to “Oppenheimer” despite the fact that “they point at similar themes.”
“But even if this film is never realized, I think having it in the corner of my head as a strong thematic element is important,” he told MovieMaker Magazine in January.
 
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