I am sure a couple of my friends have been wondering why I haven’t reviewed these movies at the beginning of the year. Well the answer is that I was purposefully saving them for right now, so I could watch and review them in the weeks leading up to Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019). Now When I first heard that there was going to be an animated Godzilla movie, I was all for it. I mean, Shin Godzilla had occurred the year before, and it would be another 2 years before the next Godzilla movie would come out from Legendary. The fact that it was going to be an anime style move didn’t bother me because most anime movies, at the very least, are visually entertaining and the stories are usually well written. So I waited patiently for the movie to come out on Netflix and once it did, I immediately sat back and enjoyed watching Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters.
The plot: Some time in the future, the Atrium is approaching the planet Tau-e. Inside the ship, Haruo Sakaki has locked himself into a landing shuttle and refuses to leave, threatening to detonate it unless the ruling council changes their mind about sending a volunteer group consisting of the elderly, including Sakaki’s grandfather, to the surface. Sakaki says they are sending the elderly because the ship is running out of resources and it would be less mouths to feed but Sakaki’s grandfather talks to him, saying that the group want to go to the planet as they can’t endure being in space any longer. Sakaki is taken into custody and as he is being led away, he watches the volunteers’ shuttle breaking apart as it enters Tau-e’s atmosphere. In flashback, we learn that at the end of the 20th century, kaiju suddenly begin appearing and destroying the Earth, with the most powerful of them being Godzilla. As the military fails to stop them, two different groups of aliens, the Exif ( a race of religious observers and predictors) and the Bilusaludo (a technologically advanced race from the third planet of a nearby system that was swallowed a black hole) arrive on Earth and offer their help to the humans. Despite the aliens help, there was no stopping Godzilla, who had begun destroying the other kaiju as well as humanity, so all three races were forced to flee the Earth. Young Sakaki is being taken to a shuttle to reach the space ship Atrium when Godzilla attacks the launch facility, destroying two nearby shuttles and killing Sakaki’s parents who were approaching on some busses. Back in the present, the Exif Metphies is in Sakaki’s cell to take his confession but secretly gives him data on Godzilla. Sakaki, who has a burning hatred of Godzilla for killing his parents, feels that humanity, and the other aliens, gave up simply because they didn’t understand Godzilla or how to fight him. Later, the council is discussing their situation, and the demoralizing effect that the exploding landing shuttle had on the crew, when Metphies brings up a research paper posted on the net regarding how to beat Godzilla and argues it might be a sign to try and go back to Earth. As the crew discuss the rumors about going back to Earth and fighting Godzilla, Metphies pays a visit to the Bilusaludo Mulu-Elu Galu-Gu, who knows that Metphies has been secretly helping Sakaki and posting the stuff on the net. As the two discuss the situation, both comment on how each races’ plans for Earth didn’t work, forcing them to flee with the humans. The Atrium initiates a space warp so they can reach the Earth quicker, but when they check their data, they discover that 10,000 have passed since they left Earth. Recon drones are sent out to investigate if the Earth is habitable and when one of them is destroyed, the audio reveals that Godzilla is still alive. The council discusses the situation and Metphies says their only option is to destroy Godzilla, revealing that Sakaki is the one who wrote the thesis on how to do it. Sakaki is released from the brig and discusses his plan to the council, who balk at the number of people he would need for his mission but reluctantly agree to do so. The strike force is assembled and the shuttles are launched for the Earth’s surface, splitting off after entering the atmosphere so they can reach their assigned landing spots, with one of the ships seemingly attacked by something in the air. Sakaki asks to be part of the scouting team and Yuko Tani, a former member of his squad, is assigned as his handler. As they head out, Yuko talks to Sakaki and asks if he thinks the council deliberately sabotaged the landing shuttle that killed his grandfather and Sakaki says he doesn’t want to think that the council is that corrupt. The scouting team eventually reaches the remains of a city and they are surprised to see the shape of the structures remained for this long, unaware that they are being observed. Meanwhile, the base camp is attacked by a group of flying and land based creatures, killing 12 and injuring 35 people. Later, Martin Lazzari, the science officer, is studying the animals and determines that they are similar in their make up to Godzilla. He also says that their initial time frame was off and that carbon dating shows that 20,000 years have passed on Earth, not 10,000. Commander Leland says that they should retreat back to the Atrium and set up a colony on the moon, then send shuttles to Earth for resources. Sakaki calls Leland a coward but as they argue, Metphies says that retreat is moot since the creatures had disabled all of their landing shuttles. Their only choice was to meet up with one of the other groups, but that would take them through the pass that they had planned to trap Godzilla in. The group manage to restore one shuttle, then they head off to the other groups, only to encounter Godzilla along the way. The group take evasive actions but the shuttle can’t take the strain and ends up crashing. Metphies releases Sakaki from his shackles and Sakaki grabs a scout flier and takes off to face Godzilla, hoping to get the necessary data on Godzilla’s shield. Sakaki’s attacks have no effect and so he prepares a kamikaze run againts Godzilla, telling Martin to record the attack, but before he can strike, Leland, in a heavier armed vehicle, attacks Godzilla. Sakaki is able to get the data he needs thanks to Leland’s attack but Godzilla kills Leland in the process. Later, Sakaki, Martin, and Belu-be (another Bilusaludo) study the data and discover that Godzilla’s dorsal fins are what power his shield, and once they damage them enough to lower his shield, they will be able to plant an EMP probe that will kill Godzilla. Meanwhile, Metphies has been given command of the ground forces by the council but he turns around and gives it to Sakaki, saying he is the one that can defeat Godzilla. Belu-Be leads the scout fliers and they begin attacking Godzilla, diverting him into the pass so they can spring their trap. When the flying creatures begin attacking them, Sakaki orders some me to grab the landing shuttles and use them to bomb the area, forcing Godzilla to move even quicker into their trap. The plan works and they spring the trap, trapping Godzilla in a landslide. Artillery begin attacking Godzilla and when they disable the shield, Sakaki leads a special forces team in power suits to attack him, using EMP probes to permanently disable his shield. Godzilla frees himself and goes to attack again but the probes disrupt his ability, causing it to turn inwards and he ends up exploding. As Sakaki and the others celebrate, Martin tells him that the creature fought was likely not the original Godzilla, but an offspring. Sakaki realizes that there might be more creatures but says that since they know how to beat them, they can do a better job if they encounter another one. Suddenly, the ground begins trembling as the original Godzilla emerges from a nearby mountain. Sakaki orders everyone to clear the area as Godzilla attacks, destroying several ships and scattering the camp. As Sakaki lies pinned beneath some debris, he sees Godzilla and swears to kill him before he loses consciousness. When Sakaki regains consciousness, he finds himself in a strange dwelling, with a human-like figure watching him.
Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters was well received by the critics, holding an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all thought the animation was great but some felt that the story lacked some with character development. During the flashback scene in the movie, two monsters that had never appeared in a Godzilla movie before, Dogora and Dagahra, were briefly shown, Dogora had appeared in his own movie, while Dagahra appeared in Rebirth Of Mothra II. The movie was released in theaters in Japan on November 17, 2017, where it made $3.3 million in the East Asian market, then would debut on Netflix 2 months later on January 17, 2018.
I won’t go so far and say that it was a perfect Godzilla movie, but this was still pretty good. The voice acting was pretty good, with the actors doing good jobs with their inflections when they are voicing the different aliens; such as Lucien Dodge giving Metphies a more lofty, scholarly air to his voice while Jamieson Price and Rich Brown (Galu-Gu and Belu-Be respectively) were more gruff and militaristic with their deliveries, which fit the more war-minded Bilusaludo. The story was pretty good, as I liked the idea of humanity having to leave Earth to escape Godzilla and the other monsters, and when they come back, they discover that not only did Godzilla survive, but had actually become an influencing aspect of the planets evolution, as the plants and animals began developing Godzilla-like characteristics. I also liked that they incorporated some of the aliens that were in the Godzilla movies, primarily the aliens from the 3rd planet of the black hole. I only wish that they had made them more simian looking, like they looked in Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla (1974). I will admit that aside from Sakaki, who had some obvious motivation in his wanting revenge against Godzilla and his anger at having run from the Earth, the other characters in the movie really felt pretty bland. The animation was great, with the designs for Godzilla and the other creatures being a nice take off of the original design, with Godzilla himself looking a lot more menacing with the sharper edges to his scales. The one thing that was a little disappointing was that there wasn’t the collateral property damage that is typical of a kaiju movie, since there were no city’s really left on Earth. Aside from that, this was a fun movie and one that Godzilla fans will enjoy.
Rating: 4 out of 5