OnScreen Review: "Godzilla: Planet of Monsters"

Brittany Strelluf

(The following contains spoilers of Godzilla: Planet of Monsters)

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is a new Japanese CG anime kaiju film.  It was produced by Toho Animation and was animated by Polygon Pictures. It is the 32nd feature film in the Godzilla franchise and the first animated take on Godzilla. It was co-directed by Kōbun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita, with a screenplay by Gen Urobuchi. It was recently released worldwide via Netflix.

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is the first installment of a trilogy. The second film is to be titled Gojira: Kessen Kidō Zōshoku Toshi, which roughly translates to Godzilla: Battle Mobile Breeding City. This installment is scheduled to be released in May 2018 and rumored to feature Mechagodzilla.

This is a really different take on the traditional giant monster movie. This film takes place 20,000 years after place after the initial destruction of a wave of megafauna. Godzilla is the nightmare of humanity that decimates everything in sight. The combined forces of humanity and two alien races are not enough to fight Godzilla. Humanity is forced to evacuate the planet and leaves Earth to become Godzilla’s personal vivarium. Now, humans are attempting to take back and recolonize Earth. This movie takes place 20,000 years after Godzilla’s takeover.

This film has a great number of influences from various installments of science fiction. Elements of everything from The 100, Ghost in the Shell, Alien and countless others swirl throughout the film.  This film contains a great deal of exposition. This might be off-putting to viewers who prefer action over dialog.  If you can stand a lot of space travel talk, you get some really lovely dialog regarding human dignity and personification of Earth. The scenic animation in this film was unbelievably stunning.  This was in in stark contrast to the very flat and odd character animation which felt like it was from another film entirely.

This film’s adaptation of the legendary kaiju is influenced from the 2014 movie. This update modernized Godzilla and made him a frightening and unstoppable force. Unfortunately, this movie also fell into the same sin as the 2014 version where the audience actually sees less than 20 minutes of the titular character.

If you didn’t care for this take on the Godzilla franchise, take comfort in the knowledge that Godzilla: King of Monsters is set to premiere March 2019. Seriously, if nuclear warheads can’t take out Godzilla, then a couple of off movies won’t touch him.