Before watching this movie, It was a headline from Inverse that read this film “Is an Anime First, Godzilla Movie… Maybe Third”. After watching Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, I couldn’t agree more.
In Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Earth is abandoned when Godzilla wreaks havoc and the combined efforts of humanity and two alien races were not enough to defeat him.
20 years later after being unable to find a new planet for the three races to live on, they decide to return and finish what they started.
The vast majority of the film is spent establishing the world, the lore and the characters. Now, here is where the film loses me. I have gone on record saying that world building and characters are the most important part of any good story, whether it is in a novel, game or film. Yet, I found myself getting bored midway through the film.
With all the technobabble going on I felt like I was watching an anime version of Star Trek rather than a Godzilla movie.
I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about the characters as, despite the screen time you get to spend with them, only the main character Captain Haruo Sakaki gets a backstory and even then he doesn’t have much in the way of personality. In fact, all the characters are bland and forgettable.
This is why my favourite Godzilla movie is the first one, and I mean the original Japanese film, not the godawful American edit which spat in the face of the original. Huh, even now American adaptations of Japanese stories are horrific at best and disrespectful at worse. I guess some things never change.
Sorry, back on track. The first one got the balance of character development and action perfect. You got invested in the conflict as they debated on how to defeat the beast. You cared about these characters and wanted to see them survive. I cried during the hospital scene when I first watched it. Scratch that, I cry every time I watch it. Not to mention the powerful and bittersweet ending.
Well, this is starting to become more of a discussion about the original film that started it all rather than the latest movie of the franchise. As you can probably tell, I love it to bits. However, we aren’t here to talk about that masterpiece so I will save my rants for another article.
This is more of a personal gripe but I don’t really care for 3D animated anime. It always reminds me of cutscenes in games, sometimes when I’m watching things like it I find myself trying to push the X button only to remember “oh right, this isn’t a game” and that is exactly what happened this time. Again, this is a personal preference so take what I just said with a pinch of salt.
The ending angered me. I can’t say what happened as I don’t want to spoil it but I felt like I had wasted my time watching this movie. Before anyone jumps in to defend it, yes I know that this is the first movie and there will be a second one continuing the story but still I don’t think that excuse holds water for such a lacklustre and lazy ending.
Going back to the blandness of the characters, I don’t see a reason for watching the second film when it comes out as I don’t care about any of them! They spend so much time trying to get me to root for them and showing a tragic backstory but honestly, I was rooting for Godzilla as he was a more fleshed out character!
Overall, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters was a disappointing film. I can’t bring myself to say that it was a bad film, I’m sure some folks liked it and if that includes you then, cool. Glad you enjoyed it, but for me, I found it dull and forgettable. I don’t recommend this film, especially if you are a Godzilla fan.
I’m going to go watch a proper Godzilla movie now, see you later.