Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters - Review

With over 30+ movies to its name in a 60+ year career in front of the big screen, Godzilla has been interpreted in many different forms. It may come as a surprise that this is the first anime Godzilla movie created in that time and experienced directors Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Sheshita are no strangers to artful and lush looking anime.

Shizuno and Hiroyuki, known for their work on Knights of Cydonia reinvent the franchise in a way it hasn't been explored before. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, Godzilla has forced them away from their home planet and the remaining 4,000 humans set to find a new home. But ultimately return to Earth 22 years later (or 10,000 years in Earth time) when they realise it is their best chance of survival; retaking their homeland from Godzilla is their only hope. Perhaps some relation to the narrative for Attack on Titan, as humanity is knocked off its throne at the top of the food chain by an unexplainable and unbeatable force, pushing mankind to the brink of extinction.

Usually, Godzilla movies place the creature in the middle of human civilization, the audience watches as it wreaks havoc and does battle with other titanic creatures. But this movie expects you to have a certain degree of knowledge about Godzilla, briefly at the beginning Godzilla is seen causing chaos but the majority of the movie see's humans invading its homeland, giving a different perspective than previous instalments as humanity fight for their survival in a world they once knew.

The lush and colourful landscapes make for satisfying viewing as we see an Earth unlike any other with an endless forest and mist covering the land. Polygon Pictures, who handled the animation put a lot of detail into the space-opera style spacesuits and vehicles and the natural looking environment they are placed in. Even the camera angles and shots are on point and give perspective to the size of the humans in comparison to the world and Godzilla, who blends in with the natural environment with his tree-like legs and rough dark skin; making him more of a force of nature than ever before.

Despite all that is good about the movie it does fall short in some areas, the human characters come across as single dimensional and non-sympathetic, any death of main characters doesn't quite have the emotional impact it intends to have. They view Godzilla as an obstacle and make very little attempt to understand him as a creature, he is a target to eliminate and the final battle with the humans and Godzilla is something of a boss battle in a video game. The ending is where the movie finally picks up in terms of action and you can't help but want more monsters to show up...

The lack of other monsters in this film was disappointing, the opening clearly shows what looks like a Kamacuras pillaging a human city and the outline of Orga laying waste to another. There is also mention of Mechagodzilla failing to be launched by the humans, but none of these creatures have any more than just brief cameos.However, the small monsters living on the planet add to the danger of this new Earth the humans have returned to.

Perhaps the next two instalments will feature more monster fights, as this movie falls short of satisfaction in some areas, but sets up the trilogy nicely and offers an after credits scene which raises more questions about the future movies to come. It is a good start and an interesting reinvention of Godzilla, offering a different perspective on the franchise.


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