Mankind has been chased off of Earth by the arrival of an infestation of various giant Monsters, the most troublesome of all is, of course, the towering, elemental super-beast know as Godzilla. Aided by a seemingly benevolent alien race they helped create a massive space ark to carry the survivors to a desolate existence floating through the heavens without a planet to call home.
22 years later (but a millennia on earth in Interstellar style space years) mankind is returning home and a scouting party lead by a noble, yet disgraced young captain, disillusioned by the attitude of his superiors, will be the first to set foot on Earth soil in over a generation. But what will they find? Is Godzilla still king and if so, can he finally be stopped?
The first of a trilogy bankrolled by Toho Animation, Polygram and Netflix literally shoots for the stars concept wise, beginning with the entirety of the human race Robinson Cruesoe-ing through the cosmos like a wandering space-hobo and building from there. When news broke of Godzilla’s first foray into the anime form (not counting the Hanna Barbera cartoon series OR the 1998 movie spinoff) the mind boggled; what could filmmakers come up with if the limits of what they could were exponentially expanded? The mouth watered at such possibilities for the Kaiju genre.
Watching Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters however ends up being quite the opposite of mouthwatering, in fact I can’t remember a time when my mouth was so bone dry, because what we get is endless moralizing, interminable navel gazing and a distinct and very noticable lack of Godzilla until the last 30 or so minutes. Now this wouldn’t be a problem so much if the rest of the film was intriguing but the angst ridden exploration of the earth’s surface drags and ultimately holds little interest.
The film scores rather more successfully from a visual point of view, though, and the CG animation is lush and huge in scale. This version of Godzilla (unofficially referred to as Earth Godzilla) is truly is a devastating engine of destruction, utterly massive and looking like he’s hewn from sheer rock, it’s as if Mount Everest has acquired sentence and a taste for planetary genocide; although it must be said THIS version has even less personality than the beef jerky Shin Godzilla version. It seems the bigger our little Gojira gets, the character he seems to sport.
To further give G:POTM some dues, some of the concepts raised in and amongst the never ending existential hand wringing are pretty darn cool. For example, Godzilla is SUCH a powerful force of nature, he isn’t evolving to become one with the earth, the earth is evolving to become more like him with some wildlife and plants taking on some of his genetic characteristics.
It’s all somewhat undone, however by a strange last minute twist that seems a bit of a cop out and also that sloppy cliffhanger ending rankles.
Not a terrible start but with two more films in the trilogy to go, fingers crossed that this new incarnation of Godzilla becomes a little more…. animated.