As we finally get to the end of Toho Animation and Polygram’s attempt to bring the King Of The Monsters to the anime, an audible sense of relief fills the air. After all the experience so far has been like trying to swim through lard in that it’s been excruciatingly hard and not exactly good for you; but with this final installment boasting an appearance of one of Godzilla’s most endearing foes surely things are finally looking up. Right?
Wrong. While The Planet Eater is a step up from the non event that was City On The Edge Of Battle, it’s the same old serving of whining humans and heavily rationed Kaiju screen time. Deeply shallow, or shallowly deep? Who cares at this point?
*Sigh* Let’s just get this done…
After choosing to sacrifice Mechagodzilla City in favour of his landing party’s humanity in the presence of the life consuming techno-virus that is nanometal, Captain Haruo assesses his many losses the only way he knows how – agonising endlessly about the human condition. However, in a move that surprises utterly no one watching, the Exifs – the alien race that helped mankind escape to the stars in the first place – finally make their move, luring the survivors to join their religion in order to bring their God to earth to destroy Godzilla once and for all. This God is Ghidorah, an intangible, golden, 3-headed wraith who drains energy with it’s bite and it immediately sets it’s sights on making Big G’s reactor-like biochemistry it’s version of a 5 Guys burger and fries. Can Godzilla defeat a foe he can’t touch? And if he can, what does that mean for the humans? And will we, the audience, actually start to give a shit?
If the Godzilla anime trilogy has a major flaw, it’s that the filmmakers seem to be so proud of this operatic, “spiritual science fiction” rejumbling of the Godzilla mythology, they forgot to make it interesting, or even remotely fun. Why build so enthusiastically toward a Godzilla/Ghidorah battle and then have it be almost entirely static? In trying to rise above the B-movie nature of the characters, everyone involved seems to have forgot that they were actually making a monster movie, say what you will about Hideaki Anno’s dense, politics-heavy, yet deeply interesting Shin Godzilla, at least it did something bold and new while still sticking to a basic Kaiju movie format.
There are plus points here. The visuals are still hauntingly epic and the Ghidorah redux does admittedly look pretty cool despite it’s relative lack of action and at least we have definitive ending to the whole affair that fits in line with all the agonising and hand wringing that’s gone before.
While I appreciate the need to try out different things to avoid a long running series getting stagnant, the Anime trilogy simply took things too far in a particular direction. I much prefer my Godzilla movies to be Godzilla movies: tangible, physical and, yes, sometimes silly, but there’s a certain tone there that these films are missing, a hole that lacks character or personality. For a film about mankind trying to reclaim it’s homeworld without losing their basic humanity, it has precious little of it’s own…