Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters Review
After Shin Godzilla's successful release, TOHO announced on August 2016 that a new Godzilla movie was in the works and aiming for a 2017 release. Very little information was given and the movie was mostly kept in the dark. The marketing for the movie started with a teaser poster that showed a forest and a few astronaut like characters with a spaceship and then pictures of concept art. For all that was known at the time was that it was going to be all sci-fi and that this was going to be the first animated Godzilla film. On March 26, 2017 at Anime Japan, a stage event was held for the movie revealing the title Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters as well as revealing this to be a three part movie. This makes Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters part 1 of 3 in this animated trilogy.
After Godzilla: Monster Planet made its debut in Japan on November 17th, a poster and title for part 2 was revealed. The title for part 2 was unknown, but it is set to be released in May 2018 and teases the return of Godzilla's robot doppelganger, MechaGodzilla.
The alien race called the Exifs are heavily based on the Xiliens from Godzilla: Final Wars and Godzilla vs. Monster Zero and the alien race called the Bilusaludo are heavily based on the aliens from Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla and Terror Of MechaGodzilla.
After 20 years of exile and traveling through space for a new habitable planet to call home, Haruo and Metphies convinces the central committee of the Aratrum to head back to Earth to finish the fight against Godzilla.
To start off, I actually liked the idea that this movie went a different route with the story. I liked how humanity could not figure out a way to stop Godzilla this time and that humanity was on the brink of extinction and were forced to leave the planet and showing the consequences of doing so. The thing is that most of it is explained in a backstory at the beginning of the movie. Everything that was being explained in that backstory I felt should have been the first movie and this should have been the second movie. It shows off a lot of monsters attacking cities and refugee camps and aliens migrating to Earth, but they don't explain why these things are happening. Before the movie came out in Japan, there is a prequel novel that actually tells the whole story before the events of the first movie called, Godzilla: Monster Apocalypse. There there is no translated version of this book (not yet anyways). It just seems like that if I read that book first then perhaps I could understand or connect with the characters better or find out more about the two alien races that appear in the movie, the Exifs and the Bilusaludo. It's not the only problem I have with the story though. The story also has a pacing problem. The movie is slow in getting the characters down to Earth and getting straight to the action, but it doesn't give itself time to develop any of the characters to be enjoyable or to give me a reason to care about. Like I said, perhaps if I had the book I would like the characters more.
The English dubbing is a lot better in this movie than Shin Godzilla and it isn't an ear-soar to listen to, but most of the characters themselves are too under developed. Haruo had only a little bit of character development explaining his motives for wanting to kill Godzilla, yet the only characters that interested me were the alien characters, Metphies the Exif priest and Mulu-Elu the Bilusaludo lieutenant. The reason why is because early in the movie they talk in private to talk about Haruo and the Central Committee of the Aratrum like they're puppets. It was teased that the Exifs and the Bilusaludo actually had plans to invade Earth when they first arrived. The Exifs tried manipulating the humans to change religions to the Exifs' religion when all other religions failed and the Bilusaludo promised to help the humans kill Godzilla with advanced alien technology only to use MechaGodzilla to wipe out the human race afterwards. The Exifs were not successful in getting the human race to switch religions and the Bilusaludo's advanced technology along with MechaGodzilla (which looked like was still in development) was still not enough to stop Godzilla as well. Despite Mulu-Elu ending the conversation saying, "That was all in the past now and the what ifs are only a fantasy," it begs the question if there is more to these alien races than what we see in the movie. What if they are still interested in wiping out the human race to claim Earth for themselves? Next week's topic? As for the rest of the characters like Leland, Yuko, etc. you don't learn much about them because the movie didn't take the time to let me get to know them. It's an hour and a half movie and I learned more about Godzilla and his dorsal fins more than I know of the characters. I mean from the previews the characters looked very cool and it made want to know more about them, but most of them seem to just be there.
The design for this version of Godzilla is not my favorite design, but he doesn't look as bad as Shin Godzilla. Godzilla has a powerful presence that is very intimidating and what makes this version the most dangerous is not just the his radioactive breath. He has a son that is much smaller than him and has an army of wyvern looking monsters called Servum at his disposal. Godzilla is actually more aggressive in this movie than his previous incarnation from Shin Godzilla. He is the size of a mountain standing at 300 meters tall making him look godly when looked upon and just a blast of sound or one swipe from his tail can cause explosive destruction. Godzilla didn't need his atomic breath to fight when he appeared at the end of the movie. His son, however, even though standing 50 meters tall he too has a presence that is feared, but he needed his atomic breath to defend himself, otherwise he would call for help from the Servum. The Servum are very aggressive monsters that attack on command from Godzilla or Godzilla's son. They are feared as they hunt in packs or flocks. The dragon like design had me thinking though about how they look like smaller versions of Godzilla's oldest foe, King Ghidorah. Perhaps, they turn into King Ghidorah in the third movie? Who knows. The designs are great and the photos just does not give Godzilla and the Servum enough justice. It's one of those designs that you need to see in action first.
The Japanese version is about the same as the English version. There are no extra scenes or extra lines that was not seen in the English version. Again, the story is good so far, but the pacing of the movie is atrocious especially when having to read subtitles. The voice acting is pretty good, but the fact that it is in Japanese instead of English is as far as differences go. The only good thing about the Japanese version is finding out small parts that I have misheard or misunderstood in the English version just from reading the subtitles. If I were to choose between the two versions then I would choose the English version over the Japanese version in the sense that the pacing is a little more tolerable and you don't have to read subtitles.
The pacing for Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters is very slow and the movie does not give itself time to develop the characters making them sort of unlikable, and it just feels more like a sequel than being the first movie. The voice acting is a lot better and Godzilla is bigger and meaner this time around. Maybe Part 2 will be better? I hope so. I think that if the story from the book was the first movie and this was the second movie then perhaps I would have enjoyed this more.