Some of you may remember when we did an entire month devoted to the King of the Monsters, Godzilla. It was an event that spanned from our Geek Devotions, to our Extra Tuesdays, and even into our Podcasts. If you missed then click the image to the left to check out all of our King of the Monsters content. One of the things that came up that were not able to cover was the upcoming Godzilla anime, Godzilla: Planet of Monsters. Time has passed though and now we can officially give you our opinion on it!
Let us start off by saying that this really is a first for Godzilla. It is the first official Godzilla anime ever. Not to be confused with the Hana Barbara style Godzilla series of the 70’sor the American Godzilla spin off cartoon from the late 90’s, this is a very different kind of Godzilla. Where the other two were certainly geared more towards children, this was aimed at older audiences. But did it work?
This particular film is actually the first part of a 3 part series which features some very desperate refugees trying to survive disaster. For the main characters, 20 years prior, the earthlings and 2 other alien races had to escape earth after the revelation that they could not defeat Godzilla. His power and wrath were simply too much for him. After 20 years of searching for a new home they realized that they had only one option… return to earth and hope that Godzilla is dead.
Using some laws of physics they figured that after traveling at light speed, over 1000 years would had passed on earth, surely Godzilla would be long gone. As misfortune would have it, they discovered that it had been 20,000 years and Godzilla still walked the world. Being led by Captain Haruo Sakaki, they must take out Godzilla and attempt to reclaim the earth. But can they do it?
I don’t want to say to much because I don’t want to give away spoilers
This particular Godzilla was meant to be a return to the 1954 Godzilla, which was more animalistic and a force of nature rather than your friendly neighborhood radioactive lizard. It really seemed to be a cross of the 2016 Shin Godzilla by Toho and the 2014 Godzilla by Legendary. I say that because his body seemed to be a based more off the American film but his actions were more based on the Japanese version. I’m actually a fan of this decision.
The animation itself is one that I personally struggle with. I’m a big fan of 70’s-90’s style of anime but when you get into the 3D cell shading… I begin to struggle. There were places where it was difficult to make out what has happening on screen and some of the flashiness of the colors was pretty distracting. The character designs were also annoying. Their bodies just didn’t seem right and some of their actions seemed unrefined.
That said the actual animation of Godzilla was pretty neat. They really captured some of the fierceness and awe of the king of monsters. The way he moved purposefully yet slowly worked well as they contrasted his size against the backdrop and the other characters in the film.
The scoring of this film is something to be remarked on though. Composer Takayuki Hattori brought some a lot of elements together with his composition. You may recognize Mr. Hattori’s work from Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin series, Captain Harlock, Deathnote, and even Godzilla 2000. He has a nack for creating some of the most suspenseful moments through his music. If I had to choose a favorite part of this film it would be the scoring.
I reached out to our friends Nathan and Brian over at KaijuVision Radio, our experts on all things Godzilla and Kaiju related, to get their thoughts on the film.
“I think this is a solid entry in the Godzilla franchise. The animation is good and it’s the most unique take on Godzilla in a long time. By using animation they are able to do things they would’ve never been able to do without a giant Hollywood-level budget. This first entry is heavy on exposition and technobabble, which does bog it down, but once the characters reach Earth it gets intense and exciting. I’m reserving final judgment because this is definitely the first of a three-part story. In fact, it ends more like the first entry of a book trilogy than it does a movie trilogy.” – Nathan
“Since this movie is just the first installment of what is a longer story, some universe building is required, and I’m mostly pleased with what I saw. I will reserve my opinion until I see it a couple more times. The second and third entries are going to help determine if the first is really good.” – Brian
So is Godzilla: Planet of Monsters worth a watch? Yeah I’d say so. Even with some of my complaints it was a very interesting film that has left some very interesting open doors for the sequels. As Nathan said, using the format of Anime, they have the ability to do some really neat things with the franchise. However, like Brian, I am a bit curious as to what the second and third films will bring us.
What are your thoughts? Did you like this film? Do you think it’s worth a watch? Want to know more of our thoughts? Subscribe to the Reformed Anime Hub as we will be making a special guest appearance on their podcast very soon to talk about this movie and other aspects of Godzilla! Also check the great community on the Reformed Anime Hub Facebook page!