Godzilla Planet of the Monsters is a 2017 animated film released by Toho and is the 30th entry into the companies ongoing film series. Along with being the 30th film it’s also the first Godzilla movie to be entirely animated, not using a single physical actor. It was directed by Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Sashita and was written by Gen Urobuchi, who is known for his works on shows such as Madoka Magica, Psycho Pass, and Kamen Rider Gaim.
I actually found out about this movie last year and being a big Godzilla fan myself I was excited for it,, but knowing how long it can sometimes take for Godzilla movies to come out in the US I just decided to wait for a translated version of the film, it actually wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I was just casually browsing Netflix and I not only saw that they translated it 2 months after the films November release, but that they actually recorded a full English dub of the film. That actually had me pretty excited and I think this also means that the West will be receiving more Godzilla related media much faster than we used to due to the success of both the 2014 Legendary film and Tohos own film Godzilla Resurgence. I finally had some time to watch it while I thought it was good, I didn’t find it particularly memorable but let’s start out with the good stuff.
The first thing I like. I’ll freely admit that I haven’t seen every Godzilla film ever made, but two of my favorite entries in the series have always been the original 1954 film, and Godzilla Resurgence because of their dark themes and tone, and Planet of the Monsters is no exception. Much like the two films before it, Planet of the Monsters paints Godzilla to be a divine force of nature, essentially punishing humanity for it sins and pride. The humans of this world had to flee Earth because they were so afraid of Godzilla and they’ve been looking for a new inhabitable planet for 20 years with low morale, low supplies, and even a low amount of people. Only around 4,0000 are on the ship they’re on, and that INCLUDES the two alien species that are on it. There’s a feeling of fear, dread, and even hopelessness with most of these characters, and I think it does a great job conveying that.
Another thing I appreciate is the animation. I’m usually not a big fan of Japanese CG animation since a lot of the time in can look very stilted and awkward, but Planet of the Monsters looks absolutely fantastic. All of the ships and environments look very well modeled detailed, as do the monsters, Godzilla ESPECIALLY looks great. He looks like a living mountain and he looks really intimidating. The human characters don’t look nearly as impressive but they get the job done and the voice actors do a very good job bringing each of them to life.
Speaking of the humans though that actually brings up one of the complaints I have with the story, the characters themselves. Even though I think a lot of the characters motivations in this movie make sense, I also think pretty much all f them are pretty boring. The main character, Haruo Sakaki, has the most development in the movie since you see how he was actually impacted by Goddzilla and even the government officials that run the ship. He’s very jaded and obsessive, but he does have a sliver of hope that humanity can win Earth back from Godzilla, and that’s fine, but the rest of the characters are SUPER forgettable. Metphies, the secondary main character of the film, has almost no personality outside of being a religious zealot. The rest of the characters don’t really fare much better, as they mainly play the roles of “generic soldier”. This has actually always been a problem with Godzilla movies , as many of them never really have any interesting characters outside of maybe the original 1954 movie and Resurgence, but even then the characters mainly serve as a vehicle to get to Godzilla himself.
The story itself could also be much better, like I said before I really like the tone of the movie but once they hit Earth it just becomes a very by the numbers human vs monster fight with an admittedly fun action sequence. I will say the final 5 minutes of the movie was a real treat and the after credits scene DOES offer a really neat idea that will definitely get expanded upon when the sequel, City on the Edge of Battle, releases this May.
Overall, despite the issues I have with it, I think Planet of the Monsters is a very solid Godzilla movie and I do think it’s worth seeing. Like I said it’s on Netflix right now both subbed and dubbed, I personally watched it subbed but there are a lot of really talented voice actors in the English dub such as Christopher Niosi, Edward Bosco, Christina Vee among many others. I’m looking forward to seeing the sequel whenever it comes to the west and I’m hoping we get more different types of Godzilla media in the future. We still have the sequel to the Legendary movie coming out in 2019 along with the crossover with King Kong. I think it’s a really good time to be a Godzilla fan and I’m looking forward to whatever the big lug has in store for us.