Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (GODZILLA – 怪獣惑星) might not be the best way to get acquainted with everybody’s favourite kaiju, first Anime outing or not. But it does return the super-powered lizard to its fearsome roots.
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (GODZILLA – 怪獣惑星) Synopsis
In the late 20th century, monsters began appearing all over Earth, the deadliest of them being the nuclear-powered Godzilla. Despite the aid of two extraterrestrial races, mankind is massacred and forced to flee the planet. 20 years later, the refugees return, discovering on arrival that 20,000 years have passed on Earth during their absence. Under the leadership of Captain Sakaki Haruo, who harbours a deep grudge again Godzilla, they begin an operation to reclaim the planet. The operation centres on an elaborate trap that if successful, will destroy Godzilla once and for all.
First of all, let me say that I’ve never been a huge fan of Godzilla. (Or is it her? Never figured that one out)
While I do get a kick seeing it executes its atomic breath or thrashing other monsters, the Godzilla movies never appealed to me the way Doraemon, G-Force, or Macross did. Very simply, I do not appreciate anti-hero characters, much less in the form of an overpowered lizard with a really nasty shriek.
Mentioning this because first Anime outing and retconning and all that aside, Godzilla: Planet of the Monster is to me, no more than a standard Goddy movie. One in which you have to be a G fan in order to truly enjoy.
The script throws in lots of new sub-plots, all with the potential for extensive development. Rather disappointingly, most of these then ended up weighing down the movie instead of the other way around. In other words, unnecessarily complicating the story.
To be clear, things do pick up in the last third, with several thrilling aerial sequences that are occasionally backed by appropriate, Anime-ish soundtracks. But like what other critics have mentioned, the leading characters are simply not too interesting. Personally, I was also baffled for a good half-hour by the different races and their agendas, and the physics theories (?) tossed about.
This bafflement eventually morphed into boredom before the movie was halfway through. As like the case with poorer Godzilla movies, I started wishing he/she/it would just appear and get down to business. Come on! Start killing something! Start stamping on some squishy humans!
On another note, I’m not too impressed with this animated version of Godzilla either. Maybe it was intended as homage to the first movie from the 50s; it’s so sluggish! I thought the freedom of animation would enable the beast to be more lively. More, what’s the word, expressive too?
Read my snappy review for part two.
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