Godzilla - Planet of the Monsters.  A Review of the First Godzilla Anime Feature on Netflix

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

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Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, was recently released on Netflix in the United States.  I had anticipated watching this feature for sometime as the leaked animation looked amazing.  Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is a 2017 Japanese computer-animated science fiction film featuring Godzilla and produced by Toho Animation and Polygon Pictures.

In the end I thought that Godzilla: Plant of the Monsters was a mixed bag.  The animation is absolutely brilliant.  It may be the best animation I have ever seen.  The people and the space ships are wonderfully realistic and Godzilla himself is, perhaps, the most fierce, intimidating, and visually frighting interpretation of the monster yet.  Far more intimidating than previous versions of Godzilla.

This is the 32nd film in the Godzilla franchise but the first animated film.  I originally did not understand why this was listed on Netflix as a "series" when there was clearly only one movie but the film is actually just the first in a trilogy. Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters was released in Japan on November 17, 2017 and released worldwide on Netflix on January 17, 2018.

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The plot of the movie is unnecessarily complicated and highly melodramatic and moves slowly through the first half of the film.  The plot is, basically, in the last summer of the 20th century, giant monsters began appearing across the Earth. Godzilla also appeared and destroyed both humans and monsters. Two species of aliens, the Exif and the Bilusaludo, attempting to convert humanity to their religion and help the humans.  However, even with the help of the two alien races the monsters took over Earth and forced both aliens and humans to abandon Earth.

The fleet of refugees travel space attempting to locate a new home world but fail and twenty years later there is substantial in-fighting and possible genocide occuring within the fleet.  This is when we meet our hero-  Captain Haruo Sakaki, a completely unlikable, over the top, and melodramatic character who somehow manages to yell every single line of dialog he has in the film.


After much drama, the decision is made to return to Earth as no other suitable home world could be found but, because they have been traveling at light-speed for twenty years, Earth has changed drastically as 20,000 years have passed on Earth.  I'm not sure the science lines up on that but let's roll with it.  At this point, nearly half way through the movie, I am just wanting something to happen that doesn't involve Haruo Sakaki yelling about something.

The fleet finally returns to Earth where they find that the planet has changed.  There is a thick layer of cloud cover around the planet making it difficult to see what is happening on the surface.  So, the fleet launches drones to explore but they are quickly destroyed but not before they discover that Godzilla is still alive and that there are now other monsters roaming Earth as well.  Still, the preoccupation remains with Godzilla and we will soon see why.

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Eventually, the fleet lands a special forces unit on the planet to finally try and get a first hand account of what is happening.  The Earth appears to basically be a jungle at this point and there are flying dinosaur looking creatures which keep giving them a hard time but the main event- Godzilla himself- is still lurking around.  Godzilla is mostly shown at a distance until late in the movie and the film does a good job building up just how powerful he is.

Finally, a plan is hatched to capture Godzilla and destroy him as they have studied him and discovered a weakness which they believe they can target and kill him.  After much loss of life the team lures Godzilla into a trap and attack him but the finish is not what they expected.  It's not what I expected either and I really thought they nailed the ending making Godzilla out to be the most insanely terrifying monster we have ever seen on film.


For as boring and slow (and I'm sure Captain Haruo Sakaki is still yelling about something) as the first half of this movie was, the second half was really good and the last half hour was insanely amazing.  The animation of Godzilla was absolutely one of the most impressive things I have ever seen and this is, far and away, the most powerful version of Godzilla ever.  I can't give the movie two thumbs up because the first half was just too convoluted and slow but I do recommend checking it out.  Just try not to fall asleep before the ending because they really hit a home run with the finish.


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