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Anime Review: Netflix Original – Godzilla

The Netflix Original Godzilla takes the Kaiju monster genre to a new level! If you are into Kaiju films then you are used to seeing Godzilla in modern times (now or back in the 1960’s) stomping through Tokyo or New York causing billions worth of property damage and havoc. This rendition of Godzilla adds the elements of dystopia and futuristic alien/space science fiction to the Kaiju lore.

Released in Japan on November 17, 2017 as Godzilla: Planet of Monsters, this is the first in a trilogy of animated Godzilla movies produced by Toho Animation. It is also the 30th Godzilla film produced by Toho in the 32 film Godzilla franchise. It debuted on Netfilx on January 17, 2018.

The plot in Planet of Monsters is the most unique in the franchise. Kaiju have appeared and attacked modern civilization. On the edge of defeat, shit gets worse when Godzilla appears and obliterates the competition and continues the demise of mankind. On the brink of extinction Earth is visited by two alien species, the Exif and the Bilusaludo, who provide an opportunity for humans to escape Earth and/or fight Godzilla. A band of humans leaves Earth in search of another habitable world. Eventually they are forced to return to an unrecognizable planet Earth only to find that 20,000 years have elapsed since they left.

Perspective in this narrative is from the view of Captain Haruo Sakaki. He left Earth with his grandfather and witnessed Godzilla destroy the caravan carrying his parents to the ships leaving the planet. Like most sci-fi heroes Sakaki is a sympathetic character who disobeys authority to become a leader. This is the ultimate male trope of story tropes…bad-ass saves the world with unconventional decisions. OK!

I absolutely love this story because it combines science fiction and alien fantasy with Kaiju on Earth. As it stands I’m having a problem with the extreme lapse in time. Haruo Sakaki was a young boy when he left Earth. There is no explanation for why 20,000 years have elapsed and the initial band of exiled humans are still alive. We don’t see them in cryo, nor do they mention any time paradox created by space travel. Hopefully this will be addressed later in the trilogy.

The animation is computer generated. The art style reminds me of Knights of Sidonia and Blame!, two prior Netflix Originals, except Godzilla has more color. The images are crisp, but character movement scenes to be calculated, which is the best way to describe stiff movement. On the flip side action is fast paced and there is plenty of it. The desperation of the people is blandly portrayed as they look for a new home world. However, when they return to Earth and face the harsh reality of the the planet, including Godzilla, the emotion of the moment is felt via awesome visuals and dialogue.

Space fantasy and futuristic science fiction are the predominant genres in this Godzilla movie. You really don’t get to see much Kaiju destruction. Even when Godzilla appears the world is so overgrown by forest that you lose the element of watching a metropolis destroyed. Sure, you get plenty of troops and their weaponry being decimated, but it’s not the same as a monster strolling down the streets of a major city.




 

I didn’t know this was a trilogy when I watched it, but it became obvious towards the end of this movie that it was left open for more to come. We are used to Godzilla walking off into the sea and returning to monster island or elsewhere. This trilogy opens up the possibility of the demise of Godzilla and a new civilization for mankind and their alien saviors. I can wait to see where this goes.

On originality alone I would have to give this a …

7.5 out of 10

 

 

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