Ok, so this isn’t going to be a review. At least it isn’t meant to be. If you want to know what I thought about this film, I kind of liked it. It’s definitely not the best Godzilla film (I still think that the best one is the original film) and I wouldn’t even call it a Godzilla film, despite its name on it. More on that later though. All in all, I’m not sure if this is a that much of a surprise to everyone. I do admit that my favorite media are either things that are intellectually stimulating in some way or have excellent well-rounded characters in some sort of war drama, but I have another side of me that appears every so often. A side of me that likes seeing giant monsters destroy things. For some reason, this movie worked for me. I know that I might be in the minority here, but oh well. I don’t really care.
Most of Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters was as a set up and build up film for it’s coming installments. You know what, I think that’s ok. Let’s start more about the setting and world Godzilla is trying to establish. It’s in space guys. The fact that most of this took place on a space ship kind of won me over. Yes, it’s very Battlestar Galactica like with humanity and some friendly aliens running away from the Earth to find another place home. Seeing the effects of the people living on a ship so long, especially the elders who are used to living on the Earth and would rather die then continuing to live on the ship, was interesting. Also, seeing the young kids who grew up on this ship seeing an actual planet that humanity can was something interesting as well. I was almost irritated to see the Godzilla stuff take center stage. Almost. There was an interesting social structure on this ship that could have been worth exploring, but at least sets up how man was surviving. Also, the jumping sequence to Earth was so cool to me, but it was a transition point that meant that the Godzilla stuff was going to take center stage next. So at least all of this transitioned to something mostly as cool and interesting.
After the space stuff came the awesome jungle fight stuff. The base set ups, the traveling of troops through the jungle, the other random monsters, and then the supposed Godzilla fight. All of that was so exciting and interesting. Yes, I have barely talked about the characters at this point, but do you really watch a giant monster movie for well established characters and character drama? No, most of those people that appear on screen are monster chow. In this film, the most developed character in this Netflix Godzilla film was nothing more then an angry teenager. The main point here is that, the action and the monster fighting stuff was fun, well-choreographed, and well shot. All of that this was what I was looking forward to when it comes to this film and it delivered. There are some improvements I could push on the film, but I was generally ok with the choices put down in front of me.
With that said, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters didn’t feel like a Godzilla film to me. I know that this is controversial statement of the year (yeah right), but it felt like a Jurassic Park film. Maybe it’s because the monster sequences took place in a jungle? Perhaps this is something like how Jurassic World should have been because that movie centered around Jurassic Park with a rebranding. Here, the monsters actually took over the world by forcing humanity and guests to leave it. I do admit that I didn’t think this at first, but the first scene that sold me on this when the other monsters attacked our human group in the jungle. After that, this thought never left me head. There is also the fact that the Japanese fear of the nuclear bomb and Godzilla are inherently linked. That’s why he is always attacking cities. Besides the opening scene where humanity left Earth due to Godzilla destruction (you can make a connection with nuclear war here) and the fact that Earth is now a waste land, that theme wasn’t present. I’m not saying that every Godzilla film has this theme behind it, but it was severely lacking here more then usual.
Then there is the biggest criticism of it all, the graphics. I am completely disappointed with Polygon Pictures here. Everything they’ve done looks about the same from a human aesthetic. These are the same character designs, including clothing, from all the designs I’ve seen in Knights in Sidonia and Blame. There is a definitely a Polygon Pictures design, because they are sticking with one brand of characters. All of that is ok, but it can be very monotonous. All the ship backgrounds, jungle terrain, and technology were interesting, but they might be the same as Knights of Sidonia and Blame too. What can you do? Now let’s talk about the real star of this show, Godzilla. OMG, does he look terrible. What did they do to him? He looks like a cg pile of poo that somehow made it to be formed into a vague Godzilla form. Polygon could have at least worked hard to make Godzilla good. I mean, he’s the star here. Come on.
Ok, that’s enough thoughts toward a silly giant monster. In the end, that’s what Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is. An average giant monster movie. It doesn’t do enough to pull away from the norm or make it special, but there is enough here to at least watch. If you are a giant monster film person, this might be worth your time to at least watch it. If you aren’t, then why are you watching this in the first place? Maybe cause its anime? I know that this is a set up movie and the major things start with the next movie. I hope that the next one makes everything that is going on in this film worth something and interesting. We shall wee though. We all shall see. Curse you Netflix. Why would you do this to us?