Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is now streaming on Netflix.
By Greg Wheeler
Presenting itself as the first in a scheduled trilogy, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is a visually pleasing but largely unfulfilling animated film. For large periods of Godzilla, expository dialogue detailing backstory around the history of Planet Earth dominates the run time with the latter period of the film used to tease big action to come in future instalments. Whilst the ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered and sets the scene nicely for a second instalment, there just isn’t enough here to get really excited about the franchise in an uneventful and lackluster film.
The story begins with the behemoth Godzilla decimating Planet Earth, forcing the remaining humans to leave and try to find another planet to inhabit. After a fruitless search and many years later, the Earthlings decide to return to Earth and fight Godzilla to claim their homeland back. The premise is relatively straight forward although things do inevitably go sour toward the end of the film with the promise of some explosive action to come. With a distinct lack of memorable characters, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters makes for a passive watch, leaving little room to get invested in any of the characters. The main draw here is of course Godzilla himself but the initial enthusiasm and excitement toward seeing the large monster is soured somewhat with little reason to care about the humans trying to defeat him.
Aside from lead character Metphies (Lucien Dodge) whose vengeance fueled mission to destroy Godzilla gives him some motivation around his actions, none of the other characters are explored in any real detail. It’s a shame too because the animation is gorgeously rendered, blending a unique CGI and anime style to impressive effect. Although the colors are a little dull and emotionless, it fits with the overall mood of the film and can be forgiven. Visually, there’s no denying that Godzilla is a stunning film but the plot and characterization just don’t match up to the animation.
Whether you’ll feel fulfilled enough here to see this trilogy through to its end will probably hinder on whether the crucial and second part of this trilogy delivers, if you can make it that far. The end certainly leaves a lot resting on this after a lackluster and ultimately uneventful first film. With a lack of characters to root for and large patches filled with expository dialogue, only time will tell whether people will stick with this trilogy. Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is certainly a looker but is also a prime example that sometimes looks aren’t everything.
I give Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters a D+.