Dec 7, 2018
Welcome back to the podcast. This will be the first of two episodes today as we’re in the final stretch of getting caught up, both on episodes and what was happening while the podcast was offline. I’ll be continuing my story in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP.
Yesterday, I was talking about a wall leak that had its own surprising twist and thankfully, most of a resolution. It was the last of the distractions that kept me away from getting back to the podcast. After the leak was finished, I took my plan of action from a few days ago, got everything mapped out to get caught up, then got to work, first finishing the episodes I had in progress, but only after going back and adding the story segments, itself a learning experience. And the rest, from the day before Thanksgiving until just a few days ago, it’s been grind, grind, grind to research, watch, write, record, produce, post, and promote the episodes. Each episode takes about four hours to produce, or about 28 hours a week, and getting caught up was going to take a great deal of time. And a few willing participants on Thanksgiving Day.
Two more episodes left to get caught up. More from Thanksgiving Day next time, then I’ll reveal how the podcast will be changing next year, and how you could get involved.
Today’s movie is “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters” (2017), the Netflix Original and TOHO Animation film directed by Hiroyuki Seshita and Kôbun Shizuno, and written for the screen by Gen Urobuchi, within a series composed by Gen Urobuchi, Sadayuki Murai, and Yusuke Kozaki, based on the iconic character and universe created by Ishirô Honda. The film is set far into the future, after humanity left Earth with two other humanoid races in search of a new home twenty years ago. However, with supplies failing and no great prospects for survival, the races return to Earth via warp-drive, taking them an instant, but placing them 20,000 years from Earth’s perspective, in a world transformed by Godzilla’s existence.
I missed this one last year, placing it in my queue for later this year, as both the second film “Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle” and the final film “Godzilla: The Planet Eater” were set to be released this year to round out this trilogy of animated films. I was going to review all three, but it appears that the third film will be delayed, so instead of waiting even longer, I figured it was time to dive into both films. Everyone is going nuts right now for the live-action sequels being produced, myself included, but there are plenty of other adaptations being done with the Godzilla intellectual property, and this trilogy of films are definitely a worthy entry into that canon of work. Oh, and as an aside, this season’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” just did a great episode involving Ishirô Honda, where the heroes just happen to give him the inspiration for Godzilla. Fun episode if you can find it, especially if you are a Godzilla fan.
“Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters” returns us to Earth after the presence of Godzilla has radically transformed the planet. Other lifeforms, in order to survive the effects of radiation, have adapted, or perhaps adopted, Godzilla’s unique traits, and a thriving new ecosystem has developed. A squadron is sent down to try and stop Godzilla, identified by probe, and this first film covers that effort, from touchdown, to dealing with the new world’s lifeforms, to tracking and luring the beast into a confrontation that could mean the return of humanity, and their two companion races, to the planet, full of natural resources, now replenished after the humanoid exodus. All the many themes of the entire series are now explored from this unique vantage point, and asking many questions, like whether the planet is now better off, and whether humans can ever regain our place in the universe after creating monsters even we cannot defeat. Japanese animation is perfect for this version of the story, because anything can be imagined, and the pacing allows for more philosophical bridges that a standard live-action, rubber-suit monster film generally makes.
Hiroyuki Seshita and Kôbun Shizuno make a great pair of directors for this film in particular. The film keeps good pacing, reveling in each unfolding of the universe being created, and focused on a tight story arc that gives us what we want to see: humanoids trying to defeat Godzilla. The voice talent is great, and the animation is spectacular, although you can see a few blending issues between the computerized animation of Godzilla and the more classic Japanese animation style of the humanoids. And without giving too much away, things don’t quite go according to plan, if the presence of a second and third film didn’t suggest that. In fact, the ending of this film gets us set up for the second film, which I’ll be reviewing in the next episode.
“Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters” (2017) is a neat variation on the Godzilla property, using Japanese animation style and a story set 20,000 years in the future. While reusing the same monster and themes, the trilogy offers a unique perspective on both, and this first film is a wonderful introduction to this new world. Godzilla fans, and Japanese animation fans, should definitely check out this film, along with any science fiction fan that is somehow not a Godzilla fan.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
One Movie Punch: 8.2/10
“Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters” (2017) is rated TV-14 and is currently streaming on Netflix.