Dec 7, 2018
Welcome back to the podcast. This will be the second 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. It’s also the last double up day. 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.
Last segment, I was talking about getting back to work, and that required watching a lot of movies. Thanksgiving Day, a friend came to visit, and after we put down an immense dinner mostly cooked by my daughter, we sat down for the beginning of a crazy movie marathon, two that evening, and then an average of two to three per day after that for me. I watched a few movies before restarting, but once I got back into my groove, it felt great to write and produce again, especially with the new segments. I love doing it, but if you want to help out financially, head on over to patreon.com/onemoviepunch to become a regular contributor. We’ll be revising our contribution levels as the podcast evolves, but everything goes to help maintain the podcast, with everything else coming out of my own pocket. Any amount is appreciated, and we’ll soon have exclusive content for supporters.
We’re caught up tomorrow. I’ll be unveiling more about how the podcast will be changing next year. And how you can get involved.
Today’s movie is “Godzilla: City at the Edge of Battle” (2018), 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 follows up on “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters”, as the squadron meets a new indigienous humanoid population, and run across the remains of a 20,000 year old anti-kaiju technology known as Mechagodzilla.
Trilogies are a huge gamble for any filmmaker, and that’s doubly so for animated films. It is true that you can reuse a great deal of the work from film to film with the right amount of abstraction and layering, but there’s a much larger investment that needs to go into the effort, and it only takes a bad first movie to stop it dead. Hollywood is littered with prematurely cancelled franchises nowadays. But today’s film, the second in the trilogy, is one of those increasingly common instances where the sequel surpasses the original, and in all the right ways, not only drawing in more elements from the source material, but also expanding the universe to open up new possibilities, and by extension, new conflicts. Especially with the inclusion of Mechagodzilla, the original anti-kaiju technology, but this time a failed solution suggested by one of the humanoid races attempting to resettle the planet.
The second film in a trilogy is often considered a bridge film, usually eschewing the standard narrative patterns in lieu of maintaining the second act feel. We learn more not just about the changed planet, but also about the two races that coexist with humans in space. The Exif are the remains of another civilization, who had also created a similar being to Godzilla through their hubris, and roam the galaxy trying to unite the intelligent species. The Bilusaludo are the remains of another civilization, who boast about having the technology to defeat Godzilla, but failed in that mission. Between the three humanoid species, we get a philosophical overview of the difference between humanoids and the kaiju, and whether humanoids are to forever be ruled by the kaiju, or will need to become monsters to defeat the monsters. And we get to see this all unfold when the landing team runs across the old facility that housed Mechagodzilla, made of nanometal that has also continued evolving and multiplying over the years, and offers another possible solution to the true Godzilla, revealed at the end of last film, but at a great cost.
I couldn’t tell which direction the film was going to take, which was refreshing, even with replaying a classic Godzilla trap gambit within this new world. Seshita and Shizuno keep the same great pacing, and work with an army of animators to keep bringing the world to life. This animation has the same quality as the previous film, with the same blending defects every now and again. But it doubles up on the philosophy, and much like how the first film teased the presence of an indigenous humanoid race, this second film tease the existence of an even more dangerous kaiju, a space-faring beast known as King Ghidorah, a long-time staple of the Godzilla franchise and a perfect new archenemy to flesh out the remainder of this trilogy, with a bunch of potential origin stories and metaphors to adapt into this world. I wish I lived in Japan right now, because I could catch “Godzilla: The Planet Eater” in theaters, but I’ll have to wait until it makes its way here via Netflix. Maybe next month? Only time will tell!
“Godzilla: City at the Edge of Battle” (2018) is the second film of the animated series, expanding and evolving the reimagined take on Godzilla, 20,000 years into the future. The viewer is treated to the aftermath of the first film, the expansion of the second, and the setup for the third, all with the same characteristic style and direction. Godzilla fans, or Japanese animation fans, should definitely check out this film, but only after seeing the first one.
Rotten Tomatoes: NR
One Movie Punch: 8.6/10
“Godzilla: City at the Edge of Battle” (2018) is rated TV-14 and is currently streaming on Netflix.