Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (GODZILLA 怪獣惑星 Gojira: Kaijū Wakusei, also known as Godzilla Part 1: Planet of the Monsters and Godzilla: Monster Planet for short) is a 2017 Japanese computer-animated kaiju film directed by Kōbun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita, written by Gen Urobuchi, and produced by Toho Animation and Polygon Pictures, in association with Netflix. It is the 32nd film in the Godzilla franchise, the 30th Godzilla film produced by Toho, and the first animated film in the franchise.
|Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kōbun Shizuno|
|Produced by||Takashi Yoshizawa|
|Screenplay by||Gen Urobuchi|
|Music by||Takayuki Hattori|
|Box office||$3.29 million|
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters follows a group of human refugees who attempt to recolonize Earth 20,000 years after the planet was taken over by Godzilla. The film was released theatrically in Japan on November 17, 2017, and was released worldwide on Netflix on January 17, 2018. It was followed by two sequels, Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle and Godzilla: The Planet Eater, both of which were released in 2018.
In the last summer of the 20th century, giant monsters began plaguing Earth and humanity is driven to near extinction by one monster which eliminated the others: Godzilla. Two alien races with ulterior motives, the religious Exif (エクシフ Ekushifu) and the technologically advanced Bilusaludo (ビルサルド Birusarudo), came to Earth and offered their assistance against Godzilla. After the Bilusaludo's gambit with Mechagodzilla failed before it could be activated, both the aliens and humanity were forced to abandon Earth and emigrate to Tau-e via the spaceship Aratrum (アラトラム号 Aratoramu-gō). The time is now 20,000 years after the exodus from Earth and 11.9 light years away, and the Aratrum contains the remaining humans accompanied by Exif and Bilusaludo refugees.
Captain Haruo Sakaki bears a seething hatred towards Godzilla, which killed his parents during the exodus from Earth. He believes the planet selected for colonization, Tau-e, is uninhabitable and tries to force the ship's committee to rescind the order to send the elderly, including his grandfather, to scout the planet. Haruo is arrested and then witnesses the exploratory shuttle explode while entering the planet's atmosphere. He then anonymously publishes a classified essay on Godzilla's weak points provided by the Exif priest named Metphies. This sways public opinion among the population forcing the central committee into returning to Earth after deciding that they are unlikely to find another habitable world.
The Aratrum arrives in Earth orbit and sends reconnaissance drones to scout the surface which reveal that Godzilla is still alive. Metphies arranges Haruo's bail and he explains to the committee that Godzilla has a vulnerability. It is an electromagnetic pulse-producing organ in its body which generates an asymmetrical permeable shield making it impervious to all damage except for a short period when the organ recycles. Haruo proposes using that window to crack the shield organ and quickly implant an EMP probe into Godzilla to cause an implosion from the resulting energy buildup. He stresses that close quarters combat would be needed for accurately coordinated attacks in order to find the organ and requests a force of 600 people to implement the plan.
When Haruo and the two battalions reach Earth's surface, they learn that almost 20,000 years have elapsed due to relativist effects. Also, Godzilla's presence on the planet has radically altering Earth's biosphere. They suffer losses and damage to their landing ships by flying creatures called Servums. The remaining troops mobilize and soon encounter Godzilla. Haruo proceeds with the original plan on his own and attacks Godzilla before Leland intervenes and provoke Godzilla, his death allowing the others to learn Godzilla's weak point is its dorsal fins. Command falls to Metphies, who promotes Haruo to commander as the human convinces the remaining survivors to continue with the plan and defeat Godzilla.
The group manage to trap Godzilla within a collapsed mountain pass, where they succeed in killing the monster. However, it appears to only be an offspring and the original Godzilla, which has grown exponentially to 300m in height, emerges from beneath a nearby mountain and destroys most of the remaining crew. Trapped beneath rubble, Haruo watches Godzilla leave while vowing to kill it before losing consciousness.
In a post-credits scene, Haruo wakes up in a secluded area and sees an indigenous girl standing next to him.
|Haruo Sakaki (ハルオ・サカキ)||Mamoru Miyano (adult),||Chris Niosi (adult),
Rachelle Heger (child)
|Metphies (メトフィエス Metofiesu)||Takahiro Sakurai||Lucien Dodge|
|Martin Lazzari (マーティン・ラッザリ Mātin Razzari)||Tomokazu Sugita||Edward Bosco|
|Mulu Elu Galu Gu (ムルエル・ガルグ Murueru Garugu)||Junichi Suwabe||Jamieson Price|
|Rilu-Elu Belu-be (リルエル・ベルベ Rilueru Berube)||Kenta Miyake||Rich Brown|
|Yuko Tani (ユウコ・タニ Yūko Tani)||Kana Hanazawa||Cristina Vee|
|Adam Bindewald (アダム・ビンデバルト Adamu Bindebarudo)||Yūki Kaji||Robbie Daymond|
|Eliott Leland (エリオット・リーランド Eriotto Rīrando)||Daisuke Ono||Ray Chase|
|Unberto Mori (ウンベルト・モーリ Unberuto Mōri)||Kenyu Horiuchi||Keith Silverstein|
|Halu-Elu Dolu-do (ハルエル・ドルド Harueru Dorudo)||Kazuya Nakai||Doug Stone|
|Endurphe (エンダルフ Endarufu)||Kazuhiro Yamaji||Joe Ochman|
In August 2016, Toho announced that an animated Godzilla film was being developed, targeted for a 2017 release. Gen Urobuchi was announced as the writer, Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita as the directors, and Polygon Pictures was announced as the studio that would animate the film. In January 2017, Urobuchi announced the main cast on his Twitter account. In March 2017, Toho announced that the film would be the first film in a new trilogy.
About the production, co-director Shizuno stated, "From the start, we had the blessing of Toho to not be constrained by previous entries in the franchise, and with the freedom of imagination offered by animation I feel we have come up with a cool new form for Godzilla." On Godzilla's new design, co-director Seshita stated, "With his masses of muscle fibers and unique body tissue to support his enormous bulk, this is an extraordinarily rugged-looking physique. It was an overwhelming presence that reverberated through the whole project, like a fearsome deity that even we who created it must prostrate ourselves before. That is our Godzilla." The English dub was produced by Post Haste Digital.
A stage event for the film was held at AnimeJapan 2017 on March 26, 2017. That same month, a teaser poster revealed that the film will be released theatrically in Japan on November 17, 2017. The film's directors attended the Annecy International Animation Film Festival to reveal more details regarding the film. In June 2017, a new poster detailing Godzilla's design was revealed with the tagline "Despair Evolves". In August 2017, a new trailer and poster were released with the tagline "Who will go extinct — humans, or Godzilla?"
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters was given a theatrical release in Japan on November 17, 2017. In March 2017, it was announced that the film will be streamed in 190 countries via Netflix following the film's Japanese theatrical release. Greg Peters, President of Netflix Japan stated, "Working with the best creators such as Toho in bringing Godzilla to Netflix users in over 190 countries marks a major milestone for us". In January 2018, Netflix announced that the film will be released worldwide on their platform on January 17, 2018.
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters reached #3 at the Japanese box office on its opening weekend, earning ¥103 million from 71,200 admissions within two days. By its third weekend, it had grossed ¥342,349,800 ($3,052,062).
Upon its Chinese release in 2018, the film grossed CN¥1.62 million ($244,713) at the Chinese box office, bringing the film's total box office gross to $3.3 million in East Asia.
Brian Ashcraft of the Kotaku website felt that the characters "aren’t all that interesting" but did state that the "anime version of Godzilla is surprisingly effective and frightening" and that despite his complaints, the "overall experience was good" and "It’s not a perfect picture, but it was a powerful proof of concept: Godzilla works as an anime." Matt Schley from The Japan Times praised the film's CG animation, stating, "even skeptics will admit the 3-D version of the king of the monsters looks pretty darn cool" but felt the film wasn't "nearly as thematically ambitious as its predecessor" and concluded by stating, "But still, with its impressive 3-D animation and action sequences, 'Planet of the Monsters' has the makings of something interesting." Callum May from Anime News Network gave the film an overall B+ rating, calling the film "not for the uninitiated". May criticized the character of Haruo as being "grating", as the film didn't allow audiences to connect with other characters but praised the animation, call it Polygon's "best-looking CG title yet" and concluded that the film "is a thrilling film that lives up to the reputation of the franchise and delivers on its science fiction premise".
Mike Cecchini from Den of Geek felt the film was "beautifully animated" but criticized the characters, feeling they weren't sympathetic or well-developed. He also felt the technological dialogue felt more like it came from a video game but concluded by stating, "But Planet of the Monsters is just so damn gorgeous to look at, and such a complete departure from what you usually expect from this world, that you should just take it all in and enjoy the surprises." Patrick Galvan from Syfy Wired called the film "dull", criticizing the lack of human drama, the poorly developed world-building, and the writing, stating, "the writing is sadly not strong enough to even work on its own terms." He concluded by stating, "With a more polished script, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters might've been something of a modern classic. As is, it's a largely dull, impersonal product with only a few bursts of genuine interest to its name."
Jonathan Barkan from Dread Central gave the film 2 stars out of 5, feeling that the film has "great potential" but is "bland". He criticized the characters as being "forgettable", the film's was lack of exploring its "imaginative opportunities", called the animation's color scheme "flat and uninteresting" and felt some of the action scenes were too shaky. He concluded by stating, "Suffice it to say that it definitely has me interested in the second and third films but I really hope that this new world will be explored further in those entries. Otherwise, we’ve got a fascinating foundation that will be squandered." Paul Thomas Chapman from Otaku USA called the film a "train wreck". He criticized the film for dedicating various scenes to "nonstop barrage of technobabble and exposition" and criticized the character development for not exploring the inner lives of other characters. He concluded by stating the film "is not an easy film to recommend to either casual fans or to battle-hardened kaiju otaku. But despite its (many, glaring) flaws". Despite his criticism, Chapman "enjoyed" the film regardless.
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is the first film in the anime trilogy. The second film in the trilogy, titled Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle was released on May 18, 2018. The third and final film in the trilogy, titled Godzilla: The Planet Eater, was released on November 9, 2018.
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