Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters
|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||$3.3 million|
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 science fiction kaiju film featuring Godzilla, produced by Toho Animation and animated by 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. It is the first film in the anime trilogy and is co-directed by Kōbun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita. The film was released theatrically in Japan on November 17, 2017, and 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, released in Japan on May 18, 2018 and on November 9, 2018.
In the last summer of the 20th century, giant monsters began plaguing Earth and humanity is driven to near extinction by one monster that eliminated the others: Godzilla. It was at that time that two alien races with ulterior motives, the religious Exif and the technologically advanced Bilusaludo, came to Earth to offer their assistance against Godzilla. But after the Bilusaludos' gambit with Mechagodzilla failed before it be activated, both the aliens and humanity were forced to abandon Earth and emigrate to Tau Ceti e via the Aratrum. Among the humans is Haruo Sakaki, who bore a seething hatred towards Godzilla as his parents were killed during the exodus. 20 years later and 11.9 light years away from Earth, a fully grown Haruo believes Tau-e is uninhabitable and locks himself in a shuttle that he threatens to detonate unless the ship's committee resents the order for his grandfather and the elderly to scout the planet. But Haruo fails and is arrested, thrown in a cell where he witnesses the emigration shuttle explode while entering the planet's atmosphere. Provided classified data by Exif priest named Metphies, Haruo anonymously publishes an essay detailing Godzilla's weak points to convince the central committee into returning to Earth once they conclude the unlikelihood of finding another habitable world.
Upon returning to Earth, time having passed millennia due to relativist effects, the Aratrum sends recon drones to scout the Earth which reveal that Godzilla is still alive. Metphies orchestrates Haruo's bail so the human can explain to the committee that they can kill Godzilla, revealing a electromagnetic pulse-producing organ in Godzilla's body that generates an asymmetrical permeable shield that makes the monster impervious to all damage except for a small window when the organ recycles. Haruo proposes using that window to crack the shield organ and quickly shove in EMP probe before it regenerates to implode Godzilla from the resulting energy buildup. But Haruo stresses that close quarters combat would be needed for accurately coordinated attacks in order to find the organ, with the committee forced to deploy 600 people for Haruo's plan.
When Haruo and the two battalions reach Earth, they learn that 20 millennia had passed on the planet with Godzilla's presence radically altering Earth's biosphere as they suffer losses and damage to their landing ships by Godzilla-like flying creatures called Servums. The company's commander Leland orders a retreat, but Metphies stresses that they would need to rendezvous with Companies D and E through a pass within an area Godzilla frequents. The group mobilizes and soon encounters 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 attacks Godzilla and manage to trap it within a collapsed mountain pass where succeed in killing the monster by once EMP probes drilled into its dorsal fins. Commenting after the apparent victory, the group's environmental biologist Martin Lazzari theorizes that this Godzilla may be different from the one that drove humanity away, believing it to be an offspring. Subsequently, 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.
In a post-credits scene, Haruo wakes up in a secluded area, finding an indigenous girl next to him.
|Haruo Sakaki||Mamoru Miyano (adult), Aya Suzaki (young)||Chris Niosi (adult), Rachelle Heger (young)|
|Metphies||Takahiro Sakurai||Lucien Dodge|
|Martin Lazzari||Tomokazu Sugita||Edward Bosco|
|Mulu Elu Galu Gu||Junichi Suwabe||Jamieson Price|
|Rilu-Elu Belu-be||Kenta Miyake||Rich Brown|
|Yuko Tani||Kana Hanazawa||Cristina Vee|
|Adam Bindewald||Yūki Kaji||Robbie Daymond|
|Eliott Leland||Daisuke Ono||Ray Chase|
|Unberto Mori||Kenyu Horiuchi||Keith Silverstein|
|Halu-Elu Dolu-do||Kazuya Nakai||Doug Stone|
|Endurphe||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 ($239,645) 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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