GODZILLA: THE PLANET EATER Review – Where did it all go so wrong?

the planet eater

It should have been epic. The Godzilla anime trilogy should have been a lot of things. The potential was there. In the first film, Planet of the Monsters, Godzilla was established as an unstoppable threat. I remember feeling in awe when he unleashed his iconic roar in the climax of the film. The actual movie wasn’t anything great, but it was decent setup. The potential was there. The sequel’s marketing hinted at a battle between Godzilla and a new Mechagodzilla. City on the Edge of Battle did not feature a Mechagodzilla throwdown, instead rehashing the battle against small machines from the first film.

City on the Edge of Battle had some neat ideas. Mechagodzilla taking over an entire city, and the Bilusaludo willing to become one with it in order to face Godzilla were interesting concepts. The problem is that these things completely took the place of why we watch Godzilla movies. In City on the Edge of Battle, Godzilla doesn’t do anything until after the first hour. That’s a bold move with a movie titled Godzilla, but maybe it could work if the climax was amazing. It wasn’t. At the very least, the poster for The Planet Eater showed Godzilla battling an intriguing new version of King Ghidorah. There is definitely a confrontation, but fans will likely be disappointed. The film itself is kind of bizarre in that it barely even feels about Godzilla at times.

Look, deep themes and meta storylines can be fascinating. Anime is home to many fantastic concepts and themes that Western animation barely touches. So, it’s certainly welcome that a Godzilla film in anime format could touch upon themes, such as what it means to be human, and the will to keep fighting. That sounds interesting, but it only works if the themes don’t overpower the kaiju element. The Planet Eater goes full on in attempting to convey something profound with its protagonist. The film is certainly thought provoking to some extent, but in the end, it got lost in its themes and forgot to be a quality movie. The ending is downbeat and out of left field, reminding everyone that this is the Haruo Sakaki saga with Godzilla just as a guest star. The after credits scene is strange in that it literally has nothing to do with Godzilla.

Now, that’s not to say everything about The Planet Eater is awful. The story, summed up, is about Metphies revealing his plan to Haruo. The Exif plans to bring King Ghidorah, a powerful space monster who the Exif worship as a god, to deliver Earth’s destruction. Haruo is of course against this, but is manipulated by Metphies in mind games. Ghidorah arrives on Earth, and Godzilla is powerless to stop him. With Haruo edging closer and closer to the end, Maina goes to the large egg and summons a familiar moth to go inside Haruo’s mind. With Haruo later back to his senses, it’s time to stop Metphies and Ghidorah’s menace…

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So, one thing that was well done was the build-up to Ghidorah. I got goosebumps when hearing the classic Ghidorah cackle. Ghidorah is treated as a god-like being, and the scene where he arrives and destroys the Aratrum was awe-inspiring. His arrival on Earth was also well done, with the animation being quite good. The encounter between him and Godzilla was, at first, interesting. Godzilla was clearly on the verge of losing, and the overall feel was that of a big climax. The problem is that the way Ghidorah was designed did not allow for a very engaging battle. It was barely even a fight as Godzilla couldn’t even touch Ghidorah until later.

The strange thing is that the film teases viewers with the classic winged Ghidorah look, but we never actually see that in the flesh. An even bigger tease was Mothra. Yes, Mothra does sort of show up – but only as a silhouette who goes inside Haruos mind. That’s her only appearance. Mothra appearing in person to help take out Ghidorah? A team-up with Godzilla, as a reference to their partnership in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Godzilla: Final Wars? Nah, none of that stuff. Instead, the film thinks we’re satisfied by Mothra being a flying shadow.

Some of the dialogue was good. The mind sequences with Haruo and Metphies were interesting, as Haruo was brought lower and lower by Metphies’ elegant vocabulary. Methphies was definitely a highlight of the trilogy, and it was great seeing him go full on calm fanatic in this movie. Haruo isn’t a terrible focus, but at this point we’ve so much of him and so little of Godzilla, that it’s hard to be engaged. It also doesn’t help that the ending was a terrible conclusion to his story.

The Houtua were interesting characters in City on the Edge of Battle, and the twins return here. One of the best sequences was Miana discovering Metphies’ alter to Ghidorah. Meanwhile, her sister, Maina has one notable scene where she goes to the Mothra egg. However, Maina is also given a rather…odd role. Haruo seems to have gotten over Yuko quickly, huh?

At this point, there isn’t too much else to be said about The Planet Eater, and the anime trilogy as a whole. Perhaps people who have never seen a Godzilla film will enjoy these more. The themes can be interesting, but they are sandwiched with dull pacing and little kaiju action. The Planet Eater teases with winged Ghidorah and Mothra, but not much happens there. Ghidorah’s “battle” with Godzilla did have some great moments, like Godzilla snapping one of the head’s jaws. But, it did leave a lot to be desired. The soundtrack was strong overall at the very least, especially when Ghidorah arrived. The Planet Eater attempts to be a deep movie, which is admirable, but in the process loses key things associated with the Godzilla saga.

ghidorah

All in all, The Planet Eater is a mediocre conclusion to a mediocre trilogy. Throughout the films, there have been great moments and intriguing concepts. But, there is no satisfying endgame. Planet of the Monsters was decent setup, and City on the Edge of Battle was one overly long middle act for The Planet Eater, none of which delivered. Hopefully Godzilla’s journey into anime doesn’t end here.

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GODZILLA: OBLIVION #3 Review

It’s been quite awhile since the last issue of Oblivion. It was supposed to come out last week, but for some reason was delayed. Was the extra wait worth it? Let’s dig into the comic.

Here’s the official description from IDW:

A plan to rid our world of King Ghidorah backfires and the Earth faces certain calamity! A small piece of technology from another world may be the only hope of salvation.

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 Oblivion has been the definition of an “okay” series. There are some fun concepts but the characters haven’t been that particularly engaging. The artwork also has been more on the mediocre side. Issue Three fixes some of the problems . It opens up with promise: Godzilla shooting a beam at King Ghidorah. What follows is a popcorn fun issue. Sadly, it doesn’t go beyond that and is pretty average in terms of compelling story.

 

A challenge of mini-series is having engaging characters. There’s so little space to introduce backstories, who they are, etc. It’s not impossible however, as seen in previous Godzilla minis. Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov doesn’t give us any reason to care about the characters here. None of them are particularly likable, and there’s very little development between issues. In fact, there’s anti-development in the case of Yamada. Let’s put this in perspective: in this world monsters don’t exist. We have these crazy powerful creatures roaming around for the first time yet Yamada manages to say the line of, “I could use people like you in my company.” How can this be spoken when there are giant monsters destroying the city? The reactions here just aren’t good. Also, the ending features a plot hole because there’s no way they managed to do what they did in such a short amount of time.

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Of course, the primary draw of this issue isn’t the dialogue; it’s the monster fight. People may groan because we’ve seen Godzilla vs. Ghidorah multiple times already, but at least they can admit the fight here is fun. It has excellent usage of beam wars, buildings being used as weapons, and pure fighting. (There’s a really cool panel with Ghidorah literally kicking Godzilla to the ground.) I’m not sure I would call this their best comic book fight, but it was certainly excellent. Brian Churilla’s artwork also improves. It provides a unique  look for the monsters throughout. Godzilla in particular has quite a few standout scenes. The shadowed silhouette near the end also looked really cool. Sadly, once again the humans lacked sufficient detail. There are three covers to pick from this week. The main one by Churilla is certainly unique. Its bright colors are appealing, and the layout is something we haven’t seen before. Cover B by James Stokoe as expected provides awesome detail. Godzilla’s face looks a little off, but nonetheless it’s a great piece. The best one however has to be the RI by Tadd Galusha. We’ve seen covers of the two monsters before, but this might be their best representation yet. One can see the fury in their faces.

Overall, Godzilla Oblivion #3 is a fun issue. It can’t be called great however, which is due to the mediocre characters. The fight is satisfying however, which is enough for a lot of fans. Those hoping to see the story become compelling though are in for a disappointment.

6.5/10