The Big G is back, and this time he’s animated. The latest Godzilla project, Godzilla: Monster Planet is an anime film, set to premiere on Netflix in November. Netflix unveiled the release information in their recent update regarding their new slate of anime content. At the time there were only a couple of official images from the project, but no footage. But now fans finally have something concrete to give them an idea of what to expect. Toho released a full-length trailer for the film, just the other day.
It looks interesting, at the very least. The CG style is bound to raise some eyebrows. But at this point nitpicking over the aesthetic choices of any Godzilla film just comes with the territory. People with either make fun of rubber suits or floaty CGI. Now, if they don’t like it, it’s yet another stylistic choice to make fun of. The more interesting thing to note is the tone. This is clearly a Godzilla film harkening back to the early days, when Godzilla was actually an incredibly serious cautionary tale, and borderline public service announcement about nuclear warfare and the like. It isn’t necessarily about that, of course (though given the times, it may be a very appropriate message), but the point is that it’s adopting the darker, more serious tone. Shin Godzilla did very much the same.
The synopsis of the film, as released in July, still raises a handful of questions and leads to more than its share of joke fodder. A basic summary is that Godzilla and other Kaiju began showing up around the end of the 20th century. In the 2040s, humanity decided to abandon the planet after an unsuccessful war with the monsters. But it looks like the Andromeda Initiative was as successful for them, as it was for BioWare. Their golden world turned out to be a bust after spending 20 years in transit, so now they’re heading back to Earth in order to reclaim it. The main character, Haruo, saw Godzilla kill his parents when he was 4, and has spent the last 20 years of his life only thinking about returning to defeat the monster.
That’s the cliff-notes version, and… well, there are some issues with it. Not the least of which being “If it took them 20 years to get to their new planet, then why did it not take 20 years for them to get back?” Furthermore, Godzilla’s only one monster. Why would getting rid of him b the end of the problem? The world is still apparently teeming with kaiju and is likely extremely irradiated. Even the trailer raises a few questions of its own. Since when has attacking Godzilla with bullets or conventional military might of any variety ever worked? Though more concerning is the rather generic descriptor of the film’s main protagonist. It isn’t exactly like that arc’s never been done. Heck, even more recent Gamera movies played the whole “the monster killed people close to me” card. Hopefully, the film delivers something fresh.
Obviously, the trailer is unsurprisingly not in English and has no subtitles. Many of these questions can easily be answered in translation. Even if the movie doesn’t really deliver on the storytelling front, many Godzilla movies, in all honesty, also don’t. Even some of the more serious ones have been laughable at best. But at least there’s the saving grace of a giant, radioactive lizard wrecking shop. Hopefully, this will be a really awesome watch, and a great addition to Netflix’s anime line.