Movie Review Discussion: Godzilla Trilogy

by Dan

************SPOILERS BELOW*******

I recently decided to check out Netflix’s Godzilla trilogy. Caleb had spoken highly enough of the first two(and lambasted the final installment, so that made me want to check them out. I have to say that I’m incredibly disappointed with these movies.

The plot revolves around Haruo, a perpetually angry man who at a young age was forced into space with other humans and human-like creatures(more on them in a bit) as monsters, most notably Godzilla, ravage Earth. As he is evacuating, he sees that the transports that his parents are on are destroyed by Godzilla, driving him to have a hatred for Godzilla. After seemingly 20 years have passed during that event and present day, humanity attempts to return to Earth, hoping that Godzilla’s rampage has ended.

Right off the bat, Haruo is holding a shuttle hostage for seemingly no reason. All he does is yell and carry on for the entire run length of the first movie, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters and it’s nearly impossible for you to root for someone as seemingly childish as he is, even is a Captain amongst the space-faring humans which you would assume meant that he had some level of maturity.

Aside from the insufferable main character, the cardinal sin that this trilogy commits is that Godzilla, you know the character in the title, is maybe on screen for anywhere from 30-40 minutes out of a total of 284 minutes, or less than 20% of the total run time of the movies. I know that for the most part with giant monster movies that the monsters typically have a lower amount of screen time, mostly because they’re trying to develop the non-monster characters. See my paragraph above when it comes to the main character and why it’s a bad idea to even dwell on him at all.

As for the secondary characters, Haruo is given an extremely forced romance option with Yuko, one of his subordinates. Yuko is paper thin at best with her true purpose serving as fodder for the finale of the second movie, Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle. The humans are also accompanied by two alien races, the religious Exif and the technologically advanced Bilusaludo. Both alien races have ulterior motives for wanting to defeat Godzilla, with the Exif wanting to summon their god Ghidora and the Bilusaludo wanting to cover Earth in their nano-metal material. I hoped that both races were actually good guys without trying to over-complicate the plot by taking away from the fights with Godzilla, but alas that’s what they do in the second and third, Godzilla: The Planet Eater, movies.

As a quick aside, the translation on the movies is terrible. For some reason, when subtitles are done for anime shows and movies on Netflix, they don’t match up with the dub version of the audio. Of course, they are most likely a direct translation of the original Japanese audio, but nevertheless, I found myself distracted by the differences in dialogue. This isn’t something I blame these movies for, just something I’ve noticed when watching anime on Netflix.

Ultimately, these movies felt more like they wanted to tell their own story but being that it was Toho Animation doing the film, they had to shoehorn Godzilla and his cavalcade of monsters into the plot making the trilogy feel like a group of bad Godzilla movies as opposed to what would be decent to good sci-fi movies.

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters: 2/5 - When your main character is awful throughout the entire run time of a movie, it’s really disengaging even when the plot is actually okay.

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle: 2.5/5 - The theme of losing your humanity to defeat what you hate is done reasonably well, but it, unfortunately, features the same characters from the first movie, so you’re still disengaged.

Godzilla: The Planet Eater 2/5 - This movie made a three-headed dragon lame by stuffing the plot with the same awful characters and bad themes of a destroyer god.