By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
- Spoiler Alert
Toho Picture‘s Gojira: Kaijū Wakusei (Monster Planet) had me asking a lot of questions and I had to view it at least three times to see if any answers lay buried in the layers.
Netflix’s quiet release of the first film of the series had me excited, and the tease it made has me thankful that the wait to see part two will not be too long. When considering Kessen Kidō Zōshoku Toshi (literal translation: Decisive Battle Mobile Breeding City) arrives May 2018 in Japan, it’s safe to assume the worldwide release by Netflix will be near the end of the year — if not beginning at the start of the next, if I’m to assume there’s a pattern. For the last film of this animated trilogy, it could sedge way to new live action films, or look at an earlier chapter altogether.
With this film, Haruo Sakaki (voiced by Mamoru Miyano) is a maverick. He does not approve of the council’s decision to ditch the dead weight (the elderly) and threatens to blow himself up along with others. The decision to go home to Earth or keep looking for a habitable planet weighed in on the minds of the leaders. To survive in space needs more than access to specific resources, but a sense of being ‘at home.’ Sakaki sees Earth as that only place, but Gojira is happily roaming the world, owning it like he is the world itself.
With this trilogy, the tale takes place in the future so no conflict with canon can occur. If the team of Kōbun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita (directors), Takashi Yoshizawa (producer) and Gen Urobuchi (writer) looked at Shin Godzilla, I can see a few cues being expanded. When considering the ghastly image of strange exoskeletons and alien bodies ejecting out of Gojira’s tail, Monster Planet suggests all the creatures Sakaki’s team finds may well be from the mighty beast himself! They all have striking similarities. Perhaps the winged things they fought are like antibodies protecting the creature from foreign invaders. When the choice to go home is made and a ragtag team allow a miscreant to lead them, this tale does not always offer deeper meaning. It is like watching Battlestar Galactica meets Appleseed meets Yamato.
The home world is pretty, but radioactive. If the aliens are able to entrap him in a container and eject it into space, the planet can be saved. Removing this behemoth is difficult. Sakaki tries, and he needs to succeed to decide the fate of humanity.
I find it odd very few creatures occupy the mutated planet. To make this beast a primal force of nature is perfect. While humans claim to own the Earth, they are forgetting dinosaurs roamed the planet before them. The thought of the world reverting back to a primal state was never brought up. The world moves in mysterious ways; to witness what Gojira represents certainly scares a lot of people! To see this creature rendered in animated form only adds layers of monstrosity and primal fear which can cause mighty Cthulhu to hide!
When the Exif and the Bilusaludo arrived on Earth to offer help, they gave the world leaders a choice — accept their religion and they will get rid of Gojira. The United Nations said okay, and although these spacefarers failed, at least they offered to evacuate most of humanity. I am more curious about why society must worship another belief system and I believe the second film will address it. For some odd reason, I thought about James Cameron’s Avatar because of the tease after the end credits. At the same time, the issue about those who decided to stay on Earth with the King of All Monsters reigning supreme will be addressed.
The prequel novel, Gojira Kaijū Mokushiroku (Godzilla: Monster Apocalypse) offers a different take. The Wiki entry suggests this work is one part Charles Darwin‘s Theory of Evolution and another part a back story of the evacuation. This book is available in Japanese. With this film more than a few weeks old, perhaps publisher Kadokawa will get this work translated and offered to fans world-wide.
3½ Radioactive Blasts out of 5