By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Available to watch on Netflix
The survivors from Godzilla from City on the Edge of Battle must be facing an existential crisis in the finale of Toho’s animated trilogy. The Planet Eater sees the mighty one dormant for a good half of the film, and the alien Bilusaludo and Exif (who allied with the human race) seem not too concerned. In the final part of Toho’s animated trilogy, the question of who is helping whom is looked at, and not everyone is being cooperative.
The survivors have lost their way. Mechagodzilla was destroyed and to defeat Godzilla with no weapons will not be easy. To physically dispense the giant beast is impossible, and to do so requires divine intervention. King Ghidorah’s appearance was disappointing. I hoped for more because the teaser trailers showed only one version of this three-headed beast. Instead, this film presented a creature from the Book of Exodus.
In the live-action films, he’s a cosmic destroyer of worlds (Shōwa era) or a guardian (Millenium). The future is bleak and shades of Hideaki Anno’s Evangelion colours how Haruo, the series main protagonist, tries to deal with the hate within himself. He’s on a path to destruction if he keeps up with wanting to kill Godzilla. When the Exif showed their true colours, I wondered if they were devils in disguise. They did not have humanity’s best interest in mind when they helped this race flee to the stars.
Amusingly, the Houtua (the human survivors who remained on Earth) are the only ones who have no agenda. The battle between Mothra and Big G was not as memorable and the outcome saw the egg survive and symbolize a new beginning. Haruo is still very conflicted and the story shows how he can never learn how to forgive. In the meantime, the planet’s natural order of things is in complete disarray. If its to equalize, somebody has to step forward and this movie indicates this race is the only species who have any idea to bring peace.
Many ideas are dumped into the latter half of the story, and it was too much. Sometimes, fans want a simple monster mashup in the classic style of the Shōwa era. Even as I tried to make sense of it on a second watch, all I picked up was how mysticism was important and it was not played up to awaken Mothra or used to defeat Gojira. Screenwriter Gen Urobuchi’s stylistic touch–his love for nihilism–is certainly here. However, any movie featuring this mighty beast should represent something more, beyond how screwed humanity’s future is.
2½ Stars out of 5