A Disappointing End To A Wasted Trilogy
Godzilla is one of those enigmas that never fails to draw a crowd. After countless sequels, reboots and media appearances, Netflix’s anime trilogy featuring this iconic behemoth has been one of the biggest missed opportunities in recent memory. Despite some decent art work and an impressive voice cast, both films prior to this have failed to really capture the excitement and awe needed to really bring the best out of a Godzilla story. After building up to a climactic fight over the past two films, The Planet Eater squanders its potential with a disappointing and largely lacklustre finale.
The story picks up right where the last film left off, with the humans, aliens and Godzilla itself all reaching the climactic peak of this trilogy, prepping for the final fight. Most of the conflict this time around comes from Haruo and Metphies as they discuss their future while a large scale fight rages between Godzilla and King Ghidorah, a reality-bending monster. All of this drama then culminates in a final fight for humanity’s future followed by a somewhat anticlimactic finish as Godzilla is left standing and Haruo’s journey brought to an end.
Instead of devolving into a more action-packed finale one may expect here, the film instead sticks to the same rigid format we’ve seen in the past two films while injecting thought provoking questions into the plot around life and death, religion and alternate realities. While the story itself is interesting, especially with the way it explores these themes, the lack of resolution around Godzilla’s fate ultimately leaves a bad taste in the mouth. After 4 hours with these characters, it all feels very underwhelming and disappointing given the lack of closure we receive. This more thoughtful representation of Godzilla’s lore ultimately fails to capture the spirit of Godzilla, whereas perhaps a more action-orientated monster flick may have been a better option.
Having said all that, the film is still beautifully presented. The combination of CGI and hand-drawn animation is really impressive and if there’s one stand out part of this trilogy, it’s this. The characters are animated well and the lip syncing is excellent, really helping to emphasise the voice acting which is again, very good here.
Despite its flaws, fans of Godzilla are likely to see the 32nd appearance of this giant monster regardless of critic scores and reviews. It’s such a shame then that this trilogy bows out with a whimper rather than a roar, squandering any early promise with a formulaic, rigid story. Although the film does have a few good moments and the battle between Godzilla and Ghidorah certainly a highlight, it all feels disappointingly short. Most of Planet Eater revolves around the thought provoking themes running through the film and while this would be fine for a stand alone picture, as a hopeful finale to a trilogy, Planet Eater is a disappointing end to this anime.