Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)
Directed by Kôbun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita
How dare they even call this a Godzilla movie? “Godzilla: The Planet Eater” doesn’t feature a single attack by humans against Godzilla, and it only includes one fight between Godzilla and another monster…during which Godzilla barely moves. The largest chunk of time is devoted to an alien race who worships Ghidorah and tries to convert other races—both aboard the spaceship and down on Earth—to join their suicide cult and praise Ghidorah in his fight to kill Godzilla (and then take over the world).
The movie gets weirdly into its religious plot. Uncomfortably so. It’s one thing to have a race of aliens trying to con humans into something bad. That’s a standard sci-fi plot. But when that focus pulls away from the thousand-foot monster you want to kill (after all, that was supposed to be the story of this trilogy), it’s unforgivable. It makes the wacky plots of the 1960s Godzilla movies look reasonable. The human conflict overtakes the monster conflict, and that’s a shame. They might have pulled it off had the writing not been the worst I’ve seen in the franchise. Every line is either something about miracles, gods, and believing or physics, singularities, and other science jargon.
More complaints (because I don’t have anything nice to say about this most recent Toho Godzilla movie, unfortunately): Mothra is teased, but never fully revealed. Why not? Its egg was mentioned in the second movie, and then its shadow is glimpsed in the third movie. But it never makes a real appearance. Why hint at something and then cop out? Why not actually use the monsters in this Godzilla anime trilogy? Who would have objected to the movies actually being about the monsters?
On the list I’ve been compiling, “Godzilla: The Planet Eater” overtook “Son of Godzilla” (who held the title for 50 years and 24 movies) as the worst Godzilla movie from Toho. Heck, it’s worse than all three of the Hollywood Godzilla movies, too. It’s just not a proper Godzilla movie, and to bill itself as such is an insult to the grand tradition of Godzilla movies that came before it. Here’s to hoping that whenever Toho gets back into the Godzilla game (because we know they can’t stay out of it for long), it’s with a movie that makes the comeback worthwhile.