The first Toho/Polygon/Netflix animated Godzilla jam, despite boasting legitimately arresting visuals, was something of an anticlimactic slog, promising far more than it ultimately delivered. Way more obsessed with the unending angst of it’s whiny human cast over the potentiality limitless things it could have done with an animated Kaiju cast, it ended with the landing party of a generation of humans banished to the stars by Godzilla, returning to earth and finally destroying the creature only for a second, far larger Godzilla to suddenly turn up and fuck up everything.
We rejoin the story with our young, noble lead awaking in the hut of a native tribe of humans who have survived on earth this whole time. The tribe, called the Houtua aren’t too happy about the damage the visitors caused to their lands during their battle with Godzilla but ultimately forgive them and give them shelter and it’s then it’s discovered that the Houtua’s weapons are forged of “nanometal”, a material used to make Mechagodzilla, a failed battle city that was created by aliens to thwart Godzilla. So the search is on as the long suffering landing party head to Mechagodzilla to use it to finally vanquish their 300 meter tall for, but is the nano metal truly the salvation the humans are looking for or will using it come with a horrible cost?
If G:COTEOF spent nearly enough time and effort on realizing it’s featured Kaiju as it does on retconing them, the movie would be in great shape but as it spends so much time bending over backwards to warp established Godzilla lore for it’s own ends, you can’t help but feel the filmmakers are being too smart for their own good. Why, for example, would you name something – ANYTHING- Mechagodzilla if you have no intention in actually having it be a giant robot Godzilla that fights it’s flesh and blood opposite number. Naming a city Mechagodzilla just for the sake of using an established name is just as frustrating as, say, the treatment of Deadpool on the first Wolverine movie, stop being so “smart” and “homaging” the character and just bloody do it. Similarly the Houtua are a repurposed version of the Mothra mythos and while it’s more successful and less irritating than what is done with Mechagodzilla, having a Mothra tribe without an actual Mothra seems merely like a box ticking exercise to name check the classics. If the climax to Ready Player One does your Godzilla villain better than your Godzilla movie, you’ve screwed up.
Now all this could just be chalked up to the disgruntled mumblings of a Godzilla fan uncomfortable with any change made to his beloved franchise (God knows it wouldn’t be the first time a fanboy recoiled at his own obsession) but none of the above problems would be so bad if the film wasn’t so fucking boring. Essentially a lush, expensive computer generated movie where most of the run time is dedicated to people generally milling around and discussing everything they’re planning to do in. Great. Detail. You frequently forget that you’re watching a Godzilla movie, not because it’s transcending the genre but because he’s barely fucking in it, finally making a legit appearance a stunning 33 minutes from the end.
Over indulgent, self important and, worse of all, boring as arseholes, G:COTEOB answers the unwanted question: what would a monster movie be like if you forgot to put monsters in it. Sodding pointless is the resounding answer.
This is yet another animated Godzilla that needs to dance to a different toon.