CD: Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters - Original Soundtrack

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Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters - Original Soundtrack


Japanese CD Title

GODZILLA ĉ€Şç£ĉƒ‘ĉ˜Ÿ Original Soundtrack
[GODZILLA: Kaiju Wakusei Original Soundtrack]

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Takayuki Hattori
Toho Animation Records
November 2017
75:18
THCA-60173

Based On:

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters

CD

Review

By: Anthony Romero

Released by Toho Animation Records, perhaps a remanent of the now largely inactive Toho Music department, this CD includes the score for the first in the Godzilla anime trilogy. Composed by Takayuki Hattori, who is shaping up to be a veteran on the series with past work on the 1994 and 1999 entries respectively, this soundtrack encompasses the post apocalyptic tale from directors Hiroyuki Seshita and Kobun Shizuno. Unfortunately, this score continues the composer's trend toward more minimal orchestration. Nothing here sounds even half as majestic or "full" as the composer's sweeping "Birth Island" from Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) or some of his other work of that decade. If people are familiar with his more recent scores for movies like Space Brothers (2012), they'll get an idea of what to expect here. All in all, this amounts to a middling score, one that isn't bad and has some highlights, but isn't particularly memorable.

Son of composer Katsuhisa Hattori, who has done some great work on movies like The Imperial Navy (1981), the younger Hattori at one time crafted more traditional soundtracks like his father. As he matured, though, he started to find his own style. To Hattori's credit, it is a distinct style. Trained listeners can spot his work. However, as noted, it's a more minimal approach, one that feels like it's either embracing a small orchestra or using a larger orchestra in a way that makes it sound smaller. As for examples of this minimal orchestration, a perfect one is the march-like "Subspace Navigation" motif, something that is reused in "Speech" and "Leland's Suicide Attack". It's actually rousing at points, but could have easily felt so much grander had the orchestra been used to full effect. As is, it feels more like an OVA (direct to home video) piece. Another example of this minimal style is "Yuko's Thoughts". This is a piano led piece, but is dragged out a bit and with no real orchestration to back it up or add weight to it. Even the chorus work, heard in tracks like "Earth" and "Earth's Civilization", is pretty meek, although chorus work was never Hattori's strong suit.

In terms of true highlights on this disc, there aren't a ton, although the composer does show some range here. For example, "Relief" is a nice, soothing piece that has some good violin work and bucks the trend of the rest of the score by sounding more "full" than the minimal orchestration often shown here. In contrast, "All-Out War" does a good job of capturing both a sense of franticness and scale that a battle with Godzilla should. Also, kudos is in order for the largely chorus based "Godzilla" track. The theme does a great job of crafting a piece that sounds both ominous and powerful, befitting the title character. However, at seven minutes, it's a long track and doesn't hold up quite as well as a stand alone experience, especially when the chorus work gets a little hammy around the 3 minute mark.

Now one odd thing about all three tracks I just mentioned is that they are literally the final three cues on this CD. In truth, the soundtrack struggles to grab the listener's interest for much of its runtime, but finishes strong. Even this later part of the score has some hurdles, though, such as the hyper repetitive, slightly experimental "Induction" and "In Order to Win". Still, despite some inconsistencies, it's a shame that the rest of the soundtrack wasn't as strong as the last 12 or so cues.

Overall, this is not a bad soundtrack. It's got some nice moments, but it is forgettable. It probably ranks right behind his work on Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999). Speaking of, the score does have a motif that harks back to that earlier movie. Heard in themes like "Godzilla Annihilation Strategy" and "Strategy Briefing", these cue sounds remarkably similar at points to Hattori's "Before the Explosion" from Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)... something that might have seemed endearing or nostalgic had the original track been more memorable.


Rating: Star Rating

Tracks

  1. Monster Planet
  2. The Beginning
  3. Haruo's Memory
  4. Metphies
  5. The Central Committee Wavers
  6. Research Study File
  7. Analysis Result
  8. Subspace Navigation
  9. Earth
  10. A Sign
  11. Central Committee's Decision
  12. Godzilla Annihilation Strategy
  13. Speech
  14. Rushing
  15. Strategy Execution
  16. 20,000 Years Later
  17. Yuko's Thoughts
  18. Earth's Civilization
  19. Raid
  20. Withdrawal Mobilization
  21. Exif Legends
  22. Evacuation
  23. Leland's Suicide Attack
  24. Commander
  25. Strategy Briefing
  26. Induction
  27. In Order to Win
  28. Landing Ship Takeoff
  29. Thermobaric Bomb
  30. Yuko's Struggle
  31. Great Barrier Rush
  32. All-Out War
  33. Relief
  34. Godzilla