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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S. (2003)

My son and I are coming into the home stretch on the BIG LIST of movies to watch before Godzilla opens.

Today's film is Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003).

My son goes first:
Well, this one is like Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla, but with Mothra and Kiryu takes Godzilla with him (at the end of the movie) to the bottom of Tokyo Trench, where he started ... I like this because it's like the last movie, but with more twists and connections to the first Mothra.   
So, rating wise, i'll say 3.7 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness!!!
My turn:
A direct continuation of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, this movie succeeds because it continues a different movie, too. 
Yes, MechaG and Big G tear it up some more, but the new addition here is Mothra.  Along with Mothra, we also get Dr. Chujo (Kiroshi Koizumi), who appeared in the big bug's first film appearance back in 1961. 
We get the Fairies/Cosmos/Elias/Shobijin girls, too.  Something about them seems a bit off to me ... maybe it's their Casual Friday island wear this time.  They don't feel right. 
The plot is basically the same as the last movie: use this machine built upon OG Godzilla's bones to kill that other Godzilla.  But Mothra inserts itself into the situation by saying if humanity doesn't return Godzilla's bones to the ocean floor, Mothra will declare war on mankind. 
Wha?  Seems extreme and out of left field.  Plus, the Fairies' admonition that man shouldn't "touch the souls of the dead" is just strange.  Yes, the franchise will occasionally take a turn toward the fantastic, but c'mon.  Mothra's spokeweasels keep saying this over and over again in the film and no context is given ... until the very end when Dr. Chujo says, basically, mankind shouldn't mess with the natural order of life.  That makes a bit more sense than "don't touch the souls of the dead," don't you think?  Still, it's a very far-fetched reason for Mothra to declare war on humanity in my mind.  I guess they had to give the humans some reason to want to get rid of MechaG. 
Whatever.  The action is good.  Kiryu is mostly repaired and manages to seriously rough up Godzilla but good: 
Godzilla's wound from the absolute zero weapon in the previous film hasn't completely healed.  MechaG goes after it with those hyper masers and a hand drill, too, that cuts deep. 
In the end, Kiryu's brain switches over to old Godzilla again, but instead of tearing up the city, it grabs a Silly String-covered Godzilla (thanks to Mothra larvae) and flies them out to sea. 
I found the Kiryu reawakening to be overly coincidental, to say the least.  Plus, the Godzilla spirit in the mecha is apparently sentient and friendly, saying goodbye to the mechanic before he bails out.  That was a bit much. 
Akane (the heroine from the previous film) is in this one for a hot second and then she's gone.  That was a big mistake in my mind because I don't really care for Dr. Chujo's mechanic nephew all that much.  Or pretty much any of the other new characters they crammed in here.  It would have worked better if Akane was still the pilot and she had some sort of semi-adversarial and platonic relationship with the mechanic.  At least we would have a pre-existing connection to Akane.  But ... they didn't do that. 
A few beats from earlier Mothra films feel copied, especially the double-stuft egg routine.  Also, the landing of Mothra at the school was similar to the airport scene in the original film ... but seeing the symbol arrayed via schooldesks was a nice sight. 
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. ... I'd like to know what they were planning with that DNA freezer post-credits scene.  3.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Here are a few Japanese commercials for the movie:

Next, Godzilla: Final Wars.

(GIFs from tokumonster, gameraboy and sweetdreaminglullabies)

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