Review: Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo SOS
A year after the events of the previous film, and Mechagodzilla is now fully restored and operational. Which is just as well, because both Godzilla and Mothra have made their presence known. At the same time, Professor Chujo (Hiroshi Koizumi), a witness to Mothra’s first appearance in Japan 40 years ago, is paid a visit by the giant moth/larvae’s twin fairies. They warn him and all humanity that the bones used in the formation of Mechagodzilla must be returned to their rightful resting place, or else risk an all-out monster attack. Wait…didn’t we just go through that? Yes, yes we did. But it’s different this time, apparently. Needless to say, the Professor’s pleas get ignored and all monster hell breaks loose. Yumiko Shaku returns very briefly as pilot Akane Yashiro, one of the heroes of the previous film.
A slight step back for the ‘Millennium Series’ and director Masaaki Tezuka with this overpopulated yet underdone 2003 entry. It’s a better entry than “Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”, but not by enough to really count. Oddly enough, here’s a Godzilla movie that could’ve stood to have been longer so as to flesh out everything and make us care about the characters in between the monster action. That said, one of the problems is that there’s too many characters to deal with in less than 90 minutes. It’s a shame, because there was potential with series returnee Hiroshi Koizumi’s character (a reprisal of his role in “Mothra” and “Godzilla vs. Mothra”, two of the best-ever Toho kaiju films in my opinion), but he ends up waiting in the wings for far too long hanging out with a kid. It’s also a shame that the film gives us more “Top Gun”-esque antics (as in the previous film), because that stuff is probably better-written here than in the previous “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla” (a much better film overall), which it is a direct sequel to. However, since it’s really a re-tread of material from that film, it proves rather dull. Hell, that’s not the only instance of repeating material, as once again we’re talking about how digging up Godzilla’s bones in the previous film was a bad idea. Yeah, we covered that last time, but now Mothra’s apparently pissy about it, too. Being a direct sequel is one thing, but this film ends up playing too much like “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 1.5”, not really advancing the story far enough. It feels like the continuation of the end of the previous film rather than the beginning of a new film that takes the characters of the previous film into a new story.
The film starts well, showing that Toho have entered the modern age by giving us jet fighter scenes early on that aren’t just miniatures. 3 minutes in and Mothra turns up to be a total dick and take a swipe at the jets. That’s not nice, though Mechagodzilla later attempts to take a human pilot on a suicide mission against his will, so there’s that too. Meanwhile, even in its dormant state Mechagodzilla is awesome to behold, shot at great camera angles from below (He looks majestic throughout). Godzilla is rather well-shot too, by cinematographer Yoshinori Sekiguchi (who shot several of the ‘Heisei series’ of “Godzilla” films), particularly when seen from above. Mothra is lensed pretty decently as well, with ever-so slightly better projection work than usual. Godzilla at times seems a little unsure how to attack Mothra, which is rather weird. However, there’s some nice limb crunching, to which all Mothra can really answer with is pixie dust or some shit. Not that the humans here are especially intelligent either, eventually doing the very thing the Mothra twins warn them to jolly well not do. Yes, once again we’ve got a replay of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” with aliens warning humans about their destructive ways, and going nuclear on us when we ignore their pleas. Here the humans are like the dickhead mayor from “Jaws” refusing to close the place down. Also, I have to call out one dumbfuck for assuming that because Godzilla has a ‘tummy ache’ that he’ll be easy to deal with. It’s still a giant, radioactive, fire-breathing lizard you twits. Then again, we get multiple Mothras in this one, which is cool. The weirdest monster moment in the film is when Godzilla and Mechagodzilla have a cuddle. It’s adorable. Then Mechagodzilla throws Godzilla into a building. That escalated rather quickly. While I’ve called out the humans and monsters for idiotic behaviour I also have to chastise the Mothra twins for ultimately wimping out on their threat, which isn’t really taken anywhere and they end up helping the Mechagodzilla crew. So that’s a shame.
A pissed off radioactive giant lizard, a dickish giant robot, a judge-y giant moth, and bone-headed humans combine for a pretty uneven film. There’s too many moving parts for such a short film, and a lot of the story and character elements feel like leftovers from the previous film. With a fairly average script by the director and Masahito Yokotani (“Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”), this one’s just OK. It’s a bit better than the series capper though, “Godzilla: Final Wars”.