The ZONE genre worldwide books movies
the science fiction
fantasy horror &
mystery website
 
 
home  articles  profiles  interviews  essays  books  movies  competitions  guidelines  issues  links  archives  contributors  email

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
Director: Masaaki Tezuka

review by Octavio Ramos Jr

The millennium series of Godzilla films has divided many fans of the big G. The most trying thing about these movies is accepting the new mythology, which seems to change from film to film. King Ghidorah is now a guardian dragon - not Monster Zero (a creature from outer space) - and Mechagodzilla is no longer a space robot, but rather one created by humanity to battle Godzilla, who is now the antithesis of everything crafted during the Heisei series of films.

As with previous entries in the millennium series, the writers and directors seem to be taking cues from the revitalised Gamera trilogy. In particular, there's a lot of spirituality in the storytelling, from the fact that Mechagodzilla was created around the original Godzilla's bones and that Godzilla's purpose while trampling through Japan is to retrieve those bones to Mothra's conflicting goals of:
(1) protecting humanity from Godzilla and
(2) making sure that no soul lives past its appointed time.
The movie even takes a pot shot at Gamera: at one point during the film, a giant turtle washes ashore. Referred to as Kamoebas, the turtle has a wound on its neck, apparently inflected by Godzilla.
Godzilla
Godzilla's atomic breath: the American version of Godzilla had smog breath, but here's the real deal.

On the plus side, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. features plenty of monster combat, for a change minimising character inner struggle (it's still there, unfortunately). Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and Mothra - as well as two new Mothra larvae - get lots of screen time, as Japan is once again obliterated. Fans of atomic breath, light cannons, and organic scales and cocoon webbing are in for a treat. The plot is pretty straightforward, but the American dubbing misses many of the nuances of the Japanese version. Fortunately, the subtitled version restores some of the more mystic elements of the story.

One of the movie's nice touches is the return of Hiroshi Koizumi, who reprises the role he preformed 40 years ago in the original Mothra (1961). Koizumi and his grandson call upon Mothra and interact with the latest incarnation of the Elias, the fairies from Infant Island. And yes, the Elias take the opportunity to sing the 'Mothra' song to help hatch an egg containing twin larvae.
Mechagodzilla
Mechagodzilla: not to be outdone, Mechagodzilla shows that 'cool' stuff can come out of its mouth, too.

As for the special effects, Toho continues to explore CGI, although the monster suits and miniatures remain dominant features. The CGI touches are effective, as when Godzilla opens an eye or swims underwater. Mothra has the most to gain, particularly when her wings are animated or when she gives off a plethora of golden scales while battling Godzilla.

Film watchers who do not stick through the credits are likely to miss an important coda at the end of Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. The theme of the film is that no soul should live longer that nature intended, at the end of the movie, Godzilla and Mechagodzilla fall into the ocean, where both apparently die. As the credits role, Godzilla lets out one of its signature growls, implying that perhaps he is not dead after all. The coda shows a scientist or technician checking on a recently drawn batch of Godzilla DNA. As to its purpose, only the next film will tell, but it seems humanity once again fails to learn the lessons taught to it by nature.
Mothra Mothra: a new and improved Mothra sports much better wings.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. comes several previews of other films, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette produced by Toho. As fans of Godzilla know, Toho rarely includes supplements on its American releases (unlike the Japanese editions, which can be quite lavish), so even this extra is impressive by Godzilla DVD standards.

Next up in the series: Godzilla Final Wars, which will feature Mothra, Monster X (King Ghidorah, I assume), Hedorah (the Smog Monster), Rodan, Anguirus (once Godzilla's best friend), Gigan, Manda, and King Seasar (another big G ally). Looks like the reputation of Destroy All Monsters is about to topple. I can't wait!
Godzilla: Tokyo SOS

Please support this
website - buy stuff
using these links:
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Send it
W.H. Smith

home  articles  profiles  interviews  essays  books  movies  competitions  guidelines  issues  links  archives  contributors  email
copyright © 2001 - 2005 Pigasus Press