Godzilla - Tokyo SOS, the latest entry in the Godzilla series has been released here in the states in record time. In addition to being director Masaki Tezuka's final Godzilla film, it is also directly related to the previous movie, 2002's Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. The movie is a little short on plot, but it boasts some very impressive and entertaining battles. Godzilla has never looked so good.
The film starts a year after Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. The mechanical monster, created from the bones of the original Godzilla that was destroyed in 1954, is still undergoing repairs from the beating it took in the previous movie. The Absolute Zero Cannon is off line for good, and the robot isn't fully repaired, when something disturbing occurs. Two fairies from Mothra's island appear in Tokyo at the home of Dr. Shinichi Chujo (Hiroshi Koizumi.) Dr. Chujo first encountered Mothra in 1961, and was instrumental in stopping that monster's attack on Tokyo. The fairies have a favor to ask: They want Godzilla's bones returned to the sea. If they do this, Mothra will agree to defend Japan from all monsters.
Sounds like a good idea, but no one will listen to Chujo. When Kamoebas (a monster that first appeared in 1970's Space Amoeba) washes up on the shore dead, everyone fears that Godzilla will attack again soon. And right they are.
The big G! comes stomping ashore and wreaking havoc like he always does. He's being drawn to the bones that form Mechagodzilla. Chujo and his grandson create Mothra's symbol on a school hard court summoning the giant moth to protect Japan. This starts one of the most epic kaiju battles from any movie. When Mothra gets beaten down, the Prime Minister sends in Mechagodzilla, and two newly hatched Mothra larvae enter the fray too. It's an all out monster romp through Tokyo.
There are some problems with this movie, but when all is said and done, I really enjoyed it. This movie has a great fight scene that lasts a good part of the movie, yet didn't get tedious. It was very fast paced, and it got to the action right off. The special effects were the best of any Godzilla movie. It looked just great.
Another thing that I liked about this movie was the fact that they tied it in to the previous film. There hasn't been much continuity in these films for the last few years, and it was nice to see them refer to the original Mothra movie, as well as Space Amoeba.
On the down side, there really isn't much of a plot, and almost no characterization. I never really cared what happened to any of the characters since they were all two dimensional cut outs. The action was average at best, and the dialog was pretty lousy too. When Kamoebas turns up dead, for example, this exchange takes place:
Officer: "It has deep cuts in its neck caused by giant claws. It was fatally wounded. It was attacked by some kind of giant predator I'd say."
Recruit: "Like another monster sir?"
No, like a giant predator that can inflict 20 foot gashes that isn't a monster!
Then again, the attraction of these movies isn't the deep plots, it's the monster fights.
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that they used Mothra once again in this movie. She's gotten a lot of exposure in the past, and it would have been neat to see another Godzilla monster or *gasp* create a new one.
This disc had both the original Japanese track and an English dub, both in 5.1. I watched part of the movie in each language, and though I preferred the Japanese, the English dub was very good. The actors that worked on the dub did a good job matching the mouth movements and were able to put some emotion into their performance. The Japanese track sounded more natural though. The quality was excellent and they made good use of the soundstage. The battle sounds came from all corners of the room, are really surrounded the viewer. A nice sounding disc.
The video quality for this movie was very good, but not exceptional. The colors in the wide screen anamorphic transfer were excellent, and the detail was superb, but there was a good amount of grain, especially at the opening. They also applied edge enhancement to the image. Most of the time it wasn't too annoying, but there were some scenes were it was obnoxious. If it wasn't for these two defects, this would have been an outstanding looking disc.
There is a nice making-of featurette included on this disc. This 21-minute bonus doesn't have interviews with the cast or even narration. It shows how they filmed some of the special effect shots and shows some nice close-ups of the models. They would show the cast filming a short sequence, and then play the completed scene from the film. It was interesting to see Mothra fly with the strings still visible and the way they shot Godzilla falling into buildings. Well worth watching.
There is also the Japanese teaser trailer.
While this movie seems to be aimed at a younger audience without a lot
of plot or characterization, it was still a lot of fun. The fight
scenes were exciting and though they took up most of the movie, they never
dragged on or got boring. I really enjoyed this, though people who
are looking for more than just a long cool fight might be disappointed.
Though I wish they would have laid off the EE a bit when it came to transferring
the movie to DVD, it still looks good. Highly Recommended.