Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Godzilla Entry #27: GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.

GODZILLA S.O.S. (Gojira tai Mosura tai Mekagojira: Tôkyô S.O.S., 2003)
Directed by: Masaaki Tezuka
Written by: Masaaki Tezuka, Masahiro Tokotani,
Starring: Noboru Kaneko, Miho Yoshioka, Mituki Koga, Hiroshi Koizumi, Tsutomu Kitagawa, Motokuni Nakagawa. 
Synopsis: Picking up after the events of GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA, Mothra comes to Japan to warn its people that they must return the bones of the original Godzilla used to build MechaGodzilla/Kiryu to bottom of the sea or else she will attack 

We're at the penultimate of the official Godzilla movies, and this is the only movie in the Millennium series that is considered a sequel. In TOKYO S.O.S., we are still living in the world where MechaGodzilla was created and defeated Godzilla in the previous film. And because it takes place right after GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA, it also in turn is in continuity with GODZILLA, MOTHRA, WAR OF THE GARGANTUANS, and SPACE AMOEBAS according to Wikipedia. Interestingly enough, a character from the original MOTHRA movie, Dr. Chujo, is actually a main character in this movie in an unprecedented (for this series, at least) effort of tying continuities together.

After a rather long absence, the Shobijin Twins, or at least the newer and sexier generation of them, show up in Japan to warn the governments against using the bones of the original Godzilla as the basis for Kiryu (aka MechaG). If you recall, Godzilla was perceived as being the culmination of the souls of the dead soldiers and people affected by the Japanese soldiers. The fact that the government disturbed death upset Mothra, who, in this incarnation, is seen as a protector of spirits. The Twins go on to say that Mothra will protect Japan from Godzilla and any impending threats as long as the bones are returned to the sea where they should be resting.

This is a nice expansion on the Kiryu's malfunction from last movie. During the initial run, Kiryu, upon hearing Godzilla's roar, went berserk and stopped responding to commands by the pilots. This is still a big concern for the government and some of the pilots. At the beginning of the movie, Kiryu is undergoing maintenance after the last battle and is now being outfitted with a Triple Hyper Maser after the old Absolute Zero Cannon was destroyed. The main human story deals with Yoshito Chujo, who is one of the mechanics working on Kiryu, is Dr. Chujo's nephew, and is very confident of the big robot's abilities to protect Japan and is hateful towards the notion that Mothra could protect them.

Godzilla is once again painted as a villain and really is relegated to the background of the story with the Mothra/Kiryu story lines being the far more interesting ones. The movie's themes are actually deeper this time around than the most recent movies. With the conflict of Kiryu and Godzilla, it's a nice parallel between the nuclear bomb and the hydrogen bomb, and the theme of the inherent problem with an arms escalation race. No matter who holds the bigger stick, we all end up losing.

A big problem with the movie is the culmination of Mothra's role where she is one of the few female kaijus, and yet her role as maternal "protector" has always been to be sacrificed for the sake of the other kaijus. In this instance, she sacrifices herself in order to protect her two larvae who came and fought Godzilla along Kiryu. It's just interesting that no other kaiju is a female, and no one else is ever going around sacrificing themselves in each new story.

This is actually a pretty good sequel that is a nice throwback to some of the older movies with its attention to continuity as well as the deeper themes than has been exhibited in Millennium. It's definitely not a great movie, but in terms of what we've been given lately, it's definitely a step up in quality.


No comments:

Post a Comment