*. Unlike the other Godzilla movies of the Millennium series, Tokyo S.O.S. is a direct sequel to the previous film, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. It pretty much picks up where that one left off, with Mechagodzilla in shop getting repairs done so he’ll be able to fight Godzilla when he (inevitably) comes back.
*. Realizing that this isn’t a new plot in any way, things are complicated a bit with the return of the faeries (or Shobijin) from Infant Island. They’re upset that this version of Mechagodzilla was made out of the old Godzilla’s bones. The bones need to be returned to the ocean. If that’s done, then Mothra will fight to defend Japan from Godzilla.
*. This doesn’t make much sense, as Mothra comes to Japan to fight Godzilla anyway, even teaming up with Mechagodzilla. Furthermore, given how these things play out I think Mechagodzilla offers somewhat better odds at taking out Godzilla than Mothra, who only seems capable of dying a tragic death as she dissolves into golden pixie dust. For some reason Mothra’s larvae always seem to do a better job at handling the big guy. Luckily they come to help out too.
*. The reappearance of the faeries signals that Tokyo S.O.S. is a throwback to some of the more fanciful Godzilla movies of the Showa period. Mechagodzilla even gives Godzilla a giant judo flip in their big fight. And the end, which has the hero (a mechanic named Chujo) jumping out of Mechagodzilla while his friend ejects from a jet flying below him in order to catch him in his lap, is one of the silliest moments in the entire franchise.
*. The lightness, however, helps make up for the fact that this is very much more of the same. There’s even the exact same plot device of the hero having to enter into the downed Mechagodzilla at the end in order to bring it back to life for a final battle. The exact same thing was done in the previous movie, which is too soon for such repetition.
*. I guess I’d rate this slightly higher than Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. The fights are a bit more exciting, and there are a few nice touches, albeit very quick. The mines going off in Tokyo Bay, for example, marking Godzilla’s approach. Or the vapour trails that fill the sky when a host of rockets are launched. I really admired that shot, but then had to laugh when so many of the rockets, presumably “locked on target,” go splashing into the water without even hitting Godzilla. I mean, I know he’s indestructible, but you’d think he’d be hard to miss.
*. In any event, this was all marking time waiting for the next entry, which would be a 50th birthday party for our favourite giant lizard. With everyone invited!
It’s strange how variable the effects are in this films, and yet every so often, by luck or be design, there’s a great shot that makes you wonder how they did it.
They really do have these odd moments of poetry in the series. Not many, but they happen.