by David Cornelius
Either you’re going to want to see the new Godzilla movie or you’re not, and there’s not much a positive review on the subject can do to change that. There are some of you who, let’s face it, won’t want to sit through ninety minutes of rubber suit silliness, as hey, these movies just aren’t for you. Fine. But to those of you who grow a little grin when they hear one character exclaim, “Grandpa! Mothra’s come to save us!!” Well, to you, I say follow me.It’s you folks, the monster movie freaks, that will get a big ol’ kick out of “Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.” (The title has been shortened from the Japanese original “Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.,” and while the shorter title is less awkard, ya gotta love the original for holding nothing back when it comes to letting the audience know exactly what they’ll be getting.) Anyway, the film picks up a year after the previous entry, “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla,” and for those who missed that one, the new Mecha G was built using DNA from the original 1954 Godzilla, which means the computer in the bigass robot has its own spirit and will take over control of the robot from the pilots at the most unfortunate of times. Because that’s what giant monster DNA does to computers, of course.
"A good Godzilla movie? Believe it!"
For “S.O.S.,” there’s the added attraction of Mothra, who’s come to save Tokyo from Godzilla’s rampage, but only if the fairy twins (look, if you’ve read this far, you probably know who the fairy twins are) can convince one of Mecha G’s main technicians (Noboru Kaneko) to sit out the fight, lest more chaos be created. But the cocky ace pilot (Katsuya Onizuka) doesn’t want to stay away from a good fight, and besides, there’s something within Mecha G (maybe that DNA?) that’s luring Godzilla.
Silly? Sure. But it’s all the right kind of silly. The great thing about these new Godzilla movies is their surprising amount of quality. Since the franchise’s revamp a few years back, we’ve been getting consistent improvements on the special effects front (yes, it’s still rubber suit technology, but it’s ages ahead of what we used to get) as well as scripting; though nothing great, we’re actually getting a decent amount of story worthy enough to keep our interest between the monster showdowns.
(There’s even a bit of winking fun in the whole thing. At one point during the traditional mass evacuation of Tokyo, one character finds himself racing toward the beasts - to which a stranger shouts, “Hey, you’re running the wrong way!” Although one has to wonder why, after fifty years of mass evacuations, one wouldn’t decide it’s time to move to another city.)
The showdowns, of course, are the main event, and for monster movie buffs, they’re a real treat. The film’s second half is essentially one large battle, with each monster (as well as two Mothra larvae!) getting his/her chance to duke it out with the big guy. The action soars along at a brisk clip, and we even get a nifty bit of human-sized thrills thanks to the heroics of the aforementioned mechanic.If you’re still with me, you’ll be pleased to know that “S.O.S.” is the most thrilling G movie in a long, long time. This modern series is one that’s improving with each entry, and all of them are big ol’ heaps of rubber suit glee. Better still, “S.O.S.” leaves us itching for “Final Wars,” the upcoming sequel... and leaves us smiling that finally, Godzilla’s getting some movies worthy of his talents.
link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11337&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/14/04 11:21:42