Well look at this. It’s the only actual sequel of the Millennium Era. Godzilla: Tokyo SOS follows on a year after the events of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. Kiryu is damaged and undergoing repairs, but there’s a ticking clock running in the form of the threat of an eventual return of Godzilla. Exciting stuff. Click the link below and I’ll tell you words about this here film.
Other than Kiryu being repaired, Tokyo SOS takes the opportunity to add the original Mothra film and even Toho’s Space Amoeba into this film’s canon. The Mothra fairies have visited Shinichi Chujo (Hiroshi Koizumi) and his nephew Yoshito (Noboru Kaneko) to warn them that the use of the original Godzilla’s bones in Kiryu is what angered Godzilla in the first place and that Mothra isn’t impressed either. They haven’t warned these two people randomly, I should add. Shinichi was a main character in the original Mothra film (The same actor played Professor Miura in Mothra Vs Godzilla too) and Yoshito is an engineer on Kiryu who has worked on the robot from the beginning. He just wasn’t in the last film. Shinichi warns the Prime Minister (Akira Nakao), I guess he has a direct pass to his office or something, and the warning is promptly dismissed due to fears that they need Kiryu too much to scrap the project. That’s the entire plot. The film is 90 minutes long and 45 minutes of it is a monster battle.
Yes the film’s pacing really is that skewed. It all trundles along well enough but by the time the main monster battle starts that it pretty much it for character development. Yoshito ends up getting inside Kiryu to repair it and he has a moment of clarity while there. We get to see that he’s much more brave than people expect a lowly mechanic to be. Other than that it’s just monsters hitting each other. Thankfully this battle is split up into stages as there is a shift on what monsters at fighting when. Mothra Vs Godzilla first, Godzilla Vs Kiryu second, Two Mothra Larvae after that and then finally Kiryu is back in action. So whilst this is a very long fight sequence the make-up of the battle is always changing. It’s just a shame the human drama is kept at arms length until the last few parts.
As the film’s story is split so down the middle between the human elements and the monster action there is quite a diminished period for character development to actually happen. That said, unlike many Godzilla films, this time is well spent showing each character in different situations and indulging in showing us who they are. Yoshito actually ends up quite an interesting person who’s mind is so full of thoughts of technology that he struggles with any situation not involving anything mechanical. His display of determination and bravery at the end, due to him being exactly the right person the world needs at that time all ties his arc up neatly. However, this finale is practically the same as how Against Mechagodzilla ended. With Kiryu knocked down and out and needed to be fixed in some way.
That isn’t the only sense of deja vu either. The entire Mothra side of the plot is, near note for note, a copy of the plot from Mothra Vs Godzilla. The fairies show up to warn of danger, the world hopes Mothra can protect them from Godzilla, Mothra is killed and two larvae hatch from an egg, the larvae tie up Godzilla in their webbing. The film even takes the time to give us a musical number from the fairies as they sing to Mothra’s egg. I suppose this could all be seen as paying tribute to the classic, but coupled with the repetition of the Against Mechagodzilla finale it just ends up coming across as lazy.
Taken at face value, though, the plot threads entwine well enough. Maybe I’m picking up on it a little more as I’ve just worked my way through all these films. I imagine the sense of deja vu will be greatly diminished for anyone coming to this film some time apart from the two mentioned. The effects have been very well handled, with a slight improvement over the previous film being noticeable. The score feels like an action adventure style Godzilla score, although there isn’t much menace in Godilla’s theme. It’s a bit too romantic in it’s dramatic tone to be threatening.
Generally Tokyo SOS is a fun and somewhat passable adventure plagued by a skewed plot progression. If you’re here just for the monsters though you’ll likely eat up the last 45 minutes. The first half is decent viewing, and so is the last half, but together they don’t gel perfectly. You’ll feel the sudden shift in focus. There’s exciting moments to be had but they’re so packed into the last 20 minutes that you’ll wonder if the previous hour could have been improved with a little more of that energy. Maybe I’m being too hard on this because of how good GMK was. Well, tomorrow’s film is the last of the Toho Godzillas and it can categorically not be described as a good film in what we would call the traditional sense… but it may be gloriously, stupidly, amazingly awesome. Godzilla Final Wars review to be posted tomorrow.