Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (Japan 2003)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/16/05
Cast: Noboru Kaneko, Miho Yoshioka, cameo by Yumiko Shaku

I admit it. I'd pretty much given up on Godzilla movies since "Godzilla 2000" (1999), and the only reason I watched this movie was because it stars Japanese supermodel Miho Yoshioka. Even though she's billed second in the cast, she has little more than an extended cameo and all she does is stand around and look cute. That's probably for the best because even though she's incredibly hot, she's not the greatest actress. This time around, Godzilla, Mothra, and Mechagodzilla mix it up and destroy lots of buildings. Ho hum. Mothra's fairies warn the humans that if they don't return Mechagodzilla to the sea, Mothra will declare war on mankind. Naturally the foolish humans don't listen to them and Godzilla is lured back to Japan by Mechagodzilla's presence. Mecha G is more than just a machine - it was built with the bones of a previous Godzilla, and appears to have a mind of its own. Mecha G finally makes the ultimate sacrifice and drags a fatally wounded Godzilla back to the ocean depths, leaving the Japanese government to ponder all of its past mistakes. After this somber lesson in humility, they decide to move ahead with a project to clone one of the previous Godzillas for god knows what reasons (other than the inevitable sequel).

How many times are we going to see the same Godzilla story over and over? Something pisses off the big G and he stomps into some town in Japan that he hasn't destroyed yet. The ineffective military attempts to stop him and gets completely wiped out. Why do soldiers even bother carrying guns when nuclear missiles don't even faze the big guy? Japan has been unsuccessfully fighting Godzilla for fifty years now with the same weapons and techniques - wouldn't they have learned something by now? Even the absurd Mechagodzilla is no match for the real thing, and it gets trashed. Then Mothra shows up, beats its wings a lot and dies, only to be replaced by a new Mothra grub that spits silk all over Godzilla. Good grief, we've seen this in EVERY Mothra movie ever made. Can't we try something new? Even the same choreography and camera shots are used. There's pretty much nothing original in this Godzilla outing at all. The franchise continues to meld live action and CGI elements together with mixed results, but nothing is nearly as magnificent as the recent Gamera films. Speaking of Gamera, this film looks like it might be taking a jab at the flying turtle, as a mortally wounded giant sea turtle shows up on the beach one day to herald Godzilla's return. Thematically, the film maintains the same juvenile sensibilities and overwrought sentimentality that's plagued the entire new canon of films, and just comes across as tacky. These films are definitely aimed for the pre-teen audience. About the only thing that really stands out in the film is the emotionally rich music score.