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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Countdown To Godzilla 2014: Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., released in Japan as Godzilla × Mothra × Mechagodzilla: Tokyo SOS (ゴジラ×モスラ×メカゴジラ SOS Gojira tai Mosura tai Mekagojira Tōkyō Esu Ō Esu), is a 2003 science fiction kaiju film directed by Masaaki Tezuka. It was the twenty-seventh film to be released in the Godzilla series. It is the twelfth film to feature Mothra, the second film to feature Kamoebas, and the fifth and latest film to feature Mechagodzilla. Unlike the Millennium Series and like Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, the film takes place in continuity with other Toho films, notably Godzilla, Mothra, War of the Gargantuas, Space Amoeba and its predecessor, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.

Kiryu is undergoing repair modifications after its battle with Godzilla. Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi accepts Lead Scientist Yoshito Chujo's choice to replace the Absolute Zero Cannon with a powerful Tri-Maser.

The Shobijin (Mothra's twin fairies) warn the Japanese government that Godzilla continues returning to Japan because they used the original Godzilla's bones in Kiryu's design. If they return the bones to the bottom of the sea, Mothra would gladly take Kiryu's place in defending Japan, but if they do not, Mothra will declare war on humanity. Soon enough, Kamoebas, a giant mata mata turtle, is found washed ashore on a Japanese beach. It is determined by the wounds on Kamoebas' neck that Godzilla killed it. Godzilla and Mothra fight, but Godzilla seems to have the upper hand. With the repairs finished just in time, Kiryu manages to even the odds, but Godzilla manages to knock out both monsters.

Meanwhile, on Infant Island, two twin Mothra larvae hatch from Mothra's egg, and rush to help their mother. As Kiryu was being repaired, the larvae try to hold Godzilla off, but Mothra is killed by Godzilla's atomic breath while trying to save her children. Just in time, Yoshito and the humans repair Kiryu, who stabs Godzilla's chest with a drill, causing Godzilla to bleed. Godzilla roars in pain, and the larvae begin to bind him up in web. Just as Kiryu's pilot, Azusa Kisaragi, receives the order by Igarashi to destroy Godzilla before the Kiryu project is scrapped, Kiryu's soul is re-awakened through Godzilla's roar. The cyborg lifts Godzilla and secures themselves with cables. Kiryu then uses its boosters to carry itself and Godzilla to the bottom of the ocean.

In the film's post-credits scene, in an undisclosed location, a laboratory is shown, filled with canisters that contain the DNA of numerous Toho kaiju. It is stated in the Japanese version via on off-screen voice giving announcements that a "bio-formation" experiment involving an "extinct subject" is about to take place, implying that the JXSDF plans to create another mecha or kaiju-based superweapon, which could mean that Godzilla or another monster could appear once again.

Noboru Kaneko as Yoshito Chujo
Miho Yoshioka as JXSDF Lt. Azusa Kisaragi
Mitsuki Koga as Kiryu Operator Kyosuke Akiba
Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Otsuka as the Shobijin
Hiroshi Koizumi as Dr. Shinichi Chujo
Yumiko Shaku as JXSDF First Lt. Akane Yashiro
Koh Takasugi as JXSDF Colonel Togashi
Kenta Suga as Shun Chujo
Akira Nakao as Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi
Koichi Ueda as General Dobashi
Naomasa Rokudaira as Goro Kanno
Tsutomu Kitagawa as Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, the primary antagonist
Mothra, a giant, divine moth-like deity who will fight Godzilla, but will wage war on Japan if Godzilla's bones aren't returned to the sea.
Motokuni Nakagawa as Mechagodzilla, the primary protagonist.
Kamoebas, a giant turtle who was in an unseen fight with Godzilla and washed up on the shore to Tokyo dead.

Box Office
Godzilla: Tokyo SOS opened on December 14, 2003 on a double bill with the animated feature Hamtaro: Ham Ham Grand Prix. In its opening weekend, it was third place at the box office with $1,686,009 (U.S).

Critical Reaction
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. has received generally positive reviews from journalistic reviewers upon its release on DVD. John Sinnott of DVD Talk gave Tokyo SOS four stars out of five, saying:
There are some problems with this movie, but when all is said and done, I really enjoyed it. .. While this movie seems to be aimed at a younger audience without a lot of plot or characterization, it was still a lot of fun. The fight scenes were exciting and though they took up most of the movie, they never dragged on or got boring.
Giving the film a score of three out of five, Stomp Tokyo said "the plot is fairly simplistic and the character relationships are painted in broad strokes," but added that the movie "[features] the best monster action Toho has produced." Joseph Savitski of Beyond Hollywood criticized the film's "uninspired script," which he wrote had "ideas [that] are never fully developed," but added that the film is "well-made" and "makes for an entertaining 91 minutes." Mark Zimmer of Digitally Obsessed gave Tokyo S.O.S. a "B" score, calling it "a fun enough action film with enough explosions and destruction of Tokyo to satisfy die-hards and casual fans alike."

Home Media Releases (US)
Columbia/Tristar Home Entertainment - 50th Anniversary
Released: December 14, 2004
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) [NTSC]
Sound: Japanese and English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English
Making Of - Featurette [Special Effects] (21:47)
Japanese Teaser Trailer
Preview Trailers: Steamboy, Kaena: The Prophecy and Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
Case type: Keep Case
Notes: Also available in a 3-Disc "50th Anniversary Godzilla DVD Collection" box set; along with Son Of Godzilla [1967] and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla [1974].

Blu-Ray will be coming out May 6, 2014 as a double feature with Godzilla: Final Wars.

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