Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003, Tezuka Masaaki)

While it doesn’t make the film any better, one sort of has to have seen the original Mothra to truly appreciate Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.. Why? Because director Tezuka keeps that film’s weird Christian imagery. Pretty sure the living Barbie dolls who deliver messages for a giant moth isn’t Christian, but dang if it isn’t effective for them to proselytize while standing in front of a cross.

Sadly, Tezuka doesn’t have any fun with their scale. It’d have been awesome if the cross were made out of a couple straws in a takeout bag or something.

Even more sadly… there’s nothing awesome in Tokyo. In fact, it’s often boring. Four giant monsters, one giant robot, nothing interesting going on. Some of the effects composites are great, most are not. Tezuka makes it worth with some terrible composition for his human actors too. He has one unpredictable moment in the entire film and he degrades it with a cheap reaction shot.

He and cowriter Yokotani Masahiro set up some interesting character relationships–lead Kaneko Noboru has a female admirer, a rival in the hot shot Mechagodzilla pilot and then some extended family issues–and do nothing with them. Kaneko isn’t great, but he’s not bad. Yoshioka Miho’s actually quite good in her three scenes as his admirer. Tezuka simply doesn’t know how to make a good movie, not with action, not with narrative.

Another sore point is Ohshima Michiru’s lame score.

Tokyo isn’t particularly horrific or atrocious, but it’s insufferably lame.



Directed by Tezuka Masaaki; written by Tezuka and Yokotani Masahiro; director of photography, Sekiguchi Yoshinori; music by Ohshima Michiru; production designer, Miike Toshio; released by Toho Company, Ltd.

Starring Kaneko Noboru (Chûjô Yoshito), Yoshioka Miho (Pilot Kisaragi Azusa), Koga Mitsuki (Mechagodzilla Operator Akiba Kyôsuke), Koizumi Hiroshi (Chûjô Shin’ichi), Nakao Akira (Premier Igarashi), Ueda Kôichi (General Dobashi), Takasugi Kô (JSDF Lieutenant Togashi), Nagasawa Masami (Shobijin), Ôtsuka Chihiro (Shobijin), Nakahara Takeo (JSDF Chief Hitoyanagi), Tomoi Yûsuke (Lieutenant Hayama) and Shaku Yumiko (Yashiro Akane).


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