Yet another Godzilla movie in this Halloween marathon and like much of the Millenium series by Toho, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. doesn’t dither away. Within the span of two minutes, Mechagodzilla is undergoing a restoration and Godzilla himself is awoken from his abyssal slumber to clobber his opponents again.
Despite the reputation that American studio’s VFX are dazzling, the opening sequence with Mothra is a whizz-bang humdinger with Earth’s insectoid protector gliding through the billowy clouds as two fighter jets are outflanked by her while her twin fairies telepathically serenade her arrival. It’s a dynamite scene that doesn’t overextend itself on pyrotechnics and it serves as a scrumptious appetizer for the kaiju action.
The refrain and MacGuffin of the film is that “Godzilla’s bones must be returned to the sea”. The logistical reason behind their submersion is vague other than mankind’s infernal interference with mother nature and ecological weaponization but the film cleverly links back the continuity to Mothra’s primordial battle with Godzilla 43 years prior and the language expert, Mr. Chujo, who was reconnoitering the island upon her breakthrough discovery.
Although some of the composite shots of scientists on the engineering catwalk and the riptide swimming of Godzilla are pretty lackluster, most of the special effects are photorealistic. Luckily for us, most of Godzilla and Mothra’s metropolitan showdown is a coruscant combination of suitimation and tinkered digital enhancements such as when Godzilla squints and grimaces at his winged foe.
For unadulterated escapism, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. is a rip-snorting extravaganza of jaegar-versus -leviathan smackdowns sans the fringes of a polyanna romance or political discourse. In fact, much of the groundwork of a greenhorn female pilot succoring behind the Mechagodzilla and the full-scale warriors were probably the basis for Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Proving once again that muses can be unsheathed in the most arcane of scenarios.