Godzilla / Tokyo S.O.S. : 4 of 5
Unlike the other Godzilla movies in the Millennium series which all stand alone (and keep rebooting the timeline), this 2003 film is a direct sequel to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, finishing up the Kiryu (Mechagodzilla's name) saga. It also has direct ties to the original Mothra, since the main characters are Shinichi Chujo (played by the same actor from the 1961 film!) and his family. I'm so glad I had just watched Mothra, since these details would have meant nothing to me before! In this movie, Mechagodzilla is being repaired from the last film, but the Small Beauties from Infant Island (who look cuter than ever) show up to tell Chujo that Godzilla's bones (which make up Mechagodzilla's "skeleton") must be returned to the sea, or Godzilla will keep attacking! Of course, Mothra is there to help, and looks better than ever with lots of insect fur, tiny legs, and beautiful color. The CG work of Mothra's flight is fantastic, though I still prefer to see the real-life creature on wires. On the subject of special effects, there are some incredible compositing shots (such as soldiers standing in front of a giant iconic Maser cannon), and the kaiju battles are great (though it hurts to see Godzilla bite off one of Mothra's legs!). Not only do the fights feature Godzilla, Mechagodzilla and Mothra, but two newborn Mothra larva twins are born and swim to Japan to help out. I really enjoyed the characters this time around, especially because of the ties to Mothra, and I thought Shun (Mechagodzilla's mechanic who saves the day) was much more interesting than Akane in the last film. The DVD includes some cool behind-the-scenes material, showing how a particular shot was done followed by the finished scene in the film. Other reviewers may not agree, but Tokyo S.O.S. is definitely one of my favorite Millennium series films! Now I've actually watched all 28 Godzilla movies, but I still have to view Final Wars again to complete my project!