Monday, August 11, 2014

The Litany of Godzilla: Millennium Series Part Four – Returning Mothness

Click here for Millennium Mechagodzilla Part One; you’ll need it to keep up.

Godzilla × Mothra × Mechagodzilla: Tokyo SOS
2003

It’s a direct sequel to the previous entry but has an extremely limited amount of the human original cast returning, just like the good old days.  Mechagodzilla’s diagnostics are running, indicating he still uses Godzilla DNA. Interestingly, he also has a heartbeat. 
Hey, what could go wrong?


 Godzilla wakes up underwater and looks ready for…something.  

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the US Military stations are tracking a UFO heading toward Japan. To give an idea of what kind of world this is, no one freaks out about a UFO.  When the F-15s sent out get close, the UFO slows down to MACH 2 (!) and hides in some clouds.  The jets open fire, refuse to stop shooting when they inexplicably hear singing, and end up with a face full of Giant Moth Magic Dust.

Nephew Chujo, who works on the repair crew for Project Kiryu is making a model plane and teaching Grandson Chujo about the history of military fighters. Grandson Chujo brings it downstairs to show their elder relative.  The old man is none other than Doctor Shinichi Chujo from the original 1961 Mothra, still played by Hiroshi Koizumi no less. How awesome is that?

Tiny voices introduce themselves, and after the requisite confusion, the new – skinny to the point of being nearly emaciated and definitely not twins – Shobijin reveal themselves.  They remind Doctor Chujo about him meeting other fairies from their “family.”  Even with four decades intervening, the good doctor unsurprisingly didn’t forget being rescued from man eating plants by magical, singing, doll sized women who have a link with a monster insect.  Go figure.

They demonstrate that they have telekinesis on the dropped out of sheer amazement model plane.  They also warn that taking Godzilla’s bones from the ocean and using them to build a building sized, heavily beweaponed robot was a bad idea.  Really, if you need magical singing fairies to remind you of that, you deserve whatever befalls you.

They promise Mothra will safeguard Japan if the bones are returned to the sea, otherwise she will declare war on humanity.  That’s a pretty harsh ultimatum, but considering in this continuity the original Mothra was killed by a human designed heat ray, completely justifiable.


The Giant Lepidoptera herself is “hiding” outside, and squeaks and flaps away ominously in the snow as a warning.  The Shobijin leave behind a rune stone with the Mothra symbol as a calling card.
Doctor Chujo shows his grandson pictures from the original movie that will lead the kid to some interesting decision making later on.

Meanwhile, Nephew Chujo heads back to work as a technician on Kiryu, while the Government lies big time to the press about Mechagodzilla being ready. Since the reporters already know about the Godzilla bones issue, it’s a good bet they aren’t fooled. 

The four main members of the Kiryu Squad, including Army Babe, are being sent to America for training.  (Hopefully, America is much better at training people to fight Godzilla than they are at making movies about Godzilla.)  Don’t worry, there’s a Replacement Army Babe, who used to work maintenance with Nephew Chujo. There’s also a new head pilot, who is an Enormous Jerk.

Nephew Chujo sulks in the repair bay with Mechagodzilla and runs into Army Babe coming to say goodbye.  She tells him Kiryu doesn’t want to fight, and asks Nephew Chujo to take care of the cyborg.  There’s no evidence of any of her relationships with the humans from the previous film reaching these levels.

Doctor Chujo brings the Shobijin’s request to Prime Minister Heisei General. He tries invoking the Frankenstein like, “Men should not play God,” argument. The PM semi agrees but is too concerned about leaving the protection of the country up to a monster moth they may or may not have killed with a heat ray in 1961 to give up on Kiryu.  

A dead Kamoebas (giant mata mata turtle) washes ashore.  It wins the Oscar for most obscure cameo by a deceased Kaiju, not having been seen since 1970’s Gezora, Ganimes, and Kamoebas: Decisive Battle! Giant Monsters of the South Seas (aka Yog Monster from Space). It also provides proof that there is an enormous predator nearby. With that dramatic introduction, the loss of yet another American Submarine is not a surprise.

There are problems in the world of Mechagodzilla.  Fixing the Absolute Zero Gun is going to require a 1.25 meter diamond, that management isn’t about to pay for. Management also says there’s no time to run any checks or diagnostics. I think they ran my company for a few years. Nephew Chujo tries to point out that perhaps Jerky Pilot should take this lack of inspections into account before combat, and gets yelled at again.  Replacement Army Babe defends him.  They’d probably develop a sweet, romantic relationship if this wasn’t a Godzilla movie.

Jerky Pilot’s Dad in the top brass hosts a hearing to investigate the cases for and against Mechagodzilla, calling both Nephew Chujo and Doctor Chujo to testify.  Godzilla being finally found off shore ends any debates pretty quickly. The navy parks between the Big G and land, and makes a dazzlingly impressive display of ineffective explosions on Godzilla.  Kiryu is fitted with a Hyper Maser instead of the Absolute Zero Gun, because something that may actually work is not a cost effective decision at this juncture. I am now positive these guys ran my company for a while.

Daughter Chujo is freaking out during the evacuation because her son is gone. Doctor Chujo notices the Mothra Rune Stone missing as well and hurries off to find them. Why he doesn’t send any of the younger and more fit members of his family is unrevealed.

Godzilla makes another magnificent entrance through a giant wave swell.  The military plans to steer the Big G toward the wreckage of city he destroyed in the last film to keep him from breaking anything new.  They use tanks, which he continues to ignore, and Masers, which look like they sting a little.  He heads straight to Tokyo anyway because:

1) He’s drawn to the bones inside Mechagodzilla.
And
2) Duh! Its Tokyo.

Doctor Chujo finds Grandson Chujo in Tokyo, where all Toho roads lead.  The boy has arranged a bunch of school desks into the Mothra logo out in the street.  
Mothra appears immediately. Someone in the movie explains that making the symbol does cause Mothra to appear immediately before  everyone in the audience says, “Whaaaa?”

Mothra and Godzilla face off and for the most part reenact their fight from the 1964 outing.  This time there’s some CGI enhancement, and the battle is at night for added coolness.  Also, when Mothra attacks Godzilla with her cute little moth feet, he eats one of them. That’s going to leave a mark. When she reaches the point of using her wing Magic Dust everyone watching knows this is a last resort attack. 
They must all have read the Mothra Maintenance Manual. It looks like it might work at first; Godzilla’s atomic ray in the cloud produces an ENORMOUS Magic Dust filled fireball…
that inflicts no injury to Godzilla whatsoever.

The Prime Minister decides to launch Mechagodzilla because, sort of out of nowhere, “We must save Mothra!”

They don’t.

Jerky Pilot assures Nephew Chujo that his awesome skills will win out over the “poor maintenance” of Mechagodzilla.  Can anyone NOT guess how the day is going to be saved this time?

Luckily, the Shobijin have been working on their own plan, involving singing the Mothra song. 
YAY!
They’re on Himago Island, somewhere between Infant Island and Japan, where Mothra left a big stripey egg for just such an occasion.

Back at the fight, Godzilla’s first breath attack misses and knocks over Tokyo Tower…again.  The second one is spot on, pasting Mothra into a skyscraper.

Mechagodzilla appears just as Mothra falls.  Gotta work on the timing there, guys. 

Kiryu’s assault begins with a giant swath of missiles and bullets…because these people NEVER learn.
After a few volleys of varying intensities, Godzilla gets bored and sends a full force atomic breath through a building that blasts the snot out of both it and Mechagodzilla.  When the cyborg recovers, Jerky Pilot tries one of the few enhancements.  Instead of a single jet backpack, there’s two shoulder mounts that can be fired separately.  Godzilla nails the first one on the way in, but catches the second one in his hands.  He falls over when it blows up in his face. 

A for Agility, F for quick thinking there, Godzilla.

During the explosion filled Kaiju fun, Nephew Chujo is out looking for his family.  Luckily, he finds the Mothra Rune Stone by a large, inexplicable collection of desks in the street. It acts as a GPS to lead him to his family and get them medical help. Yes, Really. Do you think they would waste valuable monster fighting time with shots of a person wandering aimlessly through the rubble?  This is Toho; they know what they are doing.

Mechagodzilla presses his advantage with some professional wrestling quality moves, not seen in in Godzilla flicks for a while.  A robotic tail slam is followed by a perfectly executed back drop. 

Not to be outdone, The Big G plays possum and then uses his own tail for a patented Cobra Kai “Sweep the Leg” followed by unleashing his unstoppable radioactive breath directly into Kiryu’s face.

Mechagodzilla is down (again) out (again) and has broken remote controls (again).

In between the combat, the egg hatches, and the larva swim for a while. Once the caterpillars show up, the send a little webbing Godzilla’s way, and have a chat with mom.  The King of Monsters tries to breathe on them, but Mothra leaps up to block it, and promptly vanishes in moth shaped gout of flame. 

The kid’s eyes turn red, because they don’t have the most expressive of faces, and they start reenacting their part of the fight from 1964.  Again, the reenactment is at night, with highly detailed city models added for extra coolness.

The White Herons try to lead Godzilla away from the fallen cyborg to allow Nephew Chujo to perform some heroic maintenance.  (See? Told you.)  The Maser Tanks join in the distraction at one point, but very very briefly.  It’s OK, they look cool even when they explode.

There’s only one problem with the Heroic Maintenance.  The collapsed bits of city have blocked his path. Nephew Chujo gets a personal burst of awesome when he jumps on an abandoned dirt bike rides down some steps and goes tearing through the subway.  The giant monster fight above him, however, collapses the tunnel all around him.  As part of their grand manipulative scheme, the Shobijin are loitering about in the subway.  They telekinesis Nephew Chujo’s toolkit backpack out of the fallen subway bits that nearly squashed him.  Then they lead him out a shortcut to the surface, where he enters Mechagodzilla through the only undamaged access panel, coincidentally just like Army Babe did last time.

Godzilla’s still dealing with webbing nearby because luring him never ever works.  Nephew Chujo fixes Kiryu, but Godzilla’s attack on the fleeing larva duo damages the last panel and traps him inside.  Not wanting to ruin his awesome and heroic maintenance moment, he lies and says he got out.

Jerky Pilot takes remote control of Kiyru again, interrupting the caterpillars’ game of Urban Peek a Boo Web, to start Sumo Wrestling with Godzilla.  They push each other a bit, and then fall on the Capitol building, destroying it…
Again.

It looks like Mechagodzilla is going back to his Showa Era finger missiles.
Instead he spins his whole hand into a big barbed pointy thing which he uses to drill a large smoky hole into Godzilla’s belly.
Ew.

With a visible injury as a target, Kiryu fires the Hyper Maser directly into the wound, causing Godzilla to let out a deafening roar of pain and anguish.

Uh Oh!  Looks like Awkward Scientist not changing the computer’s DNA is going to bite them in the metallic butt.

Kiryu, and Nephew Chujo, have flashbacks to the Oxygen Destroyer (in black and white) and Army Babe (in color).  While the Caterpillars web up and drop the hurt King of Monsters, Nephew Chujo (and the Shobijin, somehow) say Mechagodzilla wants to sleep peacefully.

The Shobijin’s music plays everywhere in Japan, and they warn humans to leave the dead alone or it will create monsters.  The terrified Prime Minister says, “Yeah, sure, of course.  Um…but first:  Since Godzilla is still in Tokyo, maybe one last defiling before call it a day?” 
Then he pretends to be Shang Tsung again…”FINISH HIM!”

Jerky Pilot hits the “Triple Hyper Maser” button, but nothing happens.  Kiryu cries a red tear, because as the Vision taught us, “Even an Android can cry,” gives Godzilla a big old grappely hug, and carries his cocooned DNA brother out to sea.

Replacement Army Babe realizes Nephew Chujo is still in there.  Jerky Pilot blames him for driving Mechagodzilla, but relents and accepts cyborg sentience much quicker than most would.  Like everyone in these two films, Nephew Chujo is ready to die.  Replacement Army Babe tells him to shut his pie hole, and flies her White Heron behind Mechagodzilla to shoot an escape hatch off.

Kiryu spins around to orient Nephew Chujo toward the newly opened door and bids him a friendly “Sayonara” on one of his video screens…before dumping him out a couple hundred feet above the ocean while moving at an excessively high velocity.

Replacement Army Babe swoops in behind her plummeting pal, and Jerky Pilot ejects directly into him.  Why they both aren’t pulped immediately instead of safely landing via parachute after the impact might be a valid question. However, it’s far too late along the path to expect any rational behavior from physics at this point.

The two city destroyers, now cabled together, crash into the ocean and sink. 

Jerky Pilot is still Jerky.
Nephew Chujo salutes…
well…
the ocean I guess since Kiryu sank out of sight.

The Shobijin head home with the caterpillars, their plan for Japanese disarmament a success. 

In his final scene Prime Minister Heisei General states that if humanity has learned one thing, it is humility.

They did not learn “Hey, we shouldn’t make gigantic, heavily armed, cyborg, zombies out of radioactive monsters,” because there’s a post credits stinger with a huge Kaiju DNA vault.

Maybe they’ll use that to make the Showa Era cyborg coming up next time, click here to find out.

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