Godzilla: Tokyo SOS Masaaki Tezuka

Over the course of the franchise's 50-year history, one of Godzilla's most persistent rivals has been his robotic counterpart Mechagodzilla. In the context of the current series, it's a machine fused with the bones of the original Godzilla for use by the Japanese government to finally have some sort of effective anti-monster defence. Tokyo SOS, the 27th film in the series, gives the government a bit of a dilemma when they're warned that Mechagodzilla's existence is causing problems in the spirit world. They're told to scrap the project, but that warning's ignored when Godzilla returns to do what he's done so well all these years. However, Mechagodzilla's still under repair from their last meeting and it's a race to get it working in time to stop the carnage from getting even worse. Tokyo SOS, while not the worst film in the Kaiju genre, definitely shows that this series is starting to spin its wheels and that in many ways retiring the "king of monsters" after 2005's Final Wars film may be a bit of a blessing. The monster suits, sets and effects are top notch, but the stories are starting to repeat themselves, while the subplots and acting seem secondary to the technical goings on. Mind you, even at its lowest points the series has had more imagination and ambition than a certain North American remake from a few years back, and that statement still holds true today. The detractors will think it's cheap and cheesy but the cult of Godzilla will find enough in this to tide them over until Final Wars wraps things up for the foreseeable future. An added bonus of this disc is the "making of" featurette, which shows the amount of work and care put into the construction of the sets, miniatures and staging of the scenes. Contrasting raw footage with the final edits from the film, it's a great insight for anybody that's curious as to how the filmmakers pull it off and a good sympathy tool for showing what the people in the suits have to go through. (Columbia/Tristar)