Godzilla vs. Mothra
This is the most popular film of the Heisei Godzilla series, in that it did the best at the box office due to the cross appeal of Mothra with girls. It spawned the Mothra Trilogy as an offshoot (though technically not in the same universe) and helped set up sequels down the line in the Heisei series. And it wasn’t released in the US until years later, thanks to fallout from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Thus, I ended up with a full-screen dubbed VHS release around 1998 or so when the movies started to show up at the local Suncoast (now bankrupt.) Isn’t that grand? So as Godzilla has been rebooted, it is time for familiar monsters to start reappearing. Since Ghidorah already did his part, now Mothra will show up to kick some Godzilla butt. Mothra is also joined by Battra, the Dark Mothra. Wow, how original. Will Dark Godzilla then show up? What about Light Ghidorah? What if we had a Godzilla who was black on one side and green on the other? Then he fought another bi-colored Godzilla, except his colors were on the opposite sides! This is a Star Trek joke, for those of you who are 13 and stumbled across this while Googling for “Godzilla boobs” or something.
Someone will find this review by Googling “Godzilla boobs”
Back to the films, we have typical Heisei stuff with the army being useless, that psychic girl Miki Saegusa showing up, and a bunch of new main characters who have to spend the film repairing their marriage. Important stuff, to be sure. This is also the deput of the Heisei Shibojin, or the Cosmos as they get renamed this time around. And they are not real twins, just two Idols that Toho had lying around.
Originally, Mothra was to fight a monster known as Bagan in a film called Mothra Vs. Bagan. Then Godzilla vs. Biollante tanked and Toho realized that no one knew who Bagan was. Instead of having Mothra fight Bagan all across Asia (including battles in Shanghai and Bangkok) Mothra was reworked into the Godzilla series. Mothra then got so popular she headlined her own trilogy of films. Bagan appeared as the final boss in the Super Nintendo video game Super Godzilla, and almost fought Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Bagan, but that film became Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. So Bagan gets the shaft again!
A meteor hits the earth, and the resulting storms uncover the Mothra egg! We all know it is the egg because we remember the old movies. Also, the egg was washed into the clear by weather before! Lame.
As the actual plot starts, some Indiana Jones wannabe named Takuya Fujito is poking around the Ankor Wat ruins in Thailand and he steals a golden elephant god statue, only to have the whole place come down on top of him. And then he gets arrested. Why not just hire Harrison Ford for this part? At this point his career hadn’t tanked yet, so I guess he is out of the pay range. They could have gotten him in 2006. Officials bring in Fujito’s ex-wife Masako Tezuka and talk to him about retrieving an item for them. What item could this possibly be? The official with Masako is Andoh the Secretary to the President of the Maritomo Company, which plans to exploit the island. Fujito refuses at first, until he finds out he’ll be in jail for 15 years unless he helps.
Meanwhile at the Environmental Planning Board, they have a big command center that monitors the environment, and have discovered Godzilla woke up because the meteor crashed right next to him. Stupid meteor, uncovering eggs and waking up monsters.
Takuya, Masako, and Secretary are going to Infant Island. The inhabitants there are such babies. The three whine about environmental damage and how man will destroy the environment and Japan. This is a common theme in Japanese giant monster movies, and is odd because the world has gotten progressively worse since they started this stuff in the 1960s. I blame it all on daikaiju movie backlash!
We did Raiders of the Lost Ark, so let’s to Temple of Doom, as a suspension bridge on Infant Island breaks and they fall and land on the side of the cliff, except this time instead of climbing up they jump into the river. All the while the happy ex-couple bickers constantly. If I was the Secretary Guy, I would jab a knife in my ears. Seriously, shut up unhappy couple! At night, the three enter a cave, and find cave paintings of Mothra and Battra. Then the film remembers it hasn’t stolen from Indiana Jones lately and has the sun shine through a Mothra symbol in the cave pointing the trio in the direction to go. They follow and find a giant egg. Then the Cosmos start telling them how they keep the Earth in balance and 12,000 years ago Mothra guarded the Earth. Who are the Cosmos? I explained it up above, weren’t you paying attention? Fine, the Cosmos are the names of the tiny Mothra girls (formally known as the Shobijin) who are now different thanks to the Heisei reboot. The Cosmos continue to tell that an advanced civilization created a climate control device, which ticked off the Earth and it made Black Mothra, aka Battra, who fought Mothra and smashed a lot of stuff. Mothra won, but the climate device was destroyed and floods happened all over the Earth.
Wait a minute. So the Earth is alive and has feelings? Noah made his ark to save animals after Mothra and Battra fought? Our three main characters are only slightly bewildered by the appearance of chatty tiny girls?
Now Battra is awake, so Mothra will probably wake up soon also. Guess who is in the egg. Guess. I give you one chance.
Meanwhile, some hippies are protesting a construction site. The Marutomo company CEO is all “screw dem hippies, I don’t wanna lose face!” He’s evil because all CEOs in Godzilla films are evil. Look it up, I don’t lie. They decide they are going to move the Mothra egg. The Cosmos agree because they are going to trust the humans. Suckers! The egg will be moved by boat, while elsewhere…
Battra attack! Jets are ineffective, and Battra lands and starts blasting some stuff up. He has lasers out of his horn (red) and eyes (purple), then he leaves like your dad left your mom when you were six.
Meanwhile, something big is approaching the ship with the egg. Battra was busy, so guess what else is in the film. Takuya wants to drop the egg barge so the ship they are on can go faster and escape, but the Secretary guy fights him over it. The egg starts to hatch as Takuya drops the barge. It finishes hatching, and baby Mothra jumps out as Godzilla blasts the egg. Godzilla must have some sort of psychic power to know where his enemies are before they are even born!
The two monsters are in the water. We get tail grabs, breath blasts, web shooting the familiar sight of Baby Mothra flying through the air as a breath blast hits near her; all of this is par for the course in a Godzilla vs. Larva fight. Godzilla blasts Baby Mothra again, and then Battra swims up! Does all these monsters have like a GPS system to locate each other? Do they hit up Twitter and be all @BigG1954: I’m on Infant Island, you iguana! ? That must be it.
Battra tosses Mothra aside and starts blasting Godzilla, who blasts back. Monster beams fly like it is Star Wars or something. Between them both is the egg barge, which gets more and more destroyed and set on fire with each blast. Poor egg barge. The battle continues and leads to a nice “underwater” fight sequence. Mothra just goes home. Good for her, letting her enemies kill each other. Battra and Godzilla keep fighting, then a volcano goes off. That always happens in Godzilla movies also!
Back on land, Andoh the Secretary Guy steals the Cosmos that night in the hotel. The CEO is happy, and will get the tiny girls a doll house. Ex-wife Masako Tezuka realizes Mothra will come to save the Cosmos, and thus trash the city. When she meets daughter Midori at the airport, Takuya disappears in lieu of seeing his daughter. The CEO won’t let the Cosmos go, so they sing the Mothra song!
Hooray for the Mothra Song!
The Cosmos are gone the next morning, but Mothra is still coming to get them. We get some very nice action shots of Mothra Larva vs a fleet of battle cruisers that would probably be much better in widescreen. This is one of the better looking ship battles in a Godzilla film. The ocean is even set on fire as Mothra busts some battleships up. Masako, her daughter, and the psychic Miki are driving around searching for the Cosmos when Miki hears the Mothra song in her head. It looks like her head is picking up 106.3 KMTH, All Mothra Radio! Takuya took the Cosmos from the company and was going to sell them, but he is interrupted by his daughter and Masako.
Mothra is smashing all sorts of stuff up. To defend the Earth you must destroy it! Too bad Mothra doesn’t speak, then she could just broadcast why she is upset and solve the problem quickly. Get to evolving the power of speech, Mothra! Mothra starts smashing the hotel they are in, so they need to get outside to show the Cosmos to Mothra. They show her the Cosmos, then Mothra leaves, only to get shot at. Military, you idiots! Mothra then crashes into the capital building (the Diet Building) and begins cocoon preparations.
Meanwhile, Professor Fukazawa discovers that magma pressure is building up and there will be another eruption and an earthquake soon. Now we know why science is so well funded in this alternate universe, there is a natural disaster every week! Heck, the US is probably being attacked by giant hobos as we speak. Mothra is blasting webbing into the air as a choir sings and then Mt. Fuji erupts. Hey, sexual suggestiveness all over the place! They’re trying to be as perverted as Godzilla vs. Biollante!
Ando finally gets some balls and stands up to his stupid boss, who fires him. Ando…I hope you used the company printer to make some resumes before you leave. But as the CEO will be dead soon, maybe he won’t have time to process the paperwork…
Godzilla arrives in Tokyo by coming out of the erupting volcano of Mt Fuji. The movie tries to explain on how Godzilla swam through thousands of miles of molten lava, then just says “This is beyond our present knowledge or understanding!” I have never seen a Godzilla movie just give up on an explanation like that before. The writer just said “Check THIS out!” and had Godzilla lava surf. Then we have to deal with it. That is another of Godzilla’s magic powers that exist for one film only.
Mothra hatches to the Mothra song and flies off, to go all Moth Fu on Godzilla or something. Battra is still alive, and is seen as a larva in the ocean, but soon he jumps in the air and transforms into the adult Battra in a shower of electricity. Battra is the Mothra from hell. Like a Battra out of Hell would be a good title for another Meatloaf album.
Let’s attack Godzilla to try to change his direction! Okay, sure thing. You do it. They use the Masers, the double masers, and the masers on jets. Japan has recruited the future Terminator army or something. The battle is pretty cool. The best part is the attack music suddenly stops dead as Godzilla blasts a maser jet out of the sky and walks off to no resistance.
Mothra reaches Battra and they begin to fight, which is soon over a city. Bats, moths, can we just get along? Mothra starts getting kicked, Battra just laser blasts the heck out of her, and soon Mothra is crashed down and on fire as Yokohama burns. Mothra, why do you fail? Did we not sing the Mothra song loud enough?
Oh, here comes Big G! Battra just starts to blast him. That isn’t a very good idea, Battra. A building falls on Godzilla, but Godzilla erupts out and starts blasting Battra, who falls. Yeah, Battra, you knob. Mothra then wakes up and starts antenna shooting Godzilla! Why didn’t you use your antenna blasts on Battra? Mothra is no Napoleon. Mothra is no Napoleon Dynamite.
Mothra goes up to Battra and conferences, then starts transferring power over as the Cosmos sing. Now Mothra and Battra are buddies. I guess Mothra is Napoleon Diplomat! Godzilla returns, and Mothra goes to meet him, dropping gold dust and shooting yellow electricity out of her wings down on Godzilla, who can’t fire back thanks to the dust. But he gets one out and Mothra reels, she is almost killed by a falling giant ferris wheel until is is caught by Battra. Battra slams the ferris wheel into Godzilla, then both start to blast him. You know, the fights in this one are pretty good. The two blast and blast, soon Godzilla falls. Battra swoops down to grab Godzilla, but is bitten in the neck and soon yellow blood is dripping down Godzilla’s face. What is Godzilla, some sort of freaky vampire? That’s what you get for grabbing Big G with your juicy neck right next to his mouth.
Mothra grabs onto Godzilla’s tail, and both flying monsters carry off Godzilla. Godzilla breath blasts Battra again over the sea, and Battra dies. The two monsters fall into the water together, and Mothra circles overhead dropping gold dust, which forms the Mothra symbol. Mothra then heads to meet with the army, because they scheduled a meeting or something? I guess the Cosmos set it up.
There is a meteor headed to Earth that will hit in 1999, and Battra was going to destroy it, but is dead, so Mothra will do it instead. Is Battra evil or just a jerk who hated moths? Whatever, Battra, you never get seen again except for on Godzilla Island, where you are just evil, so maybe you don’t have a personality.
Everyone says goodbye to Mothra and The Cosmos, who depart by saying “If the world lives to see another century, please remember what Mothra did for you and the planet you live on” Remember we said IF, people, because Godzilla is gonna kill you all dead! Okay, maybe they didn’t say that last line, but they should have.
Rated 8/10 (Tristar?, I am arrested with attitude, I am also cool, Migrane or psychic power?, I am outta here!, concentrate, concentrate, I overpower you with my Japanese girl cuteness!)