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|Index||40 reviews in total|
I think what makes this movie special is not the "giant insect" aspect
but the mysticism involved. Godzilla is a legend in the original at
least but Mothra is actually a deity--and a hands-on deity at that.
Inlikethe other creatures in this bestiary, Monthra is beloved of those
who live with it and is protected by it, often by direct intercession.
Unlike the other monsters, Mothra can die, and has done so. But it continues to protect its people by reproducing the old fashioned way--it lays eggs. IT is also intelligent and intuitive, and its nature is NOT aggressive or violent. It's almost Buddhist in nature.
The only other time they tried to work this kind of mysticism into these movies was with King Cesar--a giant cocker spaniel with contacts. The beast was just too goofy to be taken seriously.
Mothra is a great addition to the canon.
This is the first Mothra movie, a story where a corrupted businessman
kidnaps tiny twin priestesses on radiated Infant Island to exploit them
for profit gain. This angers the island's guardian goddess named
Mothra, who awakens and goes in search for the kidnapped twins,
threatening to leave a wake of destruction along the way.
For this movie, there is a great screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa, imaginable effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, good directing by Ishiro Honda and a beautiful music score (though not by Akira Ifukube, Yuji Koseki composed an equally superb music score). This movie has the usual elements in any "kaiju" movie: military, city destruction, tropical islands, scientists, reporters, natives and villains.
We get to see the very first appearance of Mothra's tiny twin priestesses, played here by the "Peanuts," a popular Japanese singing-duo. Their serene and bewitching Mothra's Song is first sung here, and is an enchanting listening experience. A few more songs follow, and they're also sung beautifully. They take center stage in this story, singing as a plea for help from Mothra to rescue them from the greedy show-biz celebrity. Along the way, a reporter, photographer and a scientist team up in attempt to save the fairies to return them to their home before Mothra attacks! The male lead, played by Frankie Sakai, was hilarious and provided most of the comic relief in this action-packed monster flick.
The natives' rituals and chants to awaken Mothra are spellbinding and enchanting, some of the greatest piece of cinema work I've seen.
Overall, this film is a great introduction to Mothra, who would go on to appear in many other monster movies, most notably alongside Godzilla in his many sequels, produced by Toho.
MOSURA (1961, released in the USA as MOTHRA) is like no other monster movie.
It's colorful. Most of it's settings are bathed in storybook like colors,
has a pleasent, happy ending where the monster lives!
A greedy showman/explorer Clark Nelson (Jerry Ito) finds twin fairies on an island off Japan. He displays them on the Tokyo stage, where they sing what sounds like a lullaby. It is actually a telepathic distress call to their god and protector, Mothra, a giant caterpillar. Mothra comes to Tokyo, searching for the girls and Nelson, destroying most of the city in it's path. The chase goes from Tokyo to Newkirk City (I guess this is suppose to be a little real life hamlet just south of Yonkers!) What I really love about MOTHRA is that it has many things most other monster movies don't. The hero is a comical, older, tubby reporter, a sort of Japanese Lou Costello. The monster is actually pretty. In the Japanese version, there is some wonderful slapstick and odd humor. THese elements make this film so unique. Director Inoshiro Honda was best friends with more famous and more respected Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa loved Honda's monster movies and according to rumor, yearned to make one himself.
This is a very unusual movie because the monster isn't an evil killing machine as was the case with Godzilla. The only reason for the destruction is because of Mothra's uncontrollable urge to rescue its priestesses. Mothra is what I call part of the holy trio of the Toho monsters (the other two being, of course, Godzilla and Rodan). This is the first film in which the audience actually roots for the monster and the true monster is the villian, Clark Nelson. This not only is a wonderful science fiction film but a very humorous parody about the consequences of over commercialization.
Mothra is a movie based on a fantasy novel "Glowing fairies and Mothra"
co-authored by Shinichiro Nakamura, Takehiko Fukunaga, and Yoshie
Hotta. Name of the main protagonist Zenichiro Fukuda are combined names
of these three co-authors (Chinese character Yoshi is also pronounced
Zen in Japanese). The co-authors reportedly never received much
loyalties from this movie.
If the original Godzilla was the '50s classic kaijyu movie, this is that of the '60s, spawning many movies that follows featuring Mothra.
This movie was created on the following year Japan signed the "Treaty of mutual cooperation and security between Japan and U.S." of 1960 and reflects the politically charged atmosphere against US at the time in Japan. For instance, country Rorisika is a combined name of Russia, and America (in the original novel, the name was even more obvious Russirica, but was changed for the world wide release of the movie), and New Kirk city is an obvious synonym for New York city. US and Russia by the way were the only countries in the world performing hydrogen bomb experiments at the time, and No. 2 Genyomaru's, encounter with the test was also a hidden criticism against these experiments.
In the original novel, the location where Mothra spews the cocoon is the parliament building, but this was viewed as a political statement against the said treaty, and was changed to Tokyo tower. The movie features a real life twins The Peanuts (Emi and Yumi Eto) who were popular singers in Japan at the time. The Mothra song they sang were written by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishiro Honda, and Shinichi Sekizawa first in Japanese, and Indonesian student residing in Japan at the time translated it into his language. The original manuscript of this handwritten song is now displayed in Yuji Koseki (who was the composer for this song) museum in Fukushima city Japan.
The plot and special effects are tour de force. One of Mothra's lava costumes had 8 men in it with Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima taking the lead. Mothra is the first kaijyu that's not just out for destruction, but is a protector of the environment. When the Mothra lava spews silk, it really looks real. The silk was made from rubber contact cement thinned down with solvent and shot out of Mothra's mouth using air brush. Actor Hiroshi Koizumi reprises his role as Shinichi Chujyo in 2003 movie Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla Tokyo SOS after 42 years this movie was made.
Still after half a century, this is one of the best kaijyu movie ever created.
A greedy businessman captures two little(and I mean little) fairies from a remote, thought-to-be deserted island, only to showcase them to public much like Carl Denham does with King Kong. Of course Nelson Clark's scale is miniature. The Japanese people represented by some scientists and a chubby newspaper reporter and his sidekick photographer try to rescue the girls and return them to their home before Mothra, a giant caterpillar then moth, comes to Tokyo to retrieve them, leaving devastation in its wake. Inshiro Honda directed this marvelous film, and his directorial touch is very evident. The film has many beautiful color backgrounds, some great music(love the song the Ito sisters sing), solid acting from all, and some pretty nice miniature sets. The "monster" itself really is good, despite its destruction of the Japanese countryside, part of Tokyo, and New Kirk City in Roscilica(Beats me where the names here came from). A film very unlike its Godzilla counterparts in spirit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie ranks with movies like King Kong, Rodan, and Godzilla: King of
the Monsters as one of the best monster movies of all time. Mothra is a
different type of monster movie. Instead of a rampaging monster destroying a
city for the hell of it, we have a gentle monster that attacks Tokyo only
after her twin fairies are kidnapped by a ruthless promoter. Another unique
twist is that we see three different versions of the monster: the egg, the
larva, and the adult Mothra. Usually, only one version of a monster is seen
in a movie.
I loved this classic movie. I give it an 8 out of 10. A must see for monster movie fans!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILER WARNINGS(like you haven't already seen this, and if not, shame upon
Ah, MOTHRA...We die-hard giant monster fans usually have widely divergent opinions on what the finest films in the genre are, and by that I don't mean regarding such merits as camp value. I'm talking ART; genuine classic cinema. The original MOTHRA is one of that rare handful.
The look of this film is unique for a film of this genre; simply put, it looks like a fairy tale. And talk about a departure from the usual radiation-spawned beastie! Mothra is a goddess who had apparently been on that island for quite some time, long enough to have a culture of hardcore worshipers. Also of note is the fact that she is a benevolent creature who only wreaks havoc when the greedy entrepreneur refuses to return her priestesses. Mothra goes up against all that science can throw at her and triumphs at every turn for one simple reason: she is a GODDESS and is therefore not necessarily answerable to science/physics.
The little things in this film go a very long way to make it memorable. The identical twin fairy priestesses who speak in unison, the song for help that the twin fairies sing endlessly to summon Mothra that people misinterpret as merely a quaint native folk song (HOO BOY, are they ever wrong!!!), Frankie Sakai as the pugnacious reporter "Bulldog," Bulldog's edge-of-your-seat rescue of an infant, Mothra blithely cocooning herself and the subsequent (pointless) use of an atomic heat-ray to try and burn her alive, the truly beautiful and majestic image of the winged Mothra taking flight and demolishing everything in her path with hurricane-level winds...it all adds up to a perfect, entertaining family film. If you have never seen MOTHRA, rent it now. Keep an open mind, remember that you're watching a fairy tale, and you will not be disappointed. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a great monster movie! As with many of this genre, it was made in Japan. Dubbed in English, it is the epitome of the Japanese monster movie genre. A giant moth is on the loose and, boy, is he mad! Why? A greedy man has abducted two miniature girls from his island and is using them to get rich. Mothra is the protector of everyone on the island. The greedy businessman has taken the girls to Tokyo where they are on display (for a fee, of course). Mothra to the rescue! The giant moth looks for the girls, destroying Tokyo as he goes along. By the time Mothra heads back to the island, Tokyo is nothing more than a smoking ruin. This is a great addition to the "large fake-looking monster destroys Japanese city" genre! The dialog is poorly dubbed, which also adds to the fun! Fantastic film!
They'd done Godzilla. They'd brought us color monster madness with Rodan. Now Toho continue to improve their Kaiju films with Mothra. Once again Mothra is the result of nuclear radiation, but those themes are just around to explain her size. The main plot is Mothra's rescue attempt of two miniature women taken from her island. Strange? Certainly, but it's nice to see the monster with a clear agenda and some actual motivation. The models and effects are the best so far. Remote controlled vehicles, green screen, monster puppets, are all thrown in to give us some truly exhilarating city smash ups. Even when "people" are obviously dolls, it's OK. Films don't have to be a replacement for the imagination. I was never dragged out of the film's universe, and the scenes of the dam bursting had me appreciating film making more than any CGI filled computer game-a-like. The use of a fictionalized nation allows you to easily ignore any overbearing political agendas. It isn't as dark as the previous efforts. But when your monster is a big moth, you don't get as much horror. Luckily, it also manages to create a more atmospheric and artistic approach. Mothra's initial hatching is juxtaposed with a beautiful and rather trippy song. A tale of, once again, man's mistakes. Only this time, it's the exploitation of these mistakes that brings destruction.
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