Mothra (1961) Poster

(1961)

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8/10
Better than Average Toho film
cpetr134 April 2006
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.
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10/10
The first Mothra movie!
OllieSuave-00714 June 2003
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.

Grade A
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An anti-monster movie. Lots of fun.
Glenn Andreiev27 February 2001
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.
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The Antithesis of Kaiju Eiga
Brian Washington25 February 2003
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.
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Classic! (may contain spoilers)
CMUBrent10 July 2002
Warning: 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!
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8/10
A '60s classic
ebiros221 October 2005
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.
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A Twin-Engine Monster
BaronBl00d6 May 2001
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.
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ONE OF THE BEST GIANT MONSTER FILMS EVER MADE!!!
EL BUNCHO15 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER WARNINGS(like you haven't already seen this, and if not, shame upon your house)!!!

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.
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8/10
Mosura (1961)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain27 December 2011
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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8/10
Classic monster film from Japan
vtcavuoto24 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Mothra" is another gem of a film from Toho Studios. This was their third big (no pun intended) star-Japan's answer to America's big three: Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman. A ship is stranded off an island ravaged by an atomic test. The survivors are radiation-free due to a juice given to them by the natives. An expedition led by a ruthless, greedy businessman goes to the island. They meet the twin fairies (played by the Peanuts-the Ito sisters). The girls are stolen by the businessman and exploited. With the help of a reporter and scientist, they call to Mothra for help. The monster costume in the larva and adult stages is spectacular. The acting is decent as is the dubbing (thanks to veteran voice actor Peter Fernandez). The miniature sets as usual are top-notch. The film has a crisp picture and is in color. The musical score enhances the action on-screen. A very good film to watch if yo're a fan of Japanese Sci-Fi films.
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8/10
Classic monster movie!
grahamsj331 January 2003
Warning: 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!
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7/10
Perhaps the Greatest Competitor to Godzilla?
gavin694212 May 2014
Shipwreck survivors are found on Beiru, an island previously used for atomic tests. Amazingly free of radiation effects, they believe they were protected by a special juice given to them by the natives.

Nothing much to say about this one. I only knew Mothra as an adversary to Godzilla and was interested in seeing the film where he debuts and predates his epic fight with the lizard of destruction. It is a good story and gets to the heart of the Mothra myth with the singing fairies that summon him.

While maybe not as iconic as Godzilla, Mothra is a kaiju worthy of his own film series (which he has), and those interested in Toho's work really ought to check it out.
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7/10
Mothra (1961) ***
JoeKarlosi12 May 2014
Definitely one of Toho's finest giant monster movies of all. An evil businessman (Jerry Ito) abducts two adorable foot-tall twin fairies from their remote island, in an unscrupulous plan to exploit them for his own monetary gain. The two "peanuts" call to their protector Mothra for aid, and the title monster travels to Japan to save the little ladies, while leaving unintended harm and destruction in its path.

Mothra is a sympathetic character which became popular and went on to co-star in many more Toho adventures. The female creature starts out as a gigantic crawling caterpillar, but late in the movie emerges out of its self-spun cocoon, as a huge and colorful flying moth that causes intense catastrophic winds when flapping its wings. Jerry Ito is a perfect hateful lead villain, but he is counterbalanced partly by the agreeable presence of comedian Frankie Sakai on the side of the good guys. The story is involving, and the pacing very comfortable. I have always been a big fan of the charming little song that the twin fairies sing in honor of their savior, Mothra. The English language version is well dubbed, and there are some differences between the U.S. and original Japanese versions; but either one is good and enjoyable.

*** out of ****
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8/10
Mothra review
Al_The_Strange30 January 2014
Among Toho's repertoire of gargantuan and highly-destructive kaiju, who would have ever thought that a giant moth would become one of their most endearing characters? In the years that would come, Mothra would make an appearance in seventeen films, including a bunch of Godzilla films. In the beginning, though, the lepidopteran made its debut in this old-fashioned monster flick.

1961's Mothra runs pretty evenly, allowing the story to breathe adequately before dishing out some modest mass destruction. The film's first acts, with scientists exploring Infant Island, remind me greatly of Skull Island from King Kong; the manner in which they use the fairies as a sideshow is not too far off from Kong either, only instead of unleashing a giant monkey's wrath, the fairies sing and summon a giant larva. It's weird stuff, but the film plays everything out with a straight face. This film ultimately sets the pattern for future incarnations of Mothra (you seriously can't have Mothra without the singing fairies, the larva, or without specific phases of attacks). As the original feature, however, the only formula this film adheres to is that of the classic monster picture, with a bit of adventure thrown in, and it's neat that way.

The story's pretty much outlined above; it is a well-structured plot with a cast of alright (and sometimes goofy) characters. With all the fairies and monsters on display, I always felt that Mothra was a grade more unbelievable than most other monster movies, but thanks to the film's earnest tone, it works as a fine and dandy fantasy (and it's pretty neat to see such fantasy being opposed by modern and ultramodern weaponry). The story touches upon a few themes concerning capitalism and greed, but is never overbearing.

This film uses solid, quality photography and editing. Acting is good from the original cast (but might be marred heavily by the English dubbing if you chose to watch it). Writing gets the job done pretty well. This production shows its age, but still uses fine-looking sets, props, and costumes. Special effects are a bit rough, but for its time, they are smashing. Music is not bad either.

No matter how silly or fantastic it gets, I have a soft spot for Mothra, especially in seeing her future clashes with Godzilla and other monsters. The first and most original Mothra film presents the basics of Mothra-lore, which in turn echoes parts of the original King Kong, and would stand proudly next to classic monster flicks like Godzilla. Fans of the genre should give this original film a rent.

4/5 (Entertainment: Good | Story: Pretty Good | Film: Good)
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8/10
One of Toho's best, most touching and impressive monster movies
Woodyanders2 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
A motley group of folks embark on an expedition to an island that's been ravaged by radiation. The explorers discover a pair of diminutive twin fairies. Evil and unscrupulous businessman Clark Nelson (excellently played to the hateful hilt by Jerry Ito) abducts the girls and forces them to sing for him in a stage act. Complications ensue when the girls' giant moth guardian Mothra arrives and begins leveling Japan while searching for the fairies. Directed with real skill and intelligence by Inoshiro Honda, with a thoughtful script by Shinichi Sekizawa, a steady pace, exquisite widescreen cinematography by Hajime Koizuma, exciting sequences of mass destruction, a sweeping, majestic score by Yuji Koseki, a strong central message about the severe consequences of human greed and selfishness, a strangely beautiful and poetic creature, a potent and affecting conclusion, and fine and convincing special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, this film achieves a certain poignancy and resonance because of its unusually graceful and sympathetic monster who's essentially benign, yet still dangerous because of her immense size. Kudos are also in order for the uniformly sound acting by the able cast, with especially stand-out contributions by Frankie Sakai as likable bumbling journalist Senichiro Fukuda, Kyoko Kagawa as spunky photographer Michi Hamamura, Ken Uehara as the no-nonsense Dr. Harada, and Hiroshi Koizuma as the compassionate Dr. Shinichi Chujo. Emi and Yumi Ito are absolutely adorable as the sweet and gentle twin fairies. The island scenes have a tasty exotic atmosphere. Essential viewing for Japanese creature feature fans.
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8/10
A science fiction master piece
jacobjohntaylor124 May 2014
This not best M.O.T.R.A movie. Some of the sequels are like the second one Godzilla vs M.O.T.R.A, or the third one G.H.I.D.O.R.A.H the three headed monster, or the forth one Godzilla and M.O.T.H.R.A vs the sea monster. But it's still good movie.Some people go to an island that as bin polluted nuclear radiation. They find I giant moth. And some bad guys that come with them take something the belongs to it. I can't remember what it was an egg I think. Anyway these bad guy take something that belongs to M.O.T.H.R.A and he follows them back to Tokyo were he goes on a rampage. It is not as good as the 5th movie Destroy all monsters. And it is not as good as the 6th movie Godzilla vs G.I.G.A.N. But it still a good movie. See it. Great story line. Great movie. All the M.O.T.H.R.A movies are great see all of them.
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5/10
For fans of giant bugs only
funkyfry28 October 2002
Fairly poor cousin of Godzilla, with much less fighting and destruction than usual. However, the film is raised slightly above the level of many of its type by the fact that we can actually sympathize with Mothra -- after all, they've busted into the virgin territory of tiki-land and stolen the midget twins -- and therefore we understand why Mothra is doing what she's doing. This is something many of the makers of giant monster movies in the 50s missed, and was a big element in the success of "King Kong", "Mighty Joe Young" and other earlier monster flicks -- if we don't care about the big monster, the movie doesn't matter much.
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8/10
good 60ish monster movie
r-c-s20 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This time the monster subplot is not the usual Tokyo levelling rampage without a reason. Mothra does level (some of) Tokyo, but trying to rescue her twin miniature priestesses kidnapped on their native island. The plot is straight. Crashlanded on a (supposedly) nuclear polluted island, ship crew members are then rescued & found healthy...because of the juice served by some natives. That triggers public curiosity and an expedition is dispatched, including a clumsy reporter (the Japanese version of Lou Costello ). They would wear special protective suits equipped with an alarm bell. Now one of the characters is assaulted by a giant carnivore weed, sets the alarm off & he's rescued by the miniature girls. That shows the alarm bell attracts them. To make a long story short, a greedy sideshow businessman fails to kidnap them during the original expedition, but succeeds later on his own... His goal is to showcase the 2 harmless creatures as sideshow sensations at a freak show! He does so, but has to reckon with both the sympathetic reporter & his friends and -of course- Mothra. In the end the greedy, despicable individual perishes during a government warranted chase to surrender the girls back to Mothra. This movie's meaning is clear-cut and -for once- the monster has good reason to level Tokyo. The disgusting businessman (and his lawyer cronie ) are portrayed as the human waste they are, alas receiving adequate retribution.

Nice 60-ish movie. The goofy reporter and his friends make a good appearance as well (genre-wise of course). A movie more tied to some Disney tradition than one's usual monster movie, thus enjoyable.

Special effects aren't noteworthy, yet the plot sticks out as some of the most original among monster movies.
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10/10
pretty but deadly
vampi19604 September 2006
I first seen mothra back in the 70's on chiller theater channel 11 in new jersey,its not a chiller nor a scary movie.its a very well made sci fi fantasy about two twin women who are like 12 inches high that are kidnapped by a Japanese gangster while on an expedition on an island.well the twin girls have a guardian on the island,the god of their people,she is called mothra.now this is the debut of mothra and it begins as a giant caterpillar that eventually turns into a very pretty colorful moth that gracefully destroys Tokyo,not like Godzilla rodan and others.but mothra means well,the bad guy is the gangster(jerry Ito)who played a cop in the manster(59)and his thugs.so japan suffers because the twin girls are captive.the special effects are very good,not cheesy like most of the Japanese monster films.i believe mothra was made earlier then 1961,it was released by Columbia pictures in 1961 and dubbed for the American audiences.mothra was always my favorite of all the Japanese monster movies,sorry Godzilla.but mothra rocks.a very good movie for children and adults.10 out of 10.a must see for all Japanese monster fans.kudos to toho for producing a great gem like mothra.
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6/10
They Sure Hold A Grudge!
rspress2 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It seems that every monster the pops up and destroys Tokyo is the fault of the Americans in one way or another. Mostly it is atomic bombs that hatch the beasties but this time it is American Gangster types. This is the way the Japanese thought of America before the war at it shows in this movie as well although they try to disguise it by using different names and Japanese actors for the lead roles of the villains. Still American atomic ray guns do make an appearance.

Mothra is a likable monster if not one of the lamest of them. You often expect to hear the police say as mothra is on the rampage "Mothra is a mile away, he should be here in three hours, he is lumbering this way" or "Watch out for that deadly silk......it's sticky". Also why is it that the overweight Japanese kid figures everything out before everyone else does?

Still this lays the groundwork for the later Mothra movies. The little island girls are present. They sing their mothra song. Mothra comes, cocoons, hatches and kicks silk. If you like this genre and who does not like cheap models, bad acting and equally bad special effects and photography then you won't be disappointed.
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6/10
Mothra Appears
AaronCapenBanner1 May 2014
Ishiro Honda directed this wild but imaginative film that sees Japanese scientists investigating reports of unusual activity on a mysterious remote island that had been exposed to atomic testing. They find a primitive people and good-hearted "Twin Fairies", two women a foot-high who are kidnapped by a greedy foreign industrialist to be exploited for their unique size and singing ability, which is really a cry for help to their legendary protector: a giant prehistoric moth that attacks Japan, trying to rescue them after being taken to Tokyo. First film appearance of Mothra proved an entertaining effort, with nice model work. Mothra would return in the Godzilla series, in "Mothra Vs. Godzilla".
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5/10
When You Got A Giant Caterpillar/Butterfly On Your Case
bkoganbing27 February 2008
Having an honored place in Japanese monster film lore is Mothra a giant caterpillar/butterfly who's a Deity on the island of Beiru. A shipwreck strands several survivors on an island where atomic testing has taken place, but the natives are free of any radiation. Some native brew that the castaways are given keeps the atomic effects away from them too.

Holding a special place in the affections of these natives are a pair of twin girls, barely a foot tall. An unscrupulous survivor kidnaps them, figuring they'll turn a good buck for him to exhibit as freaks.

But not when you've got a giant caterpillar/butterfly on your case. He's the one these girls are continually chanting for and by telepathy Mothra's beating a path to them and it takes him to Japan where Tokyo once again undergoes monster urban renewal.

I like Mothra because the monster really is the hero of the piece. And while the special effects of Mothra destroying Tokyo with the flapping of his giant wings, those paper mache, baling wire models that are a trademark of these film, still it's good fun. And of course Mothra came back several times, often in conjunction with other Japanese monster creations.

Almost fifty years later Mothra's still a lot of fun.
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