In 1973, Gamera sacrifices his life to rid the world of the Gyaos once and for all. Thirty-three years later, a small boy, whose father witnessed the 1973 event, named Toru finds a ... See full summary »
When an ancient statue is moved for display in Expo '70, a giant, vaguely Triceratops-like monster is released. The monster goes to Japan in pursuit of the statue and ends up battling Gamera, the giant flying turtle.
The Earth is headed for disaster and when an archeological research team visits Infant Island to find out why, they discover two tiny women who reveal that the Earth is fighting back for all the harm humans have done here and sends out the evil Battra to destroy us. The Cosmos, as the girls are called, offer their help by calling Mothra to battle the creature. Unfortunately, Godzilla also appears and a three way battle begins that threatens to destroy Japan. Written by
Todd A. Bobenrieth <TAB146@PSUVM.EDU>
There's no doubt that the strings show on the puppets in this movie; yet exactly for that reason, I suspect this was intentional. The Toho SFX crew isn't stupid - and they've successfully erased the string that wags Godzilla's tail for decades. So I can't imagine that they just slipped up here. I think the strings were supposed to show.
Why might they do that? Well let's start by getting real here - the Godzilla series is essentially a series of photographed puppet shows with spectacular explosions. But while most audiences think the emphasis here is on the spectacular explosions (that obviously need excellent SFX to be credible), in reality the emphasis is on "puppet show." Puppeteering is almost a lost art. The Godzilla series arrived at exactly the time historically when professional live-performance puppeteering disappeared from our cultures (West and East), and also at the same time that movie special effects were beginning to crank into high gear. Thus the Godzilla films record the last of professional puppeteering, but in such a way as to obscure that very fact through deployment of extravagant effects.
However, if you know what you're doing is recording puppet shows, it's inevitable that you'd want to poke fun at that very fact now and again - and the Godzilla series is filled with such moments, with exception of the first original film.
Allowing this film to be a puppet show means that different criteria must be applied to it than are applied to, say, Star Wars or Alien. Appreciation of a puppet show does not require "willing suspension of disbelief" - one can always see the strings. Instead, what the audience enjoys is the skill with which the puppeteer brings inanimate wood to life, as well as the humor puppeteers use to construct all their stories.
With this in mind, Godzilla and Mothra Battle for Earth is really a pretty good puppet show. It is beautifully designed and well-photographed; the script is rich in humor; the monsters have strong and well-defined personalities; the back-story is fairly interesting but doesn't detract from the central conflicts; and the music is just wonderful.
It is probably not all that a die-hard Godzilla fan might want; but it is certainly the definitive appearance of Mothra.
it is really intended for the young - and for the young-at-heart; like all really good puppet shows.
I enjoyed it thoroughly, and hope the reader does too; it feels good and, if you recognize what's really going on, it's an important record of a lost art; that makes it good all the way around.
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