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The film opens with the Japanese Indiana Jones pillaging some
archaeological ruins. Just as he makes his way out of a perilously
collapsing old temple, he's stopped by rifles pointed at his head. The
armed men are from the government, and they're accompanied by his
ex-wife. It seems that a strange meteor has crashed near a remote
island, and he's been pegged to lead an expedition on the island. They
encounter a strange egg, then they run into the Cosmos, two tiny
fairy-like beings, who tell them that it's the egg of Mothra, who
protects the earth. While taking the egg back to Japan, suddenly,
Battra, another monster, shows up, as does Godzilla, in his first
appearance of the film, and all hell begins to break loose, as is wont
to happen in Godzilla films.
That's a bit more detailed than I usually try to present premises (although that's just the first fifteen minutes or so of the film), but I want to give you of how exquisitely bizarre Godzilla vs. Mothra is and at the same time, give some clues as to why I've titled this review "Godzilla vs. Steven Spielberg!" There are all kinds of Spielberg references (occasionally rip-offs) and Spielberg-like touches to this film. But imagine Spielberg on acid, making a live-action adaptation of some wacky kid-oriented anime, with the addition of monsters that are going to rip each other to shreds with death rays emanating from their eyes and mouths and biting each others' necks off while alien-colored blood spews out. That might sound like an atrocious concatenation to some people, but it's heavenly to me, which is why this particular Godzilla film is a 10 out of 10 for me.
It's worth noting that director Takao Okawara managed quite a few "poetic" touches in this film, including some beautiful cinematography, the wonderfully weird cocoon-building sequence, and the scene of Mothra flying out into space, trailing sparkly dust. What really works best here, though, is the bizarre combination of kid-oriented fantasy and the more adult-oriented, menacing tone of the typical Godzilla film. The design of Mothra in this film is the perfect example. It looks like somewhat of a cross between a butterfly, a Muppet, a teddy bear, an Ewok, and a Gremlin at their "cute" stage. Only it is a giant fighting monster capable of killing other giant fighting monsters, destroying downtown, or maybe even destroying the Earth. The effect isn't that far removed from the Sta-Puft Marshmallow man at the end of Ghostbusters. It's all wonderfully surreal.
With this movie of the Heisei (1980s-1990s) series, I think Toho
studios was on a role. With cool special effects and beautiful music,
this became one of the top 10 grossing Godzilla movies. Who wouldn't
like to see a rematch between Godzilla and Mothra. This movie is an
update of the 1964 version of "Mothra vs. Godzilla."
Mothra's egg is exposed after a storm (or meteorite) hits it. A trio of explorers try to bring the egg to Japan under the influence of a greedy entrepreneur (sound familiar?). Godzilla appears out of the ocean to attack the explorers' ship, which is hauling the egg. The egg hatches into Mothra and the two do battle. The Peanuts, who played Mothra's twin priestesses in the 1964 movie, were succeeded by the Cosmos. They talk in unison, as usual. Dressed in pink with braided hairs and wearing Mothra signs, they bring back the traditional "Mothra's Song." If you're interested on buying a Godzilla soundtrack, see if you can track down the record version of this song, performed by the Cosmos with music by Akira Ifukube. It rocks! The song is sing in Malaysian, as always. However, in the record version, the Cosmos sing a verse of the song in Japanese. With echoing concepts from the original film this movie introduced a new monster, Battra (Mothra's evil twin), who is out to destroy earth but ended up helping Mothra battle Godzilla. How depressing to see the main guy Takuya (Indiana Jones?) in the film rooting for Mothra and Battra while battling Godzilla at an amusement park with his annoying ex-wife Masako and his irritating daughter Midori. She talks to the Cosmos and Mothra like she was talking to any human being. Where's her astonishment? Somebody should buy her a Godzilla toy and send her home!
Plenty of monster action, but I would have like to see Godzilla stomp on the city more and Mothra and Battra take a few more beatings from Godzilla, to the shock of the humans watching. And, I would have liked to see the Cosmos and their purpose emphasized more positively. They care for the Earth and wanted to appeal to its leaders to save the environment, but then again call for Mothra to save them from the entrepreneur while destroying Tokyo in the process??
Many of the characters in this movie is a little off-the-wall, with the exception of Miki Saegusa. She delivered another solid performance, helping to enhance the suspense of this story. She uses her psychic powers again, this time to track down the Cosmos.
Some sounds effects were a little off, like Godzilla's radiation beam sounding like it needs tuning and the larvae stage of Mothra sounds like it is on roller skates. But hey, this Godzilla flick is an satisfactory source of entertainment on a boring, weary weekend.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had problems with this movie. For one thing, mothra looks like a
plastic toy, both in larval and adult stages. The military artillery
and miniature buildings look less convincing than before and like
mothra, they often look like toys. The film is definitely inferior
effects wise to the previous and subsequent Heisei films (with
exception of Godzilla vs Spacegodzilla). The final battle, though
enjoyable, is a little bit of a let down. Godzilla doesn't put up much
of a challenge for the two moths and is bested with uncharacteristic
However, there are things I like as well. Despite the slightly shoddier effects work, it is still an enjoyable Godzilla movie. It retains the darker tone of the Heisei series. Battra looks fantastic in both larval and adult form, and of course, Godzilla looks awesome as always. Akira Ifukube provides a spectacular musical score, and hearing the numerous songs sung by the twin fairies is always an awesome auditory treat, and are very fitting for the deity-esque nature of mothra. Godzilla's emergence from Mt. Fuji is spectacular, and far surpasses his previous volcano escape in Godzilla vs Biollante, and is by far the most impressive special effects sequence in the film, and one of the best in the history of Godzilla movies.
And of course, though I complained about the special effects, it is really only a minor gripe. Though I prefer the better effects of most of the other Heisei films, this one still manages to impress visually, and there are Godzilla films with far cheaper effects work that I love. So overall, not the best Godzilla film ever, and one of the weaker entries to the Heisei series, but still a good and enjoyable movie. I recommend that fans of Godzilla and just giant monster movies in general should see it, though it may not appeal to people who are not fans of the genre.
The fourth movie in the Heisei series, this Godzilla movie is a fairly solid
entry in the long-running Godzilla series. This was the most successful
Godzilla movie of the Heisei series although critically, it's seen as one of
the lesser films in the second Godzilla series.
The plot deals with a meteor crashing on earth, awakening Godzilla, Battra, and uncovering Mothra's egg. Battra attacks mankind for poisoning the environment, Godzilla attacks EVERYTHING, and Mothra tries to protect mankind from both menaces. There's a sub-plot thrown in dealing with a treasure-hunter and his ex-wife, as well as some not-so-subtle themes about the environment and Megumi Odaka as the psychic Mike Saegusa (sadly, her role is thin in this one).
The special FX are great for the most part. The kaiju battles are fierce, although a bit too flashy (due to the nature of the monsters). There are some memorable scenes: Godzilla rising out of the volcano, Godzilla destroying Yokohama, Mothra coming out of its cocoon, and some others. The main liabilities in the special FX is Godzilla's return to his old roar (as opposed to the one he used in the previous 3) and Mothra's attack on Tokyo doesn't look too convincing.
Overall, a good monster movie. The pace moves reasonably well. The monsters are fun and exciting as always. The preachy manner of our need to protect the environment isn't handled well, but it's not like it matters too much. After all, I watch these movies to see monsters fighting.
Number four in the Heisei Godzilla movies, and it's the return of
However, there's a new monster thrown into the mix, the creature known as Battra!
Big G isn't too bad in this one. I'm not too sure about the sound of his atomic heat beam. I think it needs checking.
Mothra is back, but her larva form doesn't move in the way it did before. It's like she'd just propelled on rollers.
Battra is a very good newcomer. I don't know which form I like best, the larva or flying forms.
This is a good movie, but it's not the best.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
See this film, because it is truly one to remember. Mothra is well done
here, the new version full of attacks that just make the movie more
exciting when she fights. Plus a new monster: Battra, a male, vicious
looking version of Mothra who is also well done. His shriek however is
Rodan's, sigh. Toho, is it so hard to make new roars for new monsters?
This film was directed by Takao Owara, who would go on to direct three
more G-films, and he did a great job on this one that's for sure.
Kazuki Omori still provided the screenplay and it came out great,
thankfully no more time travel. I love the human characters here.
Especially that we have a story that involves the characters personal
lives. Andoh is played by Takehiro Murata, who would star in "Godzilla
2000" as the lead. Him and Takuya ( Tetsuya Besho) have a short brawl
that was more comedic than dynamic, but it entertains. The Shobijin
return, now called the 'Cosmos', and they sing many beautiful notes.
Luckily, Akira Ifukbe scores the film, and creates a very beautiful
score. Mothra's theme sounds just great! And the epic Gojira march
theme of course, speaking of which... To the monsters.
Godzilla has a new look that was spectacular, although it's kind of bulky. Mothra returns as a cute, furry, moth with new attacks. Now she can use more than speed and wind in battle. Battra is a very nicely done monster who had a lot of detail on its body. The larva form moved beautifully on land and in the Toho pool. The undersea battle was an excellent display of Koichi Kawakita's techniques. The JSDF battle with Godzilla was exciting and I never get tired of watching him demolish armies of tanks, jets and masers like nothing. One of the most action-packed Godzilla movies, plus I love the end battle where Mothra and Battra join forces to defeat Godzilla. Monsters without character are not monsters at all, and this film delivers in that aspect. The climax is excellent, not that'll spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. Although I will give you a hint: Someone dies. Someone lives. And someone afterwards must save the world from an entirely different threat.
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.
GODZILLA AND MOTHRA: THE BATTLE FOR EARTH is a follow-up to GODZILLA
VS. KING GHIDORAH and a remake of sorts of the '60s kaiju GODZILLA VS
MOTHRA. This is hugely entertaining kid's movie, filled to the brim
with colourful special effects, spectacular scenes of destruction, and
an engaging human storyline to boot.
The film's influences are many and varied, as you'll soon guess with the opening sequence featuring an Indiana Jones-style character raiding the ancient ruins at Angkor Wat. Before long we're knee-deep in a storyline involving a crashed meteorite, a reawakened Godzilla, the eruption of Mount Fuji, the emergence of a world-destroying creature called Battra, and of course Mothra himself.
Special emphasis is given to the character of Mothra, who is as hilarious as ever. As much as I love the giant furry moth, there's something undeniably hilarious about the creature in caterpillar form too, especially when hanging on to Godzilla's tail. I like the way the writers hark back to the '60s movies with the presence of the tiny twins and Infant Island; all good stuff. Plus, there's more giant monster action here than in the last film, although there's still time for plenty of human characters to get involved in a wider-reaching plot than usual. The message here is of the usual "save the environment" variety but it doesn't get in the way of what is a hugely enjoyable piece of entertainment.
A very solid entry into the giant monster genre. What makes this stand out
compared to most other kaiju flicks is the way that the human characters are
actually likeable and entertaining to watch. Unlike many other kaiju films,
the "plot-explaining" scenes here are not a nuisance that clutter the film
and delay the giant monster fight scenes we're all waiting for. Instead they
blend into the film well and feature characters that one can grow to like
(Masako and Takuya's affectionate bickering was very amusing, for instance).
It says a lot about the strength of the human characters when you consider
that even the little girl featured in the cast is not a nuisance (though she
does utter the hilarious line "I'll make my daddy get a -real-
The actual city-stomping and monster-on-monster battle scenes are a delight as well, and there are plenty of them. While they're beginning to show their age, they still look polished and convincing enough to be entertaining, and are done with lots of style. Special mention must go to the beautiful music, which adds to the film greatly.
Of course, the main storyline is pretty daft, though stomachable. As usual with Mothra around, there's a rather thick environmentalist message to blurb out, but the subject's treated in a not too clunky fashion this time. There are the odd moments of cheesy special effects or clumsy dubbing, but nothing too serious. All in all this is a very entertaining film. It makes a good introduction to the genre for kaiju newbies and kaiju fanatics will lap it up. In fact, anyone with an interest whatsoever in modern Japanese culture shouldn't hesitate about checking this out.
That, and the chanting of "Mossura ya, Mossura..." tends to stick with one ^^.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It probably has something to do with the fact I have never been a big Mothra fan and hate it when they fight each other, because Mothra should not do as well as it always does. Lets face it, it is a giant moth and they should burn to a crisp when hit by fire. Still this one starts out promisingly enough with a nice little comical jungle adventure. Still when it is the scenes with the people that are the strongest and not the ones with Godzilla then you are probably in trouble. Godzilla is in this one a bit more than the previous movie, but this one just is kind of dull. To much singing for Mothra to come and such, and watching Mothra trample through the city is always boring cause Mothra just doesn't compare to other monsters doing the same. We also have another monster a tougher version of Mothra called Battra that wants to fight Mothra. Near the end they fight and Battra is beating Mothra and Godzilla literally saves Mothra so what does it do? It joins forces with Battra to attack Godzilla. Godzilla is to much of a secondary monster here, with to much focus on the stupid moth. Still it has its entertaining moments such as Godzilla's first appearance and his resurrection on the volcano. More Godzilla less Mothra would have helped however.
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