Attack Of The Giant Moth – Mothra vs Godzilla

5 07 2012

Out of all the Godzilla films made this is regarded as one of the best, and I agree, it deals with many issues in the world including nuclear testing, ownership of objects, the environment and Giant Insects. If you had an insect problem in your house you could easily ring up someone to come and deal with it, but what would you do if the insect is almost 100 metres long and weighs 25000 tons?

Mothra 1961 - Present

Mothra vs Godzilla came out 10 years after the original Godzilla film and so is a sort of celebration, and what a celebration it is. The film is produced once again by the big four consisting of Ifukube, Tanaka, Honda and Tsuburaya and is the third film in the series to have a Monster fight in it. The previous year of course saw the release of King Kong vs Godzilla, well for this film another Toho Monster was used, Mothra. Mothra previously had her own film in 1961, but since making her debut in the Godzilla series not only became one of Toho top 5 (Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan and MechaGodzilla) but became one of the companies most loved and most well used monsters, she holds the most wins over Godzilla, and if you have still not figured it out yet, yes Mothra is a Giant Moth.

The film begins with a massive typhoon; the following morning while work is being done to clean up the area News reporter Ichiro and photographer Junko find something strange in the wreckage. Meanwhile at a fishing village a monster egg has been discovered. The villagers decide to keep it under the idea that it belongs to them. While Professor Miura studies the egg he is interrupted by a business man called Kumayama who has bought the Egg and seeks to turn it into a tourist attraction. Ichiro, Junko and Miura are disgusted at this and discuss it at a hotel, just as Kumayama checks in. Kumayama goes to see the head of happy enterprises Jiro Torahata. While the two are discussing the idea, 2 little fairies turn up and ask them to return the egg; they instead try to capture them. The fairies escape and meet up with Ichiro, Junko, and Miura. The fairies tell them that they have come from Infant Island, an island that has suffered from Nuclear Testing. The egg itself belongs to Mothra and the egg must be returned as soon as possible because the baby Mothra inside the Egg could cause a lot of damage when it hatches in its search for food. The fairies tell them that Mothra is nearby and wants their help too. The three people then see Mothra through the bushes nearby.

Miura, Junko and Ichiro go and see Kumayama and ask him to give the egg back and also show him the fairies, which he instantly recognises. He tries to buy the fairies but the three people leave. The three people try to come up with ideas of how to give the egg back to the people of infant island, but the fairies decide to leave with Mothra. Due to the lack of interest in editorial pieces about the egg, Ichiro gives up. At this point Junko arrives and tells them that Professor Miura wants to see them. They enter a containment area and are sprayed by strange purple gas, Miura tells them that they thing they discovered in the wreckage is incredibly radioactive. The three go to the site of the wreckage which has now been cleared up and don’t find any radiation. A couple minutes later, while taking some photographs Junko notices the mud moving, Miura checks the radiation level and finds that there is a lot of radiation in the area of the moving mud. Eventually Godzilla appears from underneath all this mud (this shows that the mysterious thing is part of Godzilla’s flesh and that when it was discovered by Ichiro and Junko they were standing a short distance from him). Godzilla proceeds to attack Nagoya.

Junko and Ichiro along with the professor head to infant island to ask for Mothra’s help. When they get there they see the destruction caused by nuclear testing, they are captured by the islanders and are told by the chief they cannot ask for help because they failed to return the egg and because of the nuclear testing on the island. The three of them go and see the fairies and they refuse to, until Junko talks and really argues the case for asking Mothra’s help. The fairies talk to Mothra, who agrees to help although it is likely that Mothra will die because she has almost reached the end of her life. Back in Japan the military build large electrical pylons to use against Godzilla. Kumayama ends up broke from his venture and tries to steal money from Torahata, who shoots him only to be killed himself as the hotel is levelled by Godzilla. Godzilla heads towards the egg, possibly to destroy it but then Mothra shows up and fights him. Mothra initially gets the upper hand and almost beats Godzilla, But Godzilla uses his Atomic Death Ray on Mothra’s head and she flies to the egg and dies when she lands on it.

The Military attempt to deal with Godzilla in a 2 stage plan and almost succeed until they get way ahead of themselves. The fairies and the island natives sing for the egg to hatch and 2 caterpillars come out of it. Godzilla attacks a local fishing village and heads to Iwa island where a party of school children are stranded. The caterpillars go to attack Godzilla while Ichiro, Junko and Miura go and get the children, they are successful and the 2 caterpillars successfully wrap Godzilla in cocoon string as he falls in the sea. The children are returned to the mainland as the 2 caterpillars and the fairies return to Infant island.

The films cast is a good mix of characters. The film’s human villains, Torahata and Kumayama are nicely played by Kenji Sahara and Yoshifumi Tajima. They do look like gangsters in the way they are played but also can play the crowd to the point that you just don’t like them, Kumayama in particular looks and acts like a fool, which he is. The character of Junko is a good supporting character but only makes a few independent pieces. The same actress would appear in Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster the following year but not as the character of Junko but as a completely different news reporter. One of the real privileges though is Hiroshi Koizumi who plays Professor Miura. His part is a more noble character filled with wisdom and more level headed in a situation. This is Koizumi’s second role in the Godzilla (Godzilla Raids Again being the First) series and would continue to star in another 4 films, usually playing the role of a professor. He actually returns to a similar storyline in the 2003 film Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. which has a similar plot involving Mothra. A couple of other good roles in the film include the island chief on Infant Island (Akira Tani) and the Japanese Military Commander (Susumu Fujita). Both of these characters show that commanding presence that the characters are and are two memorable characters even if they are not the main characters.

It is interesting to compare Mothra from how she looks in this film to how she looks more recently. Of course back then they did not have the same technology as we have today but the original effects are still pretty amazing. By using something real, it appears to be real and can easily captivate the audience. The same goes for Godzilla, this is one of my favourite and best well-remembered appearances for the King of the Monsters. His scenes where he is attacking cities are nicely made with some scenes showing him in the background and some in the foreground, you do get a sense of scale with something like that. His attack on Nagoya and the castle is nicely made as well. The scenes where the military attacks him with the tanks, aircraft and pylons are some of the best in the film, the best of which in my opinion is the night time one where tanks are moving in to attack something but you don’t realise until the camera pan around that they are not far away from him. These are some of the best military attack scenes in the whole series. One way of showing how much technology has moved on is in the way of animatronics, particularly on the Mothra twins. When you consider the mouths in this film they just open and spray but in more recent films you could see a lot more detail in the movement. There is also the Egg to think about which is nicely detailed in both as a miniature and large pieces for close ups but if we were to look at the Egg from Godzilla vs Mothra 2 we could see a lot more detail in it. For me though the best monster scenes are the scenes involving Godzilla.

Akira Ifukube’s pieces of music are great for this film. Sometimes in the film series pieces are recycled from previous films with not much new stuff but in this there appears to be several new pieces, almost as if the whole thing has its own independent soundtrack except for the Theme for Godzilla of course. The military sounding pieces work very well with the scenes that it is used while the pieces that are set on Infant Island have the nice sense of mystery, and Mothra’s theme when she is first sighted as a sound of shock and mystery, almost like going “What is that”. One thing that should be pointed out of course is the music sung by the fairies which would become a theme by itself for Mothra and in most films involving Mothra would make some kind of appearance in the soundtrack.

Mothra vs Godzilla is a Great film and you can see why fans of the series like it a lot. It has a great group of characters, Great Monsters, Great Fight Scenes, Great Military Scenes, a Great Soundtrack and Great everything really. It is another on of Ishirō Honda’s films which has his sense of Storytelling and makes sure it does not go too fast for people new to the series while still keeping fans entertained. There is nothing more to say about it than it is A Great Film and a must see for Everyone and I mean Everyone.





One response

20 03 2013
Latest Blog Milestone – Two Hundred And Fifty Posts | Numb3r5s's Blog

[…] Attack Of The Giant Moth – Mothra vs Godzilla: This was my review of a film that is said to be one of the best films in the Godzilla series, […]

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