Godzilla Vs Mothra (1992)

Godzilla Vs Mothra (1992)

A meteorite slams into the Earth, unleashing a string of natural disasters which causes a landslide on a remote tropical island revealing a mysterious giant egg. The egg contains the offspring of Mothra, the giant moth who has protected human civilisation for centuries. But the landslide has also awoken Battra, Mothra’s ancient rival and evil twin, and Godzilla himself. Soon the three monsters are on a collision course for each other, with humanity’s fate in the balance.

 

I don’t care what anyone says but the 90s Godzilla films were when the series was at its most entertaining. Between this, Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah, Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla and Godzilla Vs Destroyah, they have the best special effects (in relation to the technology available), the best fight scenes, the best music, the most bearable human sub-plots, the best balance between being serious and campy fun, and they had something of a continuity about them. Godzilla Vs Mothra was one of the earlier 90s efforts and clearly sets the stall up for how the rest of the Heisei series would play out over the next five years.

In bringing back King Ghidorah to the fold in the previous outing, Toho decided to bring back another of their most popular monsters for this one – Mothra was given the nod. In my review for Mothra Vs Godzilla, I stated that I was never a big fan of Mothra as the idea of a giant moth being humanity’s protector against a giant radioactive lizard was never really believable. I honestly have no idea how she became so popular, having her own standalone movie back in 1961 before she started mixing it up in the Godzilla franchise. Mothra does her best to convince me why she’s so popular in this film, arguably her best outing on the big screen. It has to be said that the puppet looks fantastic: clear blue eyes, colourful wings, and flying with an elegance and grace that few of the big monsters have. In my opinion, she’s Toho’s best work in as far as the monster designs go. The advances in technology and special effects since the 60s allow for the monster to have a lot more movement and become more dangerous with a variety of beam weapons to try to bring down Godzilla.

Rather than this just being a remake of Mothra Vs Godzilla, the makers of the film threw in the addition of Battra, Mothra’s evil twin, to mix things up with the battles. Like Mothra, Battra looks ridiculous in larva form but has a really awesome-looking adult form, with spikes and horns protruding from its jet-black body. Godzilla looks pretty much the same from the previous year and this is one of the best suits they used for the monster in my opinion. There are a few tussles between the monsters in the opening two thirds of the film but it’s the final third of the film where the action really hots up and there is an epic fight amidst the ruins of Tokyo at night time, giving the miniature set designers some real creative licence with what they construct. Lights and smokes are used to good effect and there is some sterling work with the special effects whenever the monsters fire off their beam weapons or other methods of destruction. Coupled with some good matte work and convincing rear projection, the fights really do showcase just how convincing men-in-suits can look when you make the effort. The idea to set the fight at night covers over many of the weaknesses of the format and the cinematographers have a field day with setting up some truly wonderful shots of the three monsters.

If there is a really annoying flaw with Godzilla Vs Mothra, it’s that the script is all over the place. I don’t think there are any surprises there given that these films are not exactly known for their endearing human sub-plots but the Mothra-orientated films always had a better structure to them than others, mainly down to the presence of the twin fairies and they being able to communicate with the monster. There is lots of exposition to set up the backstory between Mothra and Battra, but then most of this is contradicted whenever the film requires the monsters to go against their better instincts and do things out-of-character things. The writers make a simple concept about Mothra being good and Battra being evil and do things they didn’t need to do to try and throw in a few twists. Simplicity would have worked better here.

Akira Ifukube deserves another mention in another review for a Godzilla film – the man was a musical genius and creates some more fantastic tracks for this one. As well as the usual motifs for Godzilla and Mothra, he creates a menacing one for Battra as well as some impressive action-based stuff for the fight scenes. The series lost a key component to its success when he died.

 

Godzilla Vs Mothra has a nice magical feel to it, more so than any of the other Godzilla films, and despite it being child-friendly, it doesn’t pander to them too much, opting to maintain the adult integrity of the series. Whilst the human sub-plots are tiresome and there’s too much mythical babbling on, the monster scenes are frequent, fast and deliver some of the series best scraps. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better example of the genre than this one. I take back most of what I said about Mothra after this one!

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

 

 

Related Movies

Post a comment