This is the second movie in a row that begins, not with a kaiju, but the Shobijin – those dastardly magical fairies and keepers of Mothra’s thoughts. You see, after a nasty typhoon, a giant egg is discovered floating off the shore. The egg is quickly acquired by evil capitalists and the Shobijin plead to return the egg of… Mothra. Their worry is not so much for the sake of Mothra or the well being of unhatched egg, rather the destruction the little Mothra will create upon hatching and making its way back to Infant Island, home of Mothra and the Shobijin, but they assure the humans that “it intentions are good.” Que?
Meanwhile, the typhoon also had another affect. A group of humans central to the plot return to an area the typhoon flooded. In no time, Godzilla takes his cue and bursts from the ground in all his glory. Some questions may arise here. Largely, what the hell was Godzilla doing underground? Are we supposed to believe that Godzilla was washed in from the sea, via typhoon, and buried under tons of land? My theory is that, being the ultimate showman, Godzilla saw the typhoon as an opportunity to dig underground and wait for the perfect moment to put on a grand opening act. Good show, old man!
Mothra makes her debut with as much aplomb. While some humans are chatting it up with the Shobijin in a random forest, the little fairies mention Mothra and motion over to her. Lo and behold, it looks like the entire time they were bullshitting about the egg and such, Mothra – a giant f’n kaiju – was just chilling within earshot of the group. It is a master stroke of subtlety for the kaiju.
Godzilla’s havoc in this flick is not exactly wanton, it is more like selective destruction, as he passes many buildings with little interest. However, right before the 37-minute mark (Japanese version), Godzilla steals the show. After making landfall and Godzilla doing his Godzilla-thing (albeit in a finicky manner), he approaches a giant pagoda-style building. We will never know for sure if Godzilla had originally intended to topple the structure, for as he is walking parallel to it, he trips and falls into it. Seemingly pissed off at his slip in grace, the kaiju takes out his anger and trashes the tower. It is a display of goofy awesomeness that rivals Godzilla’s chewing of the train car in the original Gojira.
Witnessing Godzilla’s clumsy wrath, the (good) humans go to Infant Island to ask the Shobijin for Mothra’s help, with the fairies and the kaiju eventually agreeing to assist them.
Back on the mainland, Godzilla is heading toward Mothra’s egg. It is none too clear if it is Godzilla’s plan to snuff out the competition or if the egg just happens to be on his stroll of terror. Regardless, the egg is the scene where the two kaiju face off. It is an oddly one-sided battle, as the wind from Mothra’s wings keeps Godzilla at bay, even pushing him down. While pinned down, Mothra has the best move of the kaiju’s life. With Godzilla’s back turned, Mothra’s little feet grab the kaiju and drags him across some rolling hills. Its a showing that makes one of the humans remark, “Dammit, what a monster!” Mothra keeps the King of the Monsters pinned down a bit longer, but Godzilla is able to get off a fire-breath-thing on Mothra’s right wing. Mothra flies off to die, as we are told by the Shobijin that Mothra had little life left in her going into the fight. I guess it was a kamikaze (suicide mission, not vodka with triple sec and lemon juice) of sorts?
With Mothra out of the way, Godzilla fights some of the Japanese Army (Police Force?). It is the best showing of the humans against Godzilla to date, but not enough to kill him. Bored with the mainland, Godzilla heads out to Iwa Island.
In the meantime, Mothra’s egg hatches and springs forth two larvae Mothras. The larvae chase Godzilla across the water and onto Iwa Island. Godzilla deals with the larvae quite poorly, with the larvae shooting webbing at him, which wraps him up. The result of this is Godzilla tripping and falling into the sea (to die?). The larvae Mothras swim to Infant Island and the humans reflect, “The only way to thank them is to make the world better.” “Yes, and free from distrust.” (I teared up at this touching last moment, thinking of how it paralleled our current times.)
Going into this flick, I was very much a Godzilla backer and a Mothra loathererer. With that said, on to the verdict!
I will start with the King. Unfortunately, it was not a great showing for Godzilla. The bastard was clumsy, got dragged around by Mothra, and went out like a bitch by the larvae Mothras’ webs. Still, Godzilla always outshines the kaiju in the category of personality, and this showing is no different. His fire-breath-thing looks much better this go around as well. Also, Godzilla’s destruction of the pagoda tower he fell into was absolutely classic. However, these positives do not outweigh the looming fact that he fought like a punk. It ends up being a push:
I am going to skip the larvae and concentrate on late Mothra for this rating. The larvae came in at the very end of the movie and, frankly, if I included them, it would drag the kaiju’s rating down (except for the fact that they made a train “chug, chug, chug” sound as they moved along). Mothra actually showed a little moxie in this one. With her coy first appearance to the dragging of Godzilla, Mothra was on her game. Yet, the limited functionality of the puppet used for Mothra makes her lack so much character. It kills me to do this, but Mothra gets a better rating than my dear friend, Godzilla: