Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)

Title: Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)

Director: Takao Okawara


One question that always pops in my head whenever I watch a Godzilla film is: why the hell does Godzilla have to destroy the city all the time!!?? What’s his purpose? His reason? I mean every single time he wakes up, first thing on his mind is to destroy Tokyo! Believe it or not, Godzilla has be known to have flash backs…maybe he remembers all those other times they’ve tried to kill him and he wakes up grumpy. Who knows. Whatever the case maybe, I don’t think it’s ever been fully explained, this obsession of Godzilla's to always destroy Japan. And I know that’s what makes a Godzilla movie a Godzilla movie, you gotta have monsters destroying building after building, but sometimes, after so much destruction and devastation, you just gotta wonder what does it all mean? Wait a minute; I know exactly what it means: tons of fun for those of us watching that’s what it means!

Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) is Godzilla film #19. Like Bond, or Dracula, or Frankenstein, or Sherlock Holmes, I don’t think Godzilla movies will ever die; my grandsons and their kids will probably end up watching Godzilla movies long after I’ve turned to dust. As I write this, 28 Godzilla films have been made! And though Toho (the company that produces them) is taking a break from making more Godzilla movies - last one was Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) - theres still that new American reboot that's in the works slated for the near future! So far, the director behind that one is Gareth Edwards, the guy who made the recent monster flick Monsters (2010) which wasn’t a bad monster movie in my book. It looks like Edwards is the right guy for that project, he seems to have a genuine love for monster movies. Here’s hoping that this new American version of Godzilla isnt a total embarassment.

Godzilla Vs. Battra in its Larva stage

I'm becoming well versed in all things Godzilla. Since I started watching Godzilla movies I have learned a couple of things about them, for example I learned that they are all categorized into different eras, so there’s a different versions of Godzilla for every one of them. The look of the monster varies from era to era, Godzilla has gone through various evolutions, he's been upgraded, he's been turned into a robot, he's gone up into space, he's gotten bigger, stronger, leaner, sometimes he’s a villain and sometimes he’s the protector of Japan. It’s been fun seeing Godzilla’s different stages. On Godzilla Vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth, Godzilla is a villain, mindlessly destroying Japan; though if you ask the characters on the film, they’ll tell you that Godzilla is actually earth’s way of punishing us for abusing it. Which reminds me that the film actually has an environmental message attached to it; characters go into conversations about deforestation, the condition of the ozone layer, and how global warming is on the rise. They even mention oceans rising! And Tsunamis! And on top of things, a meteor is on its way to destroy the earth! It’s no wonder on this film characters say lines like “The Earth is definitely heading towards its end!” Good thing Mothra, a creature supposedly created by the earth itself is here to protect us!

This film marked the sixth time that Mothra has appeared in a Godzilla film. Previous films included: Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964), Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster (1964), Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966), Destroy all Monsters (1968) and Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). After Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth, the giant flying moth that shoots laser beams from its antennas went on to appear in many more Godzilla films. Truth be told, were talking about one of the most popular monsters of the whole franchise. The character of Mothra comes from a Japanese novel called 'The Luminous Fairies and Mothra'. Toho acquired the rights to the character and made a film about it. So essentially, before appearing on any Godzilla film, Mothra started out as a monster in its very own film! That film was Mothra (1961), and it was a very successful film upon its first release. Mothra has become such a popular character that it even got its own series of films the first of which ws called Rebirth of Mothra (1996). It was followed by Rebirth of Mothra II (1997) and Rebirth of Mothra III (1998)! So before you go on saying “but Mothra’s just a big giant Moth, what a lame monster!” just keep in mind that this is a creature with some history to it, and that it’s actually got a very noble origin story behind it. You see, Mothra is actually “the spirit of the earth” created by the earth itself in order to protect it from harm. And since Godzilla is Mothras enemy in the film, I guess that makes Godzilla the “destroyer of the earth”.  People are genuinly frightened of Godzilla, at one point a character says that they have to stop Godzilla or else he will “destroy the whole world!” followed by a “God Help us All!”  Actually, Mothra is Godzilla's deadliest enemy! She has kicked Godzilla’s ass more then any other creature he has ever faced.

On Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992), a meteorite falls to earth and starts causing all sorts of havoc on the weather. A giant typhoon erupts across the land thanks to the meteorite; this typhoon is the one responsible for unearthing Mothra’s egg and Godzilla at the same time. But wait that’s not all! The typhoon has also awakened another creature called Battra. Battra is basically an evil version of Mothra, with black skin and red eyes, it is also known as ‘Black Mothra’. When we first see Mothra and Battra, they are in their Larva stage, so basically we see two worms making their way through the surface of the ocean, headed towards Japan ! This all leads up to a climactic battle between the three monsters in the middle of the city. Who will win in this gargantuan battle for Earth? You might think that two giant insects dont pose much of a threat for Godzilla, but you’d be wrong in that assumption. Both Mothra and Battra shoot laser beams from their heads! Not only that, Mothra shoots lightning out of her wings! And she can move her wings around and spread deadly pixie dust that can paralyze an enemy! So this aren’t just any old moths, these are deadly creatures and worthy opponents for Godzilla. But my favorite so far is still King Gihdorah!

As I mentioned before in my review for Godzilla vs. King Gihdorah (1991) one of the things I love about these Godzilla films is how totally bizarre they get. I mean, it seems to me like these filmmakers sit around trying to come up with the craziest ideas they can, they craziest one is the one that gets filmed! I mean, in no other film will you see a giant Larva destroying the city and the cocooning itself only to transform into a giant moth that shoots laser beams from its antennas! But wait, this film gets crazier! There is a character called Fujito who is an Indiana Jones rip off! He actually starts the film trying to steal an ancient idol from a temple! Fujito is hired to explore ‘ Infant Island ’ which is the island on which they first spot Mothra’s egg. Once there, they enter a cave and meet these little women called ‘The Cosmos’ who were at one point worshipped Mothra as the guardian of their society. Basically they go on to explain how Mothra is here because the earth is angry and things need to be corrected or else the earth will retaliate. Take in consideration that these two women are miniature sized, like little Barbie dolls! They have to sing so that Mothra comes! So every once in a while, these two micro-women break into a song so that Mothra will appear! Like I said, these films get totally bizarre, so if you like that sort of things, you’ll have yourself a great time!

This was a very entertaining Godzilla flick. The battles between Battra, Mothra and Godzilla are awesome and very destructive! At one point Godzilla tries to kill Mothra with a Ferris Wheel! The creatures even have an underwater battle! It’s a fun film, and a bit more light hearted then some other Godzilla films I have seen. Actually, it seemed to me like this Godzilla film was directed more towards girls and that one of the reasons for making this movie was to sell Mothra toys. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made dolls out of 'The Cosmos' when this film first appeared. Even one of the main human characters in the film is a little girl, so I guess yeah, there is such a thing as a Godzilla film with little girls as their target audience! These movies functioned a lot like Saturday morning cartoons in that sense, the helped sell toys! But to me, it doesnt matter if these films sometimes served as expensive toy commercials, who cares right? These films are still fun as hell! My journey towards watching every Godzilla movie ever made continues! Keep you eyes peeled for more Godzilla reviews very soon.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Manuel Marrero said...

I said it once and i'll say it again... Mothra sucks ass!!!!!!! Why did the guardian of the freaking earth have to be a giant furry butterfly???!!! Why not a Bat or a damn Rock earth golem?? I remember playing being Godzilla monsters when i was a kid with my bro and his friends at school and the girls always wanted to be Mothra, so.... Of course girls looove that giant pixie dust throwing bug thing. Oh, yeah one more thing... I cant believe she's one of Godzilla's best allies, just cause she has beaten him a couple of times...( sigh ). Good review tho.

Franco Macabro said...

I actually like the idea that Mothra is a giant furry colorful moth, I mean, it's supposed to represent the spirit of the earth, and goodness and all that, it has to look like a good guy.

Yup Mothra has been both friend and foe to Godzilla, on this one she fights against Godzilla. But in order to beat him, she has to teams up with Battra! Two against one, not fair. Godzilla still gives them a good fight. I liked that scene where as Battra carries Godzilla away through the air, he blasts Battras right in the face with his laser beam!

venoms5 said...

I liked this the first time I saw it in 1993 because it was cool seeing a new G film. The only thing I like about this movie is Ifukube's score. His Mothra cues are some of the most beautiful I've heard in a movie.

I eventually got bored with Kawakita's method of doing monster sequences which consisted of the creatures standing at a distance firing multi colored laser beams at one another--not just this one, but all of the ones he was involved in. He didn't like shooting close quarters combat scenes with the beasts.

His work on BIOLLANTE was incredible at the time and still holds up surpassing work he did on later G movies. For me, BIOLLANTE and MECHAGODZILLA 93 are the two best of the Heisei series not counting GODZILLA (1984).

I've never been a huge fan of the moth, but the original MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA (1964) is hands down one of the best monster movies ever made and possibly has the best effects work of the entire Showa series. It's truly an extraordinary monster movie.

Franco Macabro said...

@Venom5: You're right about the laser shooting scenes, but at the same time, I was glued to this one for some reason. Dont know what it is, but I found it so bizarre. Those scenes where we see a giant larva destroying the city streets, that's just such a surreal sort of image, totally crazy, and I loved it. Plus that swong that those two little Mothra worshippers sing...its kind of addictive! In fact, I loved it so much I use it as a ring tone on my phone!

Im dying to see Biollante ever since I read your review for it. It sound like a totally different kind of monster.

Damn dude, thanks for that recommendation, I'll be searching out Mothra vs. Godzilla very soon.

Thanks for commenting!


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