The Godzilla franchise has displayed an impressive disinterest in continuity from early on. We see that reflected here in Mothra Versus Godzilla, a good, but not great, Kaiju romp from Ishiro Honda, director of the far better Mothra, and Gojira, and like, a million other movies also.
Mothra Versus Godzilla has a highly recycled plot; little more than a rehashing of Mothra and King Kong Versus Godzilla smooshed together. The characters are likable enough, however, the effects range from decent to good, and the art direction is also fairly well done. The film somehow feels cheaper than some of it’s predecessors, though, and it suffers from some less than top notch monster throwdown sequences.
THE PLOT- So, nobody remembers Mothra. You know, that bug the size of a skyscraper that decimated cities, destroyed famous landmarks and took countless lives like, two weeks ago? Yeah, I know, who can keep up on current events these days… So, anyways, when a typhoon washes an enormous egg up onto a beach in Japan, nobody thinks twice about turning it into a tourist attraction. This egg, we come to learn, belongs to Mothra, and her two tiny singing fairy girls show up to try to negotiate it’s return. Nothin’ doin’, the egg is now in the clutches of a couple of no good, money grubbin’ tycoon types, and they know they can make like, mad yen off that shit, so the fairies return to their island home eggless.
Well, it’s about that time that Godzilla shows up, fresh from his apparent loss to King Kong, so he’s all riled up and looking to reestablish himself as the king of smashing. Shameless, our three Japanese main characters (who I intend to talk about as little as possible) head off to Infant Island (That’s where Mothra lives) to try and ask for help. Eventually, this help is granted, the monsters fight, and the movie is over.
It’s not horribly exciting. The human characters are passable, but nothing special. They essentially come across as less developed, less likable clones of the three human characters from Mothra, with two of them being journalists, and one being a scientist (The actor playing the scientist is even the same guy in both films; franchise favorite Hiroshi Koizumi.)
The worst thing we have here is that the monster fights aren’t that great. Let’s face it, I love Mothra, but her offensive capabilities just aren’t up to par with Big Green. Throughout the franchise, there are various instances of Mothra pledging to “save mankind” or “protect mankind” from Godzilla, and honestly, who are they kidding? The fight between Godzilla and Mothra is something else, she just kinda flaps around him, blows things at him with her wings, drags him around a little, it just looks like she’s pestering the shit out of him. Nothing looks, painful, he does not look as though he is incurring any injuries, he just looks super, super annoyed and probably really wishes it would stop. Mothra doesn’t defeat Godzilla, but it really looks like he’s having a lousy afternoon.
Damn, he hates it.
It get’s worse; after she pisses him off and irritates the hell out of him, she just flies off, lands somewhere, and then dies, because her short insect lifespan has come to it’s natural end… So… Not the most climactic end to a monsters life, but that’s what happens (I’m not kidding that’s exactly what happens). So, Godzilla, now nowhere close to defeated, continues his raid on Japan, probably really upset and confused by what just happened to him, and people flip out.
So, what now? After that, the egg hatches, just like it always does, and two larvae emerge- just like they always do. The two little rolli-poli critters, now less than an hour old, are immediately expected to face off against the ultimate destructive force on the planet, which was born of a union between the second and fourth most destructive forces on the planet. (Second most destructive force; Atomic weapons. Fourth most destructive force; dinosaurs. The third most destructive force is Wilford Brimley.)
If you thought the Mothra/Godzilla fight was less than pulse pounding, this one is infinitely worse. The two larvae basically wiggle on over, find little hidey holes, and then just poke out their giant caterpillar faces and spray Godzilla with a stream of cocoon webbing from the safety of their sniper dens. They spray Godzilla, he flails around, they keep spraying, flail, spray, flail, spray, this goes on for some time. Finally, a fully cocooned Godzilla bumbles over and falls into the ocean. Victory? Okay… If Godzilla is no longer visible, apparently that means he’s done for now. Not really that exciting, Toho, but okay.
So, the movie is still really fun, but it really looks like the franchise is starting to lose some of it’s magic right about now. Luckily they’d go on to recapture it with varying degrees of success with a long line of sequels.