Gamera VS Zigra!!!!!

Gamera VS Zigra ~ 1971, Noriaki Yuasa, Japan


Alright! Who’s ready for Gamera Part 7?! Nobody? Why are we even doing this anymore? C’mon you guys, look alive, we got two more Showa era giant turtle movies, and this one is actually pretty good… Sorta… Comparatively… You know what, just try to have a good attitude.

THE PLOT~ It’s been almost two years since a hostile alien race has attempted to invade the Earth, but worry not, because the sea dwelling people of the planet Zigra are here to pick up the slack, as well as to provide Gamera something he can horrendously maim the shit out of, as he is wont to do. It’s the circle of life. Anyway. The Zigra economy must be in trouble, because when their spaceship (Which looks like a crown full of jelly beans) finally lands on Earth, it’s got exactly two occupants, and one is just a brainwashed Earthling who has been made to do Zigra’s bidding. The other is a giant swordfish monster, which seems to be sleeping… This is not really much of an invasion, but hey, they’ve got an Earthquake machine, and they’re pretty good at hypnotizing people. You know what, they’re doing their best. Give them a break.


Anyway… So, the Zigras show up and kidnap four humans, two of which are our token duo of ethnically diverse preteens, so you know we’ll be spending a lot of time with them later. Then the aliens blast Earth with some heavy duty Earthquakes that really spook everyone, but which don’t really appear to cause much damage. The reason for kidnapping four Earthlings? Well, after Earth gets its shit quaked, our kidnapees are asked verify to the rest of mankind that yes, aliens did this, and yes, they’ll do it again if we don’t cooperate. I guess they thought we’d only believe it if it came from one of our own? These aliens don’t seem to understand that all humans are liars, and this is common knowledge. Anyways, it doesn’t matter, because the kids foil the alien plan and escape just in time for Gamera to show up and destroy the hell out of the alien spaceship, because he knows his role, and he owns it. Without his ship to hide in, our alien swordfish monster is exposed to Earth’s atmosphere, which in turn causes him to grow into an even more giant, Gamera-sized, alien sword fish monster…  because of atmospheric pressure? The science is sound.

tumblr_mj9ljmy4vv1qgckmbo3_1280Our two kaiju briefly throw down, and Gamera somehow winds up paralyzed, at which point he topples over into the ocean upside down like an idiot. REALLY feels familiar, doesn’t it? Probably because we’ve seen this a thousand times before. Gamera has a long legacy of getting his ass kicked early on, which leaves him out of commision for the entire second act of his fucking movies, only to then come back strong in the third act and save the day. Apparently, we must save Gamera before he can save us. Guess how we manage to pull that off this time? If you guessed “children in a submarine,”, then you’re right on the money. This submarine sequence is middle of the road, it’s more entertaining than the one from Gamera Vs. Viras, but less entertaining than the one from Gamera Vs. Jiger. The mini-sub we have winds up crapping out on us, stranding our would be junior heroes in the path of certain doom, but “children in peril” is all you had to say if you wanted to rouse a slumbering Gamera. As if motivated by instinct alone, Gams quickly springs to, and decides to mount a mission to rescue his rescuers, so he can then rescue them again. This part is actually kinda funny, but possibly on accident. Zigra is sleeping for some reason (Why are Daiei’s monsters always sleeping?!) and Gamera kinda sneaks up on him and throws a rock, to make sure his opponent isn’t about to wake up. He doesn’t. Coast is clear. Apparently comfortable with the situation, Gammy then slowly sneaks a little closer to the sub, and reaches for it, drawing back cautiously for fear of somehow waking up his slumbering fish-foe. This sort of feels like a Kaiju equivalent of Indiana Jones trying to swap the idol for a bag of sand in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I really like it. I love it, in fact. Weird shit like this is when Gamera really shines.


So, Gambo manages to burgle the bathyscaph, and saves his human pals, but not without having to confront Zigra once more. There’s a pretty decent battle, during which Gamera winds up lodging a boulder on Zigra’s sword snout, thereby compromising his sense of balance and causing him to topple over, immobilized and helpless. This is where things get weird. Gamera hefts a boulder off of the beach and bashes it against Zigras spikes, In effect, playing his beaten foe like a damn xylophone. He apparently really enjoys this, as is evident by the subsequent joyful monster jig that he performs after he wails on Ziggy for a while. Yep! I sorta wonder if spending several hours unconscious with his head submerged in water changed Gamera in some way… I think maybe it’s sort of like what happened with Gary Busey. LIke, yeah… He’s back… But…


But he’s not so different that he could possibly resist annihilating his foe in a gruesome display of monster violence. Gamera hosts Japan’s biggest ever fish fry and lets Zigra have it with some of his fiery turtle breath, which leaves him d-e-a-d dead. You know, as humble as these Daiei films are, they never let their focus on entertaining children distract them from whats really important; graphic depictions of monster violence. It’s actually one of the most awesome things about Gamera, these films simultaneously became more youth centric, and more gory. It’s clear that Daiei wasn’t afraid to traumatized youngsters, and in fact, likely saw the value in making sure kids weren’t coddled in a universe of puppy dogs and pillow forts. Occasionally, they need to see something they love get mutilated. It’s just good child rearing, and it’s missing from movies nowadays. We’re all weaker and more feeble minded for it.

gamerazigra12529Anyway, this one is actually pretty good, and thank goodness, because the next film in the Gamera franchise is widely known to be a stinker of the harshest, most regrettable magnitude. The preceding two or three films weren’t really home runs, either, so a halfway decent afternoon with Gamera really hits the spot right about now. Truthfully, this was a hard time for just about every film studio in Japan, and their creative output suffered across the board as a result. This movie is certainly a little more humble than what we saw Godzilla doing over in Toho Town around this time, but it isn’t really shittier. It feels like maybe this one last time, Daiei finally caught some traction. Some weird, crappy traction.

If you’re a fan of the Gamera franchise, then by this point you’re aware that kaiju cinema is all about rehashing cliches, and you’re either going to be okay with that, or you’re not. Gamera Vs. Zigra does nothing new, but it is fun, and Gamera’s crumminess remains as endearing as ever. It’s too bad this couldn’t have been his Showa swan song, but very few of us are privileged enough to go out on a high note.


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Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (A.K.A. The Man Who Saved The World, AKA TURKISH STAR WARS!) ~ 1982, Çetin Inanç, Turkey


For decades, poor old Ed Wood (Rest in peace) has frequently been labeled the single worst director of all time. Really? If you really think that the man who brought us Glen or Glenda? lives at the absolute bottom of the cinematic barrel, then buddy, my suggestion would be that you clear your calendar, get your hands on some Turkish Pop Cinema, and prepare to have your damn mind blown, because you have no idea how far down that barrel actually goes. During the industry’s golden age (the devil-may-care European 1980’s), Turkey produced some of the most bat-shit insane movies ever known to mankind, and by comparison, Mr. Wood’s body of work would have appeared mature, reserved, and relatively well made. Here we are, thirty years later, and even deliberate attempts to match that magical 1980’s Turkish crazy don’t even come close. That’s probably for the best, take my word for it.

Possibly the most famous movie to come out of these truly bizarre artistic circumstances is Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, which, translated to English, apparently means The Man Who Saved the World, but to most psychotronic film fans around the world, it’s better known by it’s unofficial title; TURKISH STAR WARS.


I don’t know if Turkey even had copy write laws at this stage in the game, but Turkish film makers were evidently free to pilfer other people’s intellectual properties with impunity back in 1982. What you would get is this, Turkish folks would just go out and snatch up movies from The States (or wherever) and then Turkify the hell out of them, thereby crafting weird, Z-Grade, home grown imitations for the domestic market. Turkish Star Wars is, obviously, Turkey’s imitation of the Star Wars films, and while it doesn’t follow the plot of the Star Wars movies (it would have been a lot better off if it had) the movies DOES in fact use a good deal of stolen footage and music including numerous shots from Star Wars: A New Hope, as well as music from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and also Flash Gordon.

THE PLOT~ In the future, Mankind is finally at peace, or something, I think… Except that we got alien problems like you wouldn’t believe, so actually, we are very much at war. Yeah… Also, uh, the human brain is like, really amazing, or something… but aliens don’t have brains… so… That’s part of the story, I guess… Ummmm… Earth has, in what I would call a completely incoherent perversion of logic, been broken into several different pieces over the years, and these pieces have all drifted off into space, becoming independent planets… but really, that’s not ever adequately addressed… Nor is the fact that Earth is somehow protected by a huge shield, which was created by the united consciousness of the entire human race. Basically, that’s kinda like this movie’s answer to The Force, so you might call that THE TURKISH FORCE.

I’m sorry, I know that none of this makes sense, and frankly, it’s not going to get any better. Here we go!

So, we Earthlings launch all of our fighters off into space, and no surprise, the mightiest of all these warriors just happen to be two old, grizzled Turkish dudes, named Murat, and Ali. Turkish Star Wars generously provides us with a Turkish Darth Vader (called The Wizard), a Turkish Obi Wan Kenobi (an old Muslim holy man), and a Turkish Princess Leia (some trashy Def Leppard groupie who doesn’t even have any lines until the third act of the film), but they’ve got NO Turkish Luke Skywalker for us. Poor show! Instead, we get two lumpy Turkish Han Solos, in the form of Murat (played by somewhat legendary Turkish actor/psychopath Cüneyt Arkin) and Ali (played by Aytekin Akkaya, who looks like someone The Fonz would but pot from.) While “flying” their damn X-Wings (more on this later) into combat, Ali and Murat are apparently shot down, or magically transported, or SOMETHING to a floating chunk of Earth that was once…. Egypt? Maybe? I don’t know, you guys, but they wind up on a planet that has several important holy sites from Earth on it, and they have no space ships when they regain consciousness. They just wake up partially buried in dirt on an alien planet with no knowledge of how they got there, and the first thing they do after dusting themselves off is to try and formulate a plan to get laid by whatever alien chicks might be lurking around nearby. These guys!

From here it only gets worse. Turns out the evil Wizard (aforementioned Turkish Darth Vader, he looks like ass) wants to capture our heroes  and study their brains so that he can learn the secret of destroying Earth’s force field. Eventually, paths cross, but 85% of this movie is Cüneyt Arkin punching things like a damn lunatic. Seriously, this is worth taking time to discuss; Cüneyt Arkin is fucking ridiculous.


If you see this man, haul ass in the opposite direction, but it’s probably too late.

This film is just fight scene after fight scene, and Arkin appears to have formulated his own branch of martial arts without any previous knowledge of hand to hand combat, or just being a rational human being in general. For Arkin, it’s about hitting more, and most importantly, as hard as possible, every single time. Where a normal man would punch once, Arkin punches 11 times, and every single blow is 100% of Arkin’s mental and physical energy, his face contorted into a red mask of irrational Turkish fury, and the sound effects his blows create are bassy, over-driven explosions that could never occur in the natural world. He looks like a sixty year old man with the mind of a child, who just smoked a bunch of meth while watching Bloodsport and then decided to crash a Furry convention and beat everyone to within an inch of their life. (Oh yeah, the aliens in this movie looks completely terrible, most of them are just an unintelligible mass of synthetic fur with bike handlebar streamers attached to their fingertips. Really.)

10972267_galSo, there’s these guys, we see A LOT of whatever the hell they are.


And this fucking thing. Who okayed these costumes!??!

Late in the film, Murat is treated to some long, drawn-out exposition pertaining to Islam, and Jesus, who for some reason lives underground now, apparently, and when that’s finally over, Turkish Obi Wan is like, “look, bro, you gotta go get this ancient, magical sword, plus also there’s a human brain made of gold over there, too. Go get it, you can’t let the wizard get that shit, cuz then he’ll destroy Earth I think!” This brilliant plan totally backfires because everyone in this film is an idiot, but that’s besides the point. What I wanted to highlight about this sequence is that the sword he recovers basically amounts to our TURKISH LIGHTSABER, and damn is it stupid. It’s enormous, and the dumbest looking thing I’ve ever seen in a movie. Here it is:


“Just holdin’ my sword. This movie is every bit as good as Star Wars. Why you laughin’, bro?”

Murat does kill a bunch of monsters with the sword, but he quickly realizes that a life where he doesn’t constantly punch things just isn’t worth living. Having firmly made up his mind, Murat takes this priceless, centuries old relic of human culture, and melts it down into a liquid, thereby destroying it forever. That’s step one. Step two is that he takes his friggin’ hands and deliberately dunks them into his newly formed super-heated pool of molten metal. Yep! Step three SHOULD be him screaming his ass off on a gurney while being hustled into the E.R., but this is Turkish Star Wars, so rather than melting his hands off into cauterized stumps like we all know would really happen, Murat is instead endowed with giant, golden gauntlets, thus finally granting him the ability to punch again, only this time with all the added might of a Turkish Lightsaber. Now in glove form! I think he also does the same thing to his feet, I don’t remember the little gold sneakers before… But anyway, this is the extreme to which Murat’s need to punch drives him, and he spends the remainder of the film violently punching monsters into furry, disembodied corpses. The twist ending is that he doesn’t actually punch the wizard to death, but shockingly, goes for a karate chop, which actually slices his astro-nemesis in half, lengthwise. Don’t get too excited, the effect is garbage.


The last thing a Furry sees before it dies.

More than anything else, Turkish Star Wars is a romance about one man’s undying love for punching things. In this film, there is no Turkish Death Star. We do briefly see the American Death Star at the beginning of the film, but it disappears without explanation and is never mentioned again throughout the rest of the movie. I think the implication is clear; Murat just punched the Death Star into dust over the course of a few afternoons and that was that; no photon torpedo’s required.

Everything here is bad, bad, bad. The only parts of Turksih Star Wars that aren’t unforgivably shitty are the parts that they just stole from somebody else, and they don’t even do that right. The sequence I mentioned before, which has Murat and Ali flying off to engage in their outer space dogfight, is pretty frustrating. In essence, it’s a collection of close ups of either actor wearing a motorcycle helmet and sitting in front of a screen which is playing clips from A New Hope. They reuse the same shots over and over, and often, the shot playing on screen behind them will cut to a new shot while our foreground footage does not, and vice versa. Additionally, the footage behind them regularly informs us that our pilots, who are facing directly into the camera, are frequently flying backwards, and sometimes, backwards while at a 45 degree angle. Come on, they couldn’t do better than this?! It’s just terrible.


Good work, Cüneyt. You’re totally in space right now.

There’s another famous sequence in the film that basically amounts to Ali and Murat’s Turkish Jedi training, where Murat fastens enormous boulders to his ankles and jumps all over the place.


Plus, look at that physique!

People seem to remember this scene as the centerpiece of the entire film, but I’m not sure why. I’ll agree, it looks completely silly, but no more so than any other sequence. At one point in film, Turkish Darth Vader drinks human blood through a crazy straw. That’s pretty silly. Later on, the bad guys capture Ali and Murat, and devise the ultimate, most unbearable, most inescapable form of torture ever, being buried alive! The movie really hypes this whole deal up, they really want you to think that this is just the most grim fate imaginable, and that no one could possibly be mighty enough to overcome so gruesome an ordeal… Then, when they actually do it, they just sort of toss a few scoops of dirt on our heroes and call it a day. Ali and Murat don’t look the least bit pained, they just sort of sit up, and the aliens flip out. The movie flips out, too, this incredible feat (sitting up) is really glorified as being an unparalleled display of strength and fortitude, and honestly, they had very, very little dirt on them when it happened. You also could have sat up and survived this alien torture, were it you in their shoes. It’s absurd, but the film doesn’t appear to realize this, and the truth is, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam is full of ridiculous shit exactly like that. All Turkish pop cinema is! Where Turkish Star Wars strays from the pack, however,  is that it’s both wacky as fuck, and somehow, boring as hell. Most of you wouldn’t survive this film in a single sitting, and that’s the sad truth. In order to reach Turkish Star Wars, you must first travel through numerous lesser nonsense films, or else it’s going to feel like the longest 90 minutes of your life.


That’s Turish Darth Vader, by the way.

Yeah… It’s not that great. Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam ‘s notoriety is 100% due to it’s unlicensed connection to Star Wars, rather than any distinction it may have earned in it’s own right, positive or negative. Clearly, this is a complete piece of shit, but it’s not the shittiest of its ilk, nor is it even the craziest. So far as that goes, Turkish Star Wars is actually pretty middle of the road. People who like these movies tend to do so because of their high spirited enthusiasm, and wild, reckless abandon, but if you don’t come into Turkish cinema with a positive attitude and some hardcore rose-tinted glasses, it’s going to give you ample reason to hate on it with every fiber of your being. Whatever your take on Turkish cinema as a whole, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam is an experience to be had.


“FFFFUUUUUCCCCKKKK YYYYYOOOOUUUUUU, FFFURRRYYY MMMMAAANNNN!!!!!” – Murat. (P.S. This would make such an awesome poster.)



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Rebirth of Mothra III!!!!

Rebirth of Mothra III – 1998, Okihiro Yoneda – Japan


Alright, you guys… This is it. This is the tie breaker! This movie decides the fate of the Heisei Mothra trilogy… So far, we’ve got a kick ass first film and one sucky ass sequel. Rebirth of Mothra III is destined to tip the scales and be the deciding factor; will this trilogy will follow the Indianna Jones model (two rad films sandwiching a less than awesome middle movie) or if it will go the way of the Matrix franchise (one classic followed by two humiliating turds.)? There’s a lot riding on this film. What’s it gonna be, Toho? Can Rebirth of Mothra III salvage this series!?!

And the answer is: Well… Kinda. I guess.

The PLOT: Belvera, the villainous sister of our two tiny singing Mothra Maidens, hatches what must be her two billionth plan to rid the Earth of humans once and for all, and this time her evil scheme involves summoning King Ghidorah, here identified as the King of Terror, to come do her dirty work for her. Apparently, Ghidorah is actually the force which drove all dinosaur life to extinction way back before recorded history, so Belvera figures he’d be really good at doing the same thing to the human race. What she didn’t expect is that Ghidorah’s technique this time around would involve eating all the children of Japan on day one of his dragon occupation, which is pretty brutal. In order to do this, he first sucks them up into the sky using what appears to be magic and somehow transports them into a large, membranous dome, for safe keeping, kind of like a giant kaiju cookie jar. He also uses his evil psychic influence to possess Lora, one of the good little Mothra people, and turns her against her sister Mol. Some lines get crossed this time around that we haven’t seen crossed before, which really elevates the drama. Off to a good start!

Meanwhile, our principle human character is Shota Sonoda, a moody, sensitive boy who, I would approximate to be in the tween or early teen demographic… Can’t say for sure. Anyhow, Shota’s super mopey, and he has recently decided that he just isn’t going to go to school anymore, which, inexplicably, seems to be accepted as a decision he has the right to make by his parents and society. Can you do that in Japan? Just not go to school? Thank goodness you don’t have that option in America. The literacy rate would drop to zero within one generation’s time. Anyway, Shota’s aversion to school actually pays off when Ghidorah pays a little visit to the one place in town that promises the best crop of young’un’s for his giant dragon snack drawer, but his little brother and sister are not so lucky. They get sucked away into Ghidorah’s magical kid transportation device, and Shota decides he’s gotta do something about it.

Shota is also meant to hold together the narrative and provide a connection between the human world and the monster filled world of the Elias (that’s what the tiny women are actually called), which he does effectively. The Elias sisters really do have quite a lot going on in RoMIII, and it’s not inaccurate to suggest that they sort of occupy center stage for most of the film. After Lora has her brain invaded by the cold, menacing stare of Ghidorah and goes all stab happy on Mol, she and Belvera both wind up stuck inside Ghidorah’s Snack pod, destined to be munched up by a nigh impervious, three-headed hell dragon from space in the very near future. That shit ain’t good. Mol is, at this point, at her lowest, and isolated from her two sisters the same way that Shota is from his family, so the two of them happen upon one another and decide to join forces and summon Mothra to come save the day. This all sounds promising enough, but we’re coming up on a major hurdle that RoMIII doesn’t exactly clear, so heads up.

You see, other than some unforgivably bad CG, this movie has managed to to kick ass pretty reliably up until this point, but this is the moment where Rebirth of Mothra III really starts to push its luck. It kinda goes without saying that Mothra on his/her best day really is no match for Ghidorah, perhaps the most formidable of Godzilla’s scaley, giant rogues gallery, and understanding this to be true, Mol announces a plan to give Mothra an edge. This plan relies heavily upon…

…Time travel.


The last, and only other time Toho has attempted to work time travel into one of their ‘Zilla-Verse films was the horrible, jaw-droppingly stupid Godzilla VS King Ghidorah, which was released seven years prior. Godzilla VS King Ghidorah made no sense whatsoever, it was an unmitigated disaster, a direct insult to human intelligence, and the single worst time travel film I have ever seen in my life. For Toho to be halfway home with the best instalment of a better than average trilogy and then to borrow so heavily from one of its worst fumbles of all time is a decision I can’t possibly wrap my mind around. Who thought this was a good idea? If I was reading this script my heart would have stopped the first time I saw “back in time” printed on a page. Oh, hell no, not again…

But here we are, with our second Toho film of the 1990’s to include both time travel and King Ghidorah. So… How does Rebirth of Mothra III compare to the epic fart in an elevator that was Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah?

Much, much better, thankfully, but that’s saying almost nothing. Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah suffered from a terminally convoluted plot and time travel that was excruciatingly nonsensical. In this movie, they handle the basic concepts involved with traveling through time much better (as in, the movie doesn’t seem like it was written by a six year old), but the story is still plagued by strange and embarrassing lapses in basic logic. Truth time: Toho should just stay the fuck away from time travel. No good has ever come of it, they just don’t seem to understand it, and they sure as shit don’t know how to use it in a story. I love that studio, and I make this statement out of a desire to see them do well, but so far, these attempts at time travel movies have been shameful detours into a world of madness and stupidity, and I just think enough is enough.

Anyway… Mothra goes back in time to throw down with a slightly younger Ghidorah, who is, at that time, munching down on some super dumb looking dinosaur hand puppets. The two monsters start to kick one another’s ass, and we periodically cut back to present day, where we see Ghidorah thrashing about in pain, basically the time travel equivalent of “Oh, I remember when that moth dude fought me back in the Cretaceous era, I’m really upset about that now!” Amongst all of this commotion, fire, death, destruction, and kidnapped, hysterical Japanese children, Belevera suddenly has her moment of clarity. Apparently, when she worked tirelessly toward a species wide genocide for all those countless centuries, she just wasn’t really thinking it through. Now that it looks like she managed to actually pull it off, Belvera starts get’s cold feet and opts to pull the plug on the whole deal.

This is a major emotional beat in the movie, and it’s what basically justifies the argument that Belvera is our main character. Now totally a good guy after all, Belvera does a historic flip flop back to Team Mothra, thereby uniting all of our principle cast against the menace of King Ghidorah, who currently getting his ass kicked millions of years ago by Mothra, but only just now is reacting to it, apparently.

Back in the Dino-Days, Mothra manages to toss Baby Ghidorah into a volcano, a means of monster disposal with a less than stellar success rate, but we still pretend that this was a victory and that Ghidorah is totally dead. The cost was high, however; critically injured in the showdown, Mothra crashes into the Earth, essentially down for the count. He/She/It is soon saved by the mercifull cocoons of some wiggley little Mothra Larvae who happen upon him/her, and there Mothra waits, cloaked in the nourishing embrace of caterpillar silk. until present day, when he can explode out of the Earth like a shiny, winged Jack-In-The-Box.

So, things seem all good with our happy little characters back in modern day Japan, but everyone is a little confused about how they even know who Ghidorah is if he had been killed millions of years ago. I count this as a major victory, because it illustrates a much more advanced understanding of what going back in time would actually do than was ever evident in the aforementioned Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah, which was, again, the ramblings of a simpleton made celluloid, and I totally am willing to dismiss the fact that if King Ghidorah was the thing that killed off all the dinosaurs, then killing him back in the Cretaceous period would therefore result in a future still dominated by giant lizards and humans probably wouldn’t exist. That’s, like, the kind of stuff Toho will learn about in school next year, but at least they’re progressing.

Suddenly, and in an abuse of common sense which is mild in serverity, a firey, volcano charged King Ghidorah suddenly appears in the center of a floating ball of flame, and all the kids get zapped right back into his alternate universe dragon cookie jar or whatever. “Oh, shit, what now?!” Everyone says. Just then, a mountainside gives way, revealing Mothra’s ancient cocoon, and it cracks open to reveal a new, shiny, super Mothra, which kicks Ghidorah’s ass. This final Mothra redesign feels lame and over the top to me. If the four winged Mothra from the last movie is X-Wing Mothra, this is basically Jason X Mothra. Anyway. So, super metal future Mothra kills Ghidorah, oh boy, happy ending.

From an early point it’s obvious that this was a movie with a lot more talent behind it than Rebirth of Mothra II was, and you can really feel the jump in quality just pouring out of the screen from the very start of the picture. Without question, we’ve left that regrettable middle child of a film in the dust, and that’s excellent news. As for wether or not this beats the first film in the trilogy; I think the jury is still out, but it’s close. The foray into time travel is a hard blow to overcome, it’s not a mortal wound exactly, we can cope, but this thing would have been King of Mothra mountain and now it really can’t make that claim. As for how the rest of the film holds up, many of the effects are pretty lousy, which is par for the course from Toho’s post Showa output, but it’s shot really well and the plot feels much more dramatic, which is excellent. The time travel thing really is RoMIII greatest flaw, but beyond that, it’s one of Toho’s better films out of the 1990’s, and it’s certainly better than many of Godzilla’s more recent adventures.

The themes we see in Rebirth of Mothra III are, much like the first film, themes of unity, and the reconciliation of the family. Our humans, the Sonoda family, are a refreshing departure from the Gotoh family (our characters in the first movie), because they’re not in the least bit fractured by emotional issues or inter-personal drama. This is a family who is close emotionally, and so they are instead separated physically, by a damn dragon. Regarding our other characters, we get a much closer look into the family drama facing the three Elias sisters than we have in the past, and the film is very much about the redemption of Belvera and the healing of whatever rift tore the three of them apart to begin with, which is interesting. Oddly enough, RoMIII is much less interested in exploring environmental ethics than it’s two predecessors, which is a curious switch up. Up till this point it seemed like this was Toho’s Eco-concious fable trilogy, but those ideas have been pushed way off into the background here, for whatever reason. I don’t miss them, honestly.

It’s pretty strong, all in all, but Rebirth of Mothra III suffers from it’s time travel gaffs and would have been better off without the over-complication. Still recommended!


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