Director: Takao Okawara
Writer: Kazuki Ohmori
Cast: Tetsuya Bessho, Satomi Kobayashi, Takehiro Murata, Saburo Shinoda, Akiji Kobayashi, Akira Takarada, Makoto Otake, Keiko Imamura, Sayaka Osawa, Megumi Odaka, Tetsu Watanabe, Shin’ya Owada, Shoji Kobashi, Susumu Kurobe, Shin Tatsuma, Shiori Yonezawa, Yoshiko Tanaka, Koichi Ueda, Kenpachiro Satsuma, and ‘Hurricane Ryu’ Hariken
Composer: Akira Ifukube
Release Date: 12/12/1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
While visiting Infant Island, an archaeological team discovers two fairies who explain that, in retaliation for man’s abuse of the environment, the Earth will unleash Battra—an evil moth daikaiju—upon human civilization. Despite defending Tokyo from Battra, Mothra—guardian of the fairies—encounters a secondary threat in the form of Godzilla.
Combining the narrative structure of Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) with the adventure-themed aspects of a Steven Spielberg movie, Godzilla vs. Mothra (also known as Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth) may captivate the interest of kaiju eiga enthusiasts. This offering should, however, evoke criticism for its drawn-out monster fights, unappealing human characters, and preachy environmental subtext.
Godzilla vs. Mothra deserves praise for its enchanting musical soundtrack, scored by Toho veteran Akira Ifukube with special performances from the Cosmos—a Japanese singing duo consisting of Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa. Especially poignant are Ifukube’s updated arrangements of “Sacred Springs,” “Mothra’s Song,” and “Mahara Mosura”—all of which will stir the emotions of lifelong kaiju fans and series newcomers alike.
In addition to lasting far longer than necessary, the climactic amusement park scene is marred by one logical flaw: as opposed to his counterpart from the 1964 version, the Heisei Godzilla never employs his atomic breath to set Mothra’s wings ablaze—a tactic that would result in immediate victory for the king of monsters.
Also problematic is Godzilla vs. Mothra’s lack of a clear, sympathetic protagonist. Specifically, viewers may have a difficult time relating to Takuya (Tetsuya Bessho), an Indiana Jones rip-off; Masako (Satomi Kobayashi), Takuya’s nagging ex-wife; and Midori (Shiori Yonezawa), the ridiculous daughter of Masako and Takuya.
In contrast to the Showa-era installments, Godzilla vs. Mothra tends to overemphasize its environmentalist, anti-corporate sentiments to the point of self-parody, with one character claiming that the destruction caused by Mothra, Battra, and Godzilla is the Earth’s way of “getting its revenge” on mankind.
Godzilla vs. Mothra is a superfluous remake of one of the greatest Japanese monster movies ever produced. Nevertheless, this film benefits from many ethereal and action-heavy—albeit poorly paced—daikaiju battles.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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