on February 11, 2004
1964's "Godzilla vs. Mothra," (originally released in the U.S. as "Godzilla vs. The Thing" as a publicity gimmick to hide the identity of Godzilla's adversary) is the best of the many sequels to the original "Godzilla." The film series reached a level of wonderful pop-culture entertainment here: imaginative effects, gripping and simple story-line, and fantastic monster mashing. It's actually a smart, well-put together movie, something that people who look down on Japanese monster movies as silly and stupid would never expect. And it is LOADS of fun.
This film followed up quickly on the massive success of "King Kong vs. Godzilla." The studio, Toho, wanted Godzilla to go up against another `name' monster, and selected one of their own: the gigantic moth/caterpillar Mothra, who had starred the hit 1961 film "Mothra." The story has Godzilla returning to wreck havoc on Japan (this is the last time for many years that Godzilla would be the unquestioned `bad guy'), defying the military's numerous ingenious -- but ineffective -- attempts to stop him. The one hope for humanity lies in recruiting Mothra to take on the big lizard. But the people of Infant Island where Mothra lives are reluctant to help because two unscrupulous businessmen have captured Morthra's lost egg and turned it into a sideshow attraction. When they refuse to surrender the egg, it begins to look like Godzilla will get to have his way with Japan unopposed...
The film is absolutely loaded with stunning effects and action sequences. Godzilla's initial rampage in Nagoya is a knock-out, with the Big-G smashing a radio tower and Nagoya castle to the ground (Haruo Nakajima, the actor inside the suit, does a wonderful performance in this scene). The Godzilla suit used in this movie, known as the "Mosu-Goji" to fans, is beautiful: sleek, evil, and extremely personable. The two confrontations between Godzilla and Mothra, the first time in moth form, the second time in caterpillar form, are the best monster fights in all of the G-movies. Effects wizard Eiji Tsubaraya finds creative ways to have the monsters tackle each other, and the music from Akira Ifukube just keeps building and building. The finale is as exciting as anything you'll see in a big effects film from any country.
The human scenes are very effective as well, with good performances all around from actors like Kenji Sahara and Akira Takarada, regulars in monster movies. Director Ishiro Honda provides his customary humanitarian touch to the story, and he takes it with an appropriate level of seriousness. No doubt about it, Honda was a great director, and in his hands, giant monster movies could seem like more than just light entertainment.
The version on this disc is the dubbed American version. The Japanese language version with subtitles is superior -- a five-star rating easily -- but has never been available on a home video format (someone should really do something about this!). However, this is probably the best dubbed version ever of a Godzilla film. The voice acting is quite good, and almost nothing has been changed or edited from the original. Actually, a scene has been added, involving a U.S. military ploy to attack Godzilla with newly developed missiles. (Guess how effective that is.) The only real trouble with the dubbing is that the characters sometimes refer to Mothra as "the Thing" and other times by its real name, which is pretty strange sounding.
The disc has nothing in the way of real extras. Also, the advertised 5.1 stereo is a cheat: the producers of the disc added a few extra sound effects here and there for the back speakers -- such as when Godzilla is being electrified or when tanks are firing -- that sound tinny, awful, and unconnected to the actual film. Stick with the original mono option.
Even dubbed, "Godzilla vs. Mothra" is a four-star film and a must for anyone who loves giant monsters or just wants to have a good time on a Saturday night with friends. ROAR ON GODZILLA!
on February 23, 2007
There have been three "series" of Godzilla movies: the Showa series, which includes all films released from 1954-1975, the Heisei series, which includes all films released from 1984-1995, and the Millennium series, which includes all films released from 1999-2004. The Showa series holds all the classics, and excluding the original, nothing is more classic than 1964's MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA. Much like GOLDFINGER (released the same year), which was almost universally considered to be the finest James Bond film prior to the release of CASINO ROYALE, by all explanations MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA shouldn't be so good. Nevertheless, it is inexplicably the finest sequel in the Showa series.
The plot involves a mysterious giant egg that washes up on the shores of Japan, attracting the attention of greedy businessmen who "purchase" the egg. Meanwhile, a scientist, a reporter, and a rookie photographer are trying to discover what the egg really belongs to when they encounter two small fairies, who tell them that the egg is Mothra's egg. Mothra is, of course, a giant moth, who made her debut in her own kaiju flick, 1961's MOTHRA (also directed by the great Ishiro Honda). Though the trio tries to convince the businessmen to return the egg to Mothra, they will do no such thing. Then who emerges to liven things up but the Big G himself, looking more ferocious than he did before or did in any film afterwards. Can Mothra protect her egg and save Japan from the menace of Godzilla, or will Japan's worst (and biggest) enemy be having scrambled eggs for his next entree?
Ishiro Honda really knew what he was doing with this film. The pacing is perfect: not too rushed, but not slow to the point where one begins screaming for a monster to pop up and wreak some havoc. The screenplay is humorous and very fun, and Akira Ifukube's music is spectacular. The Godzilla suit used for this film, "Mosugoji", is a fan favorite due to its more nasty, reptilian look. Mothra herself is a seemingly silly opponent, but her battle(s) with Godzilla are surprisingly interesting. The best scene of the film is Godzilla's first appearance, sudden, with no foreshadowing. I won't ruin it for you if you haven't seen the film, but it's my favorite Godzilla entrance ever.
I cannot congratulate Sony Wonder enough for their recent Godzilla DVD releases. For a longtime fan like me, they're a dream come true - gorgeous packaging, delectable restoration, sumptuous bonus features, and both the Japanese AND English version (the English version of MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA, titled GODZILLA VS. THE THING, actually contains extra footage not in the Japanese version!). It's quite the package; if you're a Godzilla fan, don't hesitate to pick it up. MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA is the best sequel of the Showa series, and a reminder of just how fun "evil Godzilla" was before the series descended into silliness with the subsequent entries.
'Godzilla vs. Mothra' is one of my favorite in the Godzilla series. It is still early enough (1964) to be serious, yet more decidedly less dark in tone than the original. In this one Godzilla is still a bad guy, and Mothra, a giant moth, is summoned from Monster Island with the help of two miniature singing muses and some natives. Ultimately Mothra almost overcomes Godzilla with some great rubber monster fights along the way (and all the toy airplanes, tanks, boats, etc., that comes with them), but it is a 'Lion King' (or "Circle of Life", if you prefer) moment as Mothra dies atop her egg, which is being coaxed to hatch by some very imaginative chanting. The two grubs that emerge from the egg are out for vengeance and taunt Godzilla with several wily maneuvers before cocooning him in silk and dumping him into the ocean. The sight of the two grubs swimming off into the sunset is particularly delicious for fans of the series.
The movie is well made for the era, and I think the English dubbing is better than in most of the Godzilla films. Likewise the script is more mature than the bulk of the Godzilla series, which in general I like, although it becomes a bit preachy about the anti-nuclear stuff (Ishiro Honda is the greatest director of the Japanese monster movies, but subtlety is not one of his more admired filmmaking attributes.) The film does, however, serve its desired function as a comment on greed and avarice admirably.
I recommend 'Godzilla vs. Mothra' highly, and no fan of Japanese cinema or monster movies should be without it. It is available as a single DVD or part of a Godzilla five-pack, which I recommend highly: it's a bargain at any price!
on December 27, 1999
"Mothra vs. Godzilla" (the correct title, not the other way around) is not just a great Godzilla film. It is also a landmark for Japanese special effects, especially when compared with its predecessor, "King Kong vs. Godzilla". The annoying blue matte lines that marred the latter are gone, and the Godzilla suit used in this movie (referred to as the "Mosu-Goji" suit by hardcore fans) is among the best designs of the entire series. The plot is also solid; not only does the story flow smoothly and logically, but it is also a clever jab at the excesses of rampant commercialism--as was the case in 1960's "Mothra". Ishiro Honda supplies deft direction, while stars Akira Takarada and Yoriko Hoshii both give excellent performances as a newspaper reporter and photographer, respectively. The battles between Godzilla and Mothra (both in larval and adult form) are first-rate--Eiji Tsubaraya's imaginative special effects are astounding for the period, and hold up well even by today's standards. Also of note is one of Akira Ifukube's best scores, combining the famous Godzilla and Mothra themes seamlessly...thankfully the American version keeps all of which intact. The English dubbing is also unusually good. If you're looking for any G-film to own besides the historic original "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters", this is the one to get--quite simply, it has everything that a good sci-fi or action-adventure flick should have. For the price, it's a bargain.
on April 4, 2007
Without a doubt not only the best made Godzilla film of the old series but
one of the greatest giant monster films foreign or domestic. After a violent
storm a huge egg appears floating off Japan's Karada beach where its quickly
brought to shore and put in a huge incubator for public exploitation. All of
those involved soon find out that this lost egg belongs to the god of infant
island "Mothra" and must be returned as told by the two tiny representatives
(the Peanut sisters) but their cries fall short of the greedy opportuntist
Things become worse when Godzilla appears (and not in the best of moods)With
Japan (and American) weapons unable to stop this Titan. The only hope now is
that of Mothra but will the natives of infant island be reluctant to help those who refused them? This sets the stage for a truly great scifi/Fantasy tale as only Toho could weave.
Great on so many levels this was one of the few serious Godzilla entries
of the series and it shows in the care of it's production From the pacing
of the film's story to Eji's Special Effects (Godzilla never looked more
menacing) to Akira's greatest score ever! I never get tired of watching
this film one of my favorite moments other then the titled bout itself is Godzilla's first weary & confused appearance as he slowly stomps his way
toward Japan's more populated areas (I always thought of this the after
effect of his fight with King Kong from "King Kong vs. Godzilla" but that
is probably just me.)
The Newly Released version by Classic Media is the best restored version
yet whether your watching the Original Japanese Version or the American
Dubbed version you love the clean up The Japan version is in 2.31 format
while the American Version is formatted to fit 16x9 Televisions. Extra
features are in the form of a well meaning tribute to Music Master Akira
Ifukube and a poster slide show with an Original Japanese Trailer. I look
forward to sampling future attractive thin cased Media classics.
on November 3, 2006
The Godzilla suit is of the finest ever created for any Godzilla flick, except King Kong vs. Godzilla 1962( my opinion).This really is the the last great Godzilla movie ever made. After 1964 Godzilla had some shining moments in his later movies, but Godzilla movies from 1965 on were made with absolute sillieness and really no seriousness. The one exception was Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster 1966 this had some sillieness but had just enough seriousness to make it an adequate Godzilla movie. The 1970s were Godzillas whimp stage and his movies showed it. Sony Wonder does an excellent job with the film transfer and sound as it did with Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster and Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (1971). You almost swear Godzilla vs. Mothra was filmed a few years ago, (not 43 years ago). the same could be said with the other two titles I mentioned. The one point I will bring out in this review is the genius of Ikira Ifakube. Ifakubes music score for Godzilla movies were used repeatedly in later Godzilla movies, but in Godzilla vs.Thing Ifakubes musical art is clearly heard in this film. Note when Mothra first arrives as Godzilla is ready to destroy the egg, Godzilla stares at Mothra ready to battle, the camera zooms closely on Godzillas face and all you hear is Ifakubes echoey like symbols in the background you really feel Godzillas fury. Story, music aside Amazingly and effective you feel the action and emotion in this film thanks to the directing of Inoshiro Honda and Akira Ifakubes brilliant music score.This movie does have a message to it about over land development and greedy humans of rich wealthy companies that don't care about nature or the enviroment they only care about development for profit. As Godzilla is trouncing Japan you see large scale factories being destroyed, portraying mankinds over development and pollution of the enviroment in the name of profit. Godzilla vs. Mothra shows how sometimes these greedy wealthy humans get more than they bargained for. The Mothra twins are cool and capture the 1960s with a flower power punch. I just wish the ending would have had Godzilla triumph. This movie really is a sci-fi epic I dont care what any fan or critics say. Godzilla vs. Mothra (or the Thing) is an incredible sci-fi adventure to be enjoyed by old and new G fans alike. The 1960s Toho Pictures golden age.................
The original Godzilla vs Mothra was one of the best sequels of the first Godzilla series, and this new movie ranks as perhaps the greatest Godzilla movie of all time. I love Mothra; he's the only monster I pull for over Godzilla. This movie is quite different from the original--of course, this modern Godzilla series takes place in a world where Mothra and Godzilla have never met before now. A fairly large meteorite crashes in the Pacific Ocean, and--wouldn't you know it?--it splashes down at the very place Godzilla has been napping underneath the ocean. Awakened so rudely, Godzilla decides to attack Japan. Meanwhile, the meteorite impact sets in motion a series of natural disasters. An Indiana Jones-type thief is sent to Infant Island to look into the effects on the environment there. He is accompanied by his ex-wife, and the back and forth banter between them is priceless. When a gigantic egg is found to have surfaced, they begin dragging it back to Japan, along with the twins of Infant Island, who represent "the cosmos." Soon Godzilla shows up, the egg opens, and a small-scale fight between Godzilla and Mothra in his larva form breaks out. Battra also then shows up to crash the party. Battra is an ancient monster which Mothra defeated long ago. Whenever earth is threatened, Mothra is reborn along with his enemy Battra. Soon, both Godzilla and Battra are attacking Japan, and Mothra is also doing great damage due to his efforts to rescue the twins, who have been kidnapped. Everything culminates in a huge fight involving Godzilla, Mothra in his moth form, and Black Mothra, Battra in his similar moth form. It is not quite accurate to say that Godzilla must fight both Mothra and Black Mothra; at the outset of the struggle, it is Mothra who is confronted with two mortal enemies.
The special effects are amazing, with plenty of explosions and destruction, with one exception--when Mothra and Black Mothra are shown flying above a city landscape, it looks awfully fake. I was delighted to see Mothra finally given some offensive firepower in the form of laser-blasting antennae; still, both Godzilla and Battra possess much greater firepower. One thing I found disappointing was the new history of Infant Island. No longer is Mothra worshipped by natives on the island; only the twins live there, and they are "the cosmos," serving to keep earth's forces in balance. Luckily, they still sing the Mothra song I love to hear for some reason, and they are still quite small.
While all Godzilla movies contain a degree of environmentalist rhetoric, this film is loaded with it. Earth herself is described as a living being who is exacting revenge, in the form of Black Mothra, against the humans who have done such damage to the environment. The fact that a meteorite from outer space triggers this whole set of events seems strange, especially since Mothra never appeared to safeguard the earth when men were testing nuclear weapons.
The Godzilla movies of the 1990s are really incredible. While you might expect the whole Godzilla theme to be getting old after several decades, the Japanese are actually making these movies better and better. While the special effects offered by modern technology contribute a lot to the success of the new movies, the commitment to plot development (no matter how weird the plot) is what really makes these movies so fascinating and enjoyable. In the 60s and 70s, producers of Godzilla movies really didn't seem to care whether or not their movies were good at all. They care now, and it shows. We had to wait a few years here in America to get access to these newest movies, but the wait was definitely worth it.
on January 9, 2000
This does have the choice between pann and scann and Letterbox format, but the rest of the DVD is sucky. They could have presented the film subtitled in it's original Japanese version, with the Jpanese and American trailers and with Special effects outakes and the American sequince but they didn't do that. However, the Widescreen presentation is crystal clear and this looks 100 tiumes better than the rather dispappointing Japanese laserdisk (that had kind of muted colors and was OVERLY letterboxed (it was like in 2.76:1). This is dubbed but it's not bad at all. The only problem with AIP's Titan Productions dubbing is that it's kind of garbled and hard to make out, though it's better than most of Toho's international version dubbing. The real problem though is the pathetic extras, the fake trailers which are just video advertisemnets and the pathetic picture gallery. However, this is one of Honda's greatest masterpeices and Japan's best sci-fi films, though it is bested by Matango, Magic Serpent and Goke. If only they could release those films on DVD. This bests all of Honda's other monster movies (exept for Matango), even the original Godzilla and Mothra. All in all, if you can get past the sucky DVD extras, get this film.
on May 5, 2004
One of my favorite Godzilla films of all-time is also considered to be one of the greatest by the majority of the fanbase. This film never seems to get dull and is more and more exciting each time you watch it!
Presented in its original format, it is expected to have some faded colors and some dust spots. The color, while not as crisp, is still very good. There are few dust marks on the DVD. Much less than what some people make out to be.
You have the choice of Mono or Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo. It is automatically set to the stereo which would give you a better experience with the film, but the Mono is also good if you are curious as to how the film may have sounded like in Japanese theaters in 1964.
Not much in the way of extras. There is the Nintendo Gamecube promo for the Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee video game. But other than that, you really aren't going to find anything spectacular on this.
A very great film and DVD. The set it also comes in (the 5 disc set) is also a worthwhile buy. But fans who have the Simitar version of the film will not want to pick this one up because they are basically the same. The only difference being the menu layout and the Gamecube promo for the Godzilla video game. For fans who do not have this, this DVD still should be relatively easy to find along with the 5 disc set as well. In fact, you may be able to find this in a bargain bin for under $10 or $5 by itself.
on May 23, 2007
This is one of the best re-issue DVD series I've seen in a long time. Classic Media knows what we want and gives it to us.
* A great-looking transfer of a classic film.
* Informative commentary
* Not too expensive
The best thing about this series of re-issues, is, of course, the inclusion of the dubbed American versions alongside the original Japanese versions. This allows the hardcore Godzilla fans to see the movies as they were originally made, while giving stoned couch potatoes the campy dubbed verisons they remember from Saturday afternoon Creature Features ("Hey look! His lips are moving but he's not making any sound! Haw haw haw haw!").
A lot of DVD companies would either confuse the consumer with two separate releases, or release "Deluxe 2-DVD" versions of every movie (as with the original Godzilla movie), but Classic Media gets it right by putting both versions on the same disc and releasing it at an affordable price (with great graphics to boot).
It doesn't hurt, either, that this is one of the best of the original Godzilla sequels, presented in all its fabulous widescreen Tohoscope glory. Even if you're just a casual Godzilla fan, this one belongs in your collection. As for me, I can't wait for the release of the Ghidorah movies and War of the Gargantuas later this year! Godzilla-lovers rejoice!