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"Godzilla vs. Mothra"

A Review by MistoNinja

As an avid kaiju fan, I can give a certain amount of leeway to these movies. The often campy horror mixed in with rotten English dubbing is no longer a tough pill to swallow for me. Asinine plots with meandering writing roll right off my back when presented with a nice dose of Godzilla blowing up Japan.

Yet "Godzilla Versus Mothra," keeps such problems to a bare minimum. This movie needs to be viewed not simply by kaiju eiga fans, but by everyone. Its messages for humanity are still yet to be heeded, and as they say, "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

The setting of "Godzilla Versus Mothra," is Japan in 1964. Naturally, the effects of World War II were still being felt in Japan, with especially high tensions in regard to atomic weaponry. The story gets rolling when a giant egg washes ashore in Japan, prompting a news investigation. Unfortunately, before the investigation can truly get underway, a greedy entrepreneur snatches up the rights to the egg so that his boss and he can construct a theme park centered around it as its main attraction. Tensions increase between the news team and the wealthy exploitation masters when ridiculously small twin women from Monster Island demand that the egg be returned. Of course, money makes the world go round and nothing can be done to persuade the business men to relinquish the egg. Not even the timely appearance of Godzilla.

Eventually, the news team goes to Monster Island, right off the coast of Japan, in order to plea for help against Godzilla. While reluctant at first, the denizens eventually agree to send Mothra to do battle with Godzilla, although such a deal only works as Mothra is eager to reclaim its egg.

Mothra and Godzilla have an interesting relationship. No, it's not a sexual one, but their life stories are quite similar. Godzilla was born from the radiation of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II, and Mothra was born from nuclear testing on Monster Island. This relationship seems to convey exactly the sides of good and evil: When dealing with unfortunate circumstance, will you aid people or will you destroy? Essentailly, thats what we're dealing with in terms of Mothra and Godzilla. Godzilla is the ultimate destroyer, and Mothra is the ultimate defender. Imagine things on a smaller scale, both idealogically and in terms of literal size, and you'll find a worthy comparison to our everyday life.

Of course, there's also the typical Godzilla message of the dangers of atomic experimentation. Radiation does no good to the world as "Godzilla Versus Mothra," tries despearately to convey. Buried beneath this, however, is an even more hopeful message of reincarnation and the generations to come: When Mothra first does battle with Godzilla, he fails to defeat the giant lizard and is killed. Mothra's egg hatches as a direct result of Mothra's death, as the twins explain earlier in the movie. Essentially, when Mothra dies he is reborn as the larvae from his egg. These larvae are eventually what defeat Godzilla. If you take things from a more theoritical perspective, "Godzilla Versus Mothra," is conveying a hope for the younger generation to do away with the terrible power of atomic bombs, but such a hope can only be carried on through the knowledge of the older generation. "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

Of course, the outer layer of this yolk is laden with delicious monster on monster action. Despite being made in the mid-1960's, "Godzilla Versus Mothra," boasts some impressive fight sequences. Naturally, everything is absolutely basking in the thick cheese that is kaiju eiga, so such impressive fight sequences often involve a man in a rubber suit wildly stepping on toy tanks. Yet this cheese is to be expected. What isn't so expected are those deep, involving messages that manage to be delivered even admist poor English dubbing and a man in a giant lizard suit. My only real complaint with this movie is with the ridiculous inhabitants of Monster Island: Japanese people painted red adorned in stereotypical tribal gear, complete with cliche worship rituals. It's a shame that a movie that excels in every other facet as to sink so low during those points of the story. Still, glimpses of a cheesy story do not hinder Godzilla Versus Mothra from being perhaps the finest kaiju eiga ever created.




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