Mothra vs. Godzilla
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The 1964 film Mothra vs. Godzilla is the fourth film of the Godzilla franchise and second of the Mothra that were matched up after the success of King Kong vs. Godzilla two years before and the successful solo 1961 Mothra film. The screenplay was written by Sinichi Sekizawa following up his work on the 1961 film while Ishiro Honda directed his fifth kaiju film.
A typhoon wrecks the coast of Japan and the aftermath is covered by reporter Ichiro Sakai and photographer Junko Nakanishi and unknowingly find a radioactive scale from Godzilla. Later that day, a giant egg is discovered off shore and the duo go to investigate it, trying to interview Professor Shunsuke Miura who is testing the egg when he is stopped by entrepreneur Kumayama who has bought the egg from local villagers to make it a tourist attraction. Kumayama is the front man for Jiro Torahata of Happy Enterprises and during a meeting they are confronted by a tiny pair of twins who want the egg released, but they try to grab the girls. Sakai, Nakanishi, and Miura are meet in the same hotel when they come across the twins and agree to help them, but their efforts come to naught and the twins leave with Mothra to Infant Island. The Godzilla emerges from under typhoon debris then begins ravaging the countryside, killing Torahata after he kills Kumayama after the two have a falling out, even though the Japanese and American militaries attempt to stop it. Sakai, Nakanishi, and Miura go to Infant Island to ask Mothra for help though they have to convince the atomically assaulted natives and the twins to allow them to speak to the native kaiju. Mothra agrees knowing it’ll soon die and battles Godzilla to protect its egg but can’t last, but Godzilla loses interest in the egg when the military reappears. The egg hatches and two larvae emerge and battle Godzilla, forcing it to retreat to the sea before heading to Infant Island.
With a runtime of 88 minutes, the film is an attempt by Honda to be a message of warning for the consequences of atomic warfare however unlike the original film that message is undermined. Without a doubt the best features of this film are the top-notch special effects and the kaiju battle in the last third of the picture. Unfortunately, the lead up to the kaiju showdown was underwhelming as the human subplots were well written either because they didn’t make sense, meandered, or had no point other than just taking up screen time to get to the kaiju battle. The Kumayama/Torahata subplot was a total waste of time as it added nothing to the overall film though sent the other human subplots on tangents that hurt those subplots.
Mothra vs. Godzilla is built on the kaiju battle and delivers, however the road to get there meandered in sense or had no point that it frustrates the viewer that just wants to see Mothra and Godzilla go at it. Given that these two kaiju are probably the two most popular in the genre that this film is so poor is disappointing but if you can make it through the first two-thirds of the film the battle delivers.