Mothra first graced the Silver Screen in 1961 and first fought Godzilla in 1964. Mothra appeared in a few more films until 1968 then went dormant for some time while Godzilla films continued on. Mothra once again faced off against Godzilla in 1992 before getting her own trilogy starting in 1996. Presented here is that trilogy.
We start out with Rebirth Of Mothra or simply Mothra as it was released in Japan. An evil monster has arrived on Earth called Desghidorah (or Death Ghidorah) to destroy humanity and it’s up to Mothra to save us all. On Mothra’s side, as always, are the tiny twins, the Elias sisters, that sing the song that summons Mothra, Moll and Lora. They find a young brother and sister to help them out. Controlling Desghidorah and trying to wipe out humanity is Moll and Lora’s evil sister Belvera. There is very much an environmental message in this film specifically on the dangers of deforestation.
The thing I find interesting about this entire trilogy is that they are all kid movies, which I wasn’t expecting. They are all very Gamera in that way. The kids are very much the focus of these films when the focus isn’t on giant monsters fighting.
In the Rebirth of Mothra, for example, it is the mistake of a parent that unleashes Desghidorah and it is up to his kids, and the good Elias sisters, to help Mothra save the day.
Up next is Rebirth Of Mothra II or Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle as it was released in Japan, a much cooler title I think. Again we get a heavy environmentalist message, this time, dumping in the ocean. A new monster, Dagahra, is destroying coastal towns and littering the ocean with dangerous starfish looking creatures.
This time around it is up to a little girl and two boys that have been bullying her, but ultimately ends up being a friend to her, to help Moll and Lora and Mothra stop Dagahra. Belvera doesn’t have a big a role in this one; she is trying to steal a hidden treasure for her own nefarious plans, but that is secondary to the dangers of Dagahra. Rebirth Of Mothra II, even more than the first, feels like a kids adventure film along the lines of The Goonies or The Neverending Story
Lastly we have Rebirth of Mothra III or Mothra 3: King Ghidorah Attacks. As the Japanese title suggests, this time around Mothra takes on one of the biggest bads of the Godzilla universe: King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah arrives on Earth and begins kidnapping all of Japan’s children and imprisoning them in a giant globe in the forest. Mothra isn’t strong enough to take on Ghidorah so Moll sends Mothra back in time 130 million years to the first time Ghidorah came to Earth and wasn’t as strong.
In this one the Elias sisters story grows more complex as Belvera realizes the danger of Ghidorah and decides to team up with her sisters to face this common evil, at the same time Ghidorah possesses Lora, making her turn on Moll. The kid this time around is a young man who is too scared to even go to school and is forced to face his fears to help the sisters and Mothra save the day. Unlike the two previous films, this one doesn’t really push an environmental message.
All three of these films are pretty fun, both as Kaiju films and as kid films. Being geared for kids these three Mothra tales take on a different focus than other Kaiju films, having a much lighter story, while still having some great monster battles. Being released between 96 and 98, there is some computer effects used here, but most of the effects in these films are old school practical effects, which is great. It might make these films look a little dated to some people, but those who appreciate guys in giant rubber costumes fighting each other will appreciate what is presented here.
By no means are these the best films in the Godzilla universe. If you’re going to watch your first Mothra film I’d certainly start with the original 1961 film, however, if you like Mothra and want some more sweet giant moth action, these movies will fill that void.
The films are presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo sound. This my first time seeing these films, but I imagine these films have never looked better. They are very bright vibrant, the colors really pop. They also have really great scores. The sound is mixed very well. I tried watching the English dubbed version of the first film, but it was pretty terrible. I highly recommend watching them with subtitles.
You get trailers and teasers for each film, which are pretty fun to watch.
I’ve seen a lot of Godzilla films, but I’ve never really paid attention to the more recent films. I was expecting the worst, but these three Mothra films are a lot of fun and are definitely safe to share with your kids and as these a very much kid-focused films.
Sony Pictures and Toho present Rebirth Of Mothra I, II, III. All written by: Masumi Suetani. I and III directed by: Okihiro Yoneda. II directed by Kunio Miyoshi. Starring: Megumi Kobayashi, Misato Tate and Aki Hano. Running time: 106, 100 and 100 min. Rating: Not Rated. Originally released in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Released: September 9, 2014.
Tags: Godzilla, Mothra