Godzilla Vs. Mothra (review by Doug Smith)
There’s nothing quite like having a few beers and watching big rubber monsters duking it out on TV. And there you have my life, ladies and gentlemen. Anyway, released in 1964, “Godzilla Vs. Mothra” is the fourth film in the series that’s lasted nearly fifty years now, even surviving the doomed fate of the piece of crap American version that you-know-who puked up onto the screen. I have a feeling that if I ever review that movie, the dynamic duo that made it is going to try to sue me. Just bring it.
Akira Takarada plays Ichiro Sakai, a news reporter who does a lot of yelling at his new photographer, Junko “Yoka” Nakanishi. She’s played by Yuriko Hoshi. Hiroshi Koizumi plays the pessimistic Professor Miura. Yu Fujiki is the egg-eating, comic relief news reporter Jiro Nakamura. Emi and Yumi Ito are twin fairies, but not the same kind as the Brewer Twins. Most of these actors were in a lot of the Godzilla movies from the sixties, but always playing entirely different characters, except, of course, for the twins.
The movie opens with a big hurricane and HO scale models getting blown away. Some electric poles fall without even sparking. After the storm, Sakai and Yoka show up at a devastated construction site, where a cackling businessman shows up and tells them the project is still on schedule. He cackles some more and the reporter and photographer walk away and find some kind of iridescent chunk of something or other. And that’s that.
Now we go to the hustle and bustle of the newsroom, where a very bored sounding chief editor answers the phone. After he hangs up, he gets a little more excited and tells Nakamura, who’s “enjoying a egg” to go cover a story about a monster egg, which is the next thing we see. It apparently was washed up thanks to the hurricane. At times, it appears it’s only about 20 feet off shore and at other times, it looks like it’s a mile away. Must’ve been a weird current after that hurricane. Meanwhile, on shore, some old guy with a mop is doing a little worship dance. The locals don’t want to go out to sea, but the old guy convinces them that the gods will look after them.
Once the egg is on the beach, Professor Miura shows up, along with Sakai and Yoka, even though Nakamura was supposed to be the one covering the story. They start asking the professor questions, but he doesn’t have time. Just as he’s getting back to his experiments, Kumayama, “the great entrepreneur” shows up and announces that the egg belongs to him because the locals sold it to him. He stops Prof. Miura from doing any more tests and tells him that he can continue, for a small charge, of course. Then Kumayama blows smoke in Yoka’s camera.
Back at a hotel, Professor Miura and the reporters are suddenly best friends, even though Miura basically blew them off back at the beach. Yoka is very insulted by what Kumayama did and seems to have spent about an hour washing her camera. I don’t think a little puff of smoke would do that much damage.
It turns out that Kumayama is actually pretty much just a puppet for a much bigger businessman named Torahata. And, as luck would have it, Torahata is staying in the very same hotel! Sakai and company see Kumayama going up to Torahata’s room, so Sakai decides to go up and eavesdrop.
Meanwhile, inside the hotel room, the two businessmen are discussing their plans. It seems they’re going to make some kind of amusement park called “Happy Enterprises,” with the egg being the main attraction. I tell you, that name alone would make me want to go. The plan is to build a huge incubator for the egg, which seems to me to be a little questionable. I mean, they have no idea how much time the egg has until it hatches. What if they get the thing built and the egg hatches the next day? Oh well. Simply minor details, I guess.
They continue talking for a while and all of the sudden they hear high-pitched voices in stereo. They panic and hide the plans and Torahata checks his huge stash of money. Kumayama looks like he has an orgasm when he sees it. While the two of them are fumbling about, two tiny little ladies appear on the mantel, about six inches high. They talk in unison and condemn the men for what they’re planning. Being the crude businessmen that they are, Torahata and Kumayama try to capture the girls so they can have a dual feature at their amusement park. Amazingly, through a plot hole or something, the girls manage to escape. Just then, Sakai barges into the room, thinking the two men had a fight. They kick him out.
Sakai goes back to the professor and Yoka, who for some reason are now about a football field away from the hotel in the woods. They start talking and once again we hear the stereophonic high-pitched voices, asking for their egg back. The girls reveal to the trio that they’re from Mothra Island and the egg belongs to Mothra. Sakai is astonished. He apparently forgot that Mothra destroyed Tokyo about a year earlier. The girls reveal that eventually the egg will hatch and the larvae may cause great destruction. Sakai asks where the thing is. It’s been behind them the whole time. Yeah, I can see how they’d miss an orange, yellow and red moth with glowing blue eyes and that is bigger than three football fields.
Within 24 hours, an incubator for the egg is built. They must have Kathy Lee over there with a whip, driving the workers. Either that, or she’s just going on and on about the oh-so-great things that Cody has done and once the workers have finished the incubator, they don’t have to listen to it anymore. At any rate, while the finishing touches are being put on the amusement park, the professor and the two reporters, along with the twin fairies, try to convince the two businessmen to return the egg. They don’t, of course and at one point Torahata looks like he’s giving them the finger. The fairies get pissed off and leave.
About a day or so later, the incubation has begun and Sakai and Yoka get a call from the professor, asking them to come to his labs. They do and, as Nakamura is enjoying yet another egg, he once again gets assigned to the monster egg story. Get it? He likes hard-boiled eggs and he has to cover a monster egg story! HARD BOILED EGGS! MONSTER EGG STORY! HE HE!
Back at the Professor Miura’s lab, we find out that the reporters have been radioactive because that iridescent chunk of something or other that they found at the beginning of the movie was radioactive and they touched it. Miura decontaminates them and we never really do find out just what the iridescent chunk of stuff is. I think it’s supposed to a Godzilla scale or something because Sakai takes the professor back to where they found it and then Godzilla appears there. I don’t know, I could be wrong; maybe it’s just a radioactive, dried up chunk of cow flop.
As I was saying, Godzilla shows up and he has really floppy jowls and looks like he’s a stick puppet in some scenes. Naturally, panic ensues and there’s people running in every different direction. Godzilla’s very clumsy in this movie. He gets his tail caught in a tower and falls down a lot.
Suddenly, some Americans show up! In a few scenes that were obviously inserted strictly for the American release, some really bad actors talk about the new “Frontier Missiles.” They show the same scene of some rockets being launched from models about five times and the explosions sound like dumpster lids being slammed.
Meanwhile, back at the newspaper headquarters, the editor, the professor and the two reporters are sitting around trying to decide what to do about Godzilla, ’cause they apparently have the capacity to save the world or something. Pretty soon, the egg eater comes back and suggests that Mothra help them against Godzilla. The editor calls him a genius and then fires him because he left his post, even though Godzilla was coming.
Pretty soon Miura, Takarada and Yoka are on Mothra Island, where nuclear tests have been done. There’s a skeleton of a turtle and its head blows in the wind. Must’ve been kind of an airhead. This is where the whole message of the movie is put in and they talk about how terrible war is and how devastating and dangerous nuclear weapons can be. Just as they finish their little diatribe, some apparently sunburned natives come and make the trio come back to their cave of worship and force them to drink some stuff that “cleanses the evil spirits from within.” …So, it’s a laxative… The trio asks the natives for Mothra’s help, but the natives laugh at them because they didn’t get their egg back. Then the trio goes to the twin fairies who don’t give them any help at first either. Never mind the fact that when the fairies left, they said they would never forget how kind Takarada and friends were. Nope, that’s all out the window. Now, since no one helped them, they’re not going to help Japan. Eventually, Yoka makes a tearful speech and the natives and fairies agree to send Mothra to battle Godzilla. Unfortunately for Mothra, it’ll be her last flight.
Godzilla toasts Mothra with his flame breath pretty quickly, but then the fairies get really pissed off and the egg hatches and two little caterpillar type things come out. They follow Godzilla onto an island, wrap him in a cocoon and he falls in to the ocean. The end. Incidentally, Godzilla must’ve gotten some form of revenge between this and the next movie, because there’s only one caterpillar around.
This was really the last fairly serious Godzilla movie for a while. Sure, there was a dopey, egg-eating guy, but in the next one, Godzilla and a couple other monsters have a conversation in monster talk and in the one after that, Godzilla dances. It gets progressively cornier right up through the seventies. I give this one three yaks.