Godzilla vs Mothra (1992)
By: Mr Intolerance on December 1, 2009  | 
DVD
Universe (Hong Kong). Region 3, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). Japanese DD 2.0, Cantonese DD 2.0. English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese Subtitles. 103 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Takao Okawara
Starring: Tetsuya Bessho, Satomi Kobayashi, Takehiro Murata, Saburo Shinoda, Akji Kobayashi, Akira Takarada, Makoto Otake, Keiko Imamura, Sayaka Osawa
Screenplay: Kazuki Omori
Country: Japan
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
Look at the title – do you really need to read this review to know whether or not you're going to love this film? A giant meteorite slams into the Pacific Ocean and wakes up our favourite gargantuan green reptilian homeboy with atomic breath – and that's at the 65 second mark of the film's run time. Mayhem, begin!

At the same time, Mothra's egg is uncovered on an island off the coast of Indonesia. That's at the 70 second mark. The director or producers of this flick obviously don't believe in wasting time. Let's get our two drawcards out there…stat!

Jump ahead a month into the future, and change the setting to Thailand and the director shows us he's seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, by introducing a sort of faux-Indiana Jones character, who I think we're meant to assume via his helping himself to a statue of what looks like Ganeesha, starts off an ancient temple's self-destruct mechanism – oh? A clumsy archaeologist who fucks up an ancient temple? Gee, I never saw that happen in a film starring Harrison Ford from 1981.

Our boy is Takuya Fujito, an archaeologist who apparently hasn't been keeping up on his alimony payments. His ex-wife, Masako, is obviously none too pleased with this. Anyway, she turns up when the poor fella's thrown in the slot for archaeology/grave-robbing (it all depends on the way you look at it) related crimes. Masako has not turned up to save his pasty arse, but as part of a team from Marutomu, the company who owned the island Mothra's egg was found on (and by the way, we find out via some photos, that the egg is no longer inhabited…). The secretary to the President of the company quite brazenly states that Marutomu is exploiting the island – this is a deathmark in modern film. Raping the environment is a big no-no in today's cinema, and will get you fucked up but good. What these guys obviously haven't factored in is that Mothra is one of the good guys, a force for peace and harmony, not some crazed destroy everything and then Bundy-splash Tokyo Armageddon-style maniac like Godzilla – he will extract vengeance for what they've done. We like a bit of poetic justice in our giant monster movies.

Faced with the prospect of fifteen years in the slammer or working with his ex-wife, Takuya does what any red-blooded man would do. He goes back to the slammer. Of course, fifteen years is rather a long time, so he relents and accepts the job he's been given by Marutomu, which is investigate the meteor crash, which is rather odd, given that he's an archaeologist, and not a geologist, but the interior logic of a Godzilla movie is a fickle thing...

There's some egg-head style exposition (lots of pontificating about the environment, early 90s-style), and then all of a sudden Battra suddenly hoves into view out of fucking nowhere, apparently woken by the same meteorite – he must be a heavy sleeper, or have been somehow able to put the fucking meteorite on "snooze" cos it's taken the dumb bastard over a month to tunnel his way out of whatever subterranean chamber he's socked himself away in.

So Takuya, Masako and some mouthpiece for the company, a total fuckin' salaryman, who has decided (and I kid you fucking not) that a summer-weight grey two-piece suit is appropriate jungle exploration wear, head to Infant Island, the most convenient site to the crash. And then we get Indy-set-piece #2 – the rope bridge that snaps and our heroes get slammed against a cliff-face – nope, never seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom before. At least there weren't any Thuggees…

Our intrepid investigators find a cave with some mysterious paintings of Mothra, and then we get Indy set-piece #3, the moving sunbeam to show the way, a la the staff of Ra – I'm amazed Lucas hasn't sued. Takuya and co find Mothra's egg, which is remarkably intact for something that very unoccupied in the photos, and of course Mothra's mini-bitches turn up as well. After all, when your good guy can't talk, you may have to give him a voice, and what better voice than two super-hot micro-wenches in mini-skirts? But fuck, do they go on – over 12000 years before mankind turned up, they tell us, their society, the Shobijin, started dicking around with the environment, which hastened their demise – the pro-environment message has by this point been laid on with a fucking trowel; we get it! We get it! Where are the giant monsters?! I'm not here to fuck spiders, for crissakes, I'm here to see a number of huge monsters duke it out and cause carnage.

Right, so Mothra is the guardian god of the Earth, and Battra (AKA Black Mothra) was sent at one point to destroy civilisation due to the Shobijin's desire for…climate control? In terms of having your society wiped out, that cause is really scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. Of course, now the dudes who've fucking up the environment suddenly develop a conscience – a bit late, and a bit too much like a death-bed recantation. We're ever-so-slowly getting to our first duel of the monsters (I guess the early shots were just a cock-tease to keep us in, because this film smells very strongly of padding); and I must say, the Cosmos (Mothra's tiny chicks) become rapidly irritating, speaking in tandem like a Greek fucking chorus, full of doom and gloom – lighten up for crying out loud! The only salient point they raise is that Battra is on the move. Come on! Monsters, get ready to rumble!

The head of the company wants Mothra's egg brought back to Japan as an exhibit – he's going to try to exploit a giant monster – what kind of maniac is this? This won't end well for him, that's for sure. Our first monster, unfazed by air-to-surface missiles fired from the Japanese airforce's F18s is about to make an appearance, and what an appearance! Battra comes out tearing out of the ground like a fucking gazelle – just a hundred foot long armour-plated gazelle with a massive horn coming of his head and a pissed-off, mean disposition like a drunk at the end of a week long bender being refused service.

And he can fire lasers out of his fucking eyes!!! That's so cool I can't even tell you!!! The special effects still have same charm as the old Godzilla flicks – these are obviously model tanks and model buildings, and Battra is equally obviously a guy in a rubber suit, but what I wouldn't give to be the guy in one of those monster suits… Man, that'd be the best gig in the world. Imagine telling that to your grandkids: "Pop, what did you do for a living?" "Kids, let me tell you about the first time I had a fist-fight with Godzilla, and shot him with my eye-lasers." No-one's grandfather could top that story.

Godzilla turns up, always ready for a bit of a scrap, and boy, the excitement level of this film just goes off the fucking scale. Despite the fact that after the opening scene, this movie had been slowly boring the bollocks off of me, as soon as Battra turned up, I was fucking energized – add Godzilla to the mix and I couldn't sit still, the anticipation of Mothra's arrival had me squirming like a bitch.

Watching a Godzilla film with me is not a pleasant experience. Basically I become such an utterly obnoxious cunt – even moreso than usual – it's not even vaguely nice to be in the same post-code. I leap about, punch the air, yell at the TV screen, cheer at the carnage, laugh my arse off; a mate of mine told me on the weekend, after we watched one of the Godzilla Millennium films on his big plasma screen with 5.1 sound that it was like watching a hooligan at a football game. Godzilla films bring out my inner 5 year old. I will love all of these movies until the day I die. They bring back that wonderful feeling you got when you watched your first creature feature at age 8. You knew these films were awesome – at that age, they were scary, they were fun and they were just too damned cool for words. Kids these days wouldn't understand it. You needed the bad acting and the awful special effects – when you were peeking out from behind the sofa in your dressing gown and pyjamas, it was kind of like reassurance – a distance from reality you needed. I'm 36 and pretty jaded – any film that can give me these kind of thrills is alright by me. Stick your fancy-shmancy existential intellectual bullshit up your arse – I want giant monsters, goddammit!

Mothra and Godzilla is our first monster beat 'em up, but it's Mothra in larval form, so he's only got that rubbish cocoon-attack, spitting silk at guys. It's not much of an attack against Godzilla's radioactive fire-breathing. Still, not a bad warm-up. Look at the bright side – it's Mothra, not Jet Jaguar…

And then Battra joins the fray. He soon learns the hard way not to fuck with the big boys. Okay, yeah, he's got eye-lasers, but that doesn't count for much when Godzilla has picked you up by the tail and is swinging you around like you're a fucking baseball bat. There's a major tectonic upheaval underwater and the boys disappear, and larval Mothra has fucked off, having received a major drubbing from both Godzilla and Battra. Are we safe? No. This is a brief respite at best – after all, you can't keep a good man down, and Godzilla's one of the best. Takuya and Masako use the time to try to chill out and discuss their relationship (Indy and Willie in the Maharjah's palace, anyone? Indy moment #4), and the audience are practically salivating for the next monster fight – after all, we haven't seen adult Mothra yet.

Ando, the company mouthpiece, has taken the Cosmos and fucked off back to Japan, in what is probably the most low-down rat-fink moment of the movie yet. And the head of Marutomu wants to use them as mascots – you just know that Mothra is going to come back to wreak revenge. Y'know, I'm looking at the boss of the company, and I'm seeing the guy who played Lt General Shiro Ishii in Men Behind The Sun – probably isn't, but I'd almost swear it was the same guy. He certainly has the same level of moustachioed sleaze.

The Cosmos perform a slightly more elaborate version of the Mothra song than I remember from the original film, and back he goes for them, loyal motherfucker that he is. And for what is essentially a giant caterpillar, he certainly wreaks some havoc. Masako's sister is apparently a bit of a psychic, and attuned to the Cosmos, and they along with Masako and Takuya's daughter Midori (I'm not making that up) are frantically trying to find the Cosmos and save Tokyo.

Takuya has stolen the Cosmos, the bastard – wanting to sell them to the Americans for a profit, and Masako and Midori try to convince him to return them to Mothra before it's too late. They're successful, and Mothra is trying to leave Tokyo, but the military aren't to keen on that, wanting to exact some retribution of their own. Yep, out come the model tanks again.

Mothra goes into a metamorphosis stage, but wait, what's this?! Mount Fuji is erupting, and it's piping hot magma for one and all! Not only that, but Godzilla makes his triumphant return, much to the dismay of all. He's clawed his way out of the bowels of the Earth and he's here in Yokohama to do bad things – namely stomp the shit out of the town and its populace. Cha-ching! Here comes Mothra! He gets jiggy with his bad self and comes back in adult form, ready to give Godzilla an arse-stomping, if you can do that when you're a giant moth.

And then Battra comes back, obviously pissed off, and also in adult form, looking some kind of satanic mutant bat! Let the monster beat 'em up begin – let's go nuts here!

Will Mothra kill Godzilla? Who the fuck will take out Battra? Will the Earth be saved? After all, if swimming though 1500 degrees hot magma for a week doesn't kill the G-dawg, what will? Is Mothra a guy dressed in a bad costume with a large brightly coloured beach towel draped around his shoulders? All these questions and more can be answered after you watch this slice of fried gold. Monster-movie fun, and lots of it.
Video
This was a bit variable, although I think that might be because I do set my telly a bit dark. Still, the clarity was a bit how you doing, softer than I would have liked.
Audio
This was pretty good, but I would love to see it in Sensurround – although I'd have to be alone, because during the climactic monster fight scenes I was so vocal and crazy, my neighbours must'n'tve known what the fuck was going on.
Extra Features
Or, as the video says: "More Attraction". I've always wanted more attraction, so I had a look: the only feature is a trailer for Godzilla versus Mechagodzilla 2. What a gyp. Still, when I find that film, I'll watch it. And I'll love it.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
A kid-friendly horror flick that will take you back to your own days of yore, Godzilla Versus Mothra is a fun piece of fluff that pushes all the right buttons. I can't wait until my nephew is old enough to enjoy this kind of thing with me. I want to see him get all the bad humour, see the terrible special effects and love the giant monsters, the same way I did when I was that fat little scared kid hiding behind the sofa. Top shelf!

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