Where’s a gigantic porch light when you need it?
As if the Godzilla™ double feature disc wasn’t bad enough, Columbia also releases a Mothra™ double feature. For the uninitiated, Mothra once was Godzilla’s nemesis, but now fights for the conservation of the Earth. It’s also a moth the size of a 747.
If it weren’t for anime, I’d recommend that all entertainment produced in Japan be banned from crossing the Pacific. I mean, how can one culture inflict upon the United States the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Pokémon, AND the Godzilla movies? The mind reels.
Columbia’s package of monster movie “fun” includes 1996’s Rebirth Of Mothra and 1997’s Rebirth Of Mothra II. The movies were the first two entries in a trilogy; the last movie, Mothra 3: King Ghidora Attacks, was released in 1998 but mercifully has not been exported to the U.S.
In Rebirth Of Mothra (“She’s Mothra, She’s Back, And She’s Mad!”), loggers clearcutting a Japanese island uncover ancient ruins. The leader of the logging party removes a small seal from atop the ruins, which awakens Desghidorah™, a three-headed flying monster that drains energy from the Earth and spits fire. A trio of fairies, two good and one evil, attempt to recover the seal from the businessman, for it holds the power to controlling Desghidorah. The businessman had given the seal to his daughter, and the family becomes embroiled in the fight between good and evil. When the good fairies see that Desghidorah is wreaking havoc, they summon their master Mothra. Mothra is old, and weakened from laying the egg carrying her offspring. Mothra battles valiantly against the hydra, but is no match for the powerful monster. Mothra’s baby hatches prematurely and comes to the aid of its mother. The two are temporarily able to drive off Desghidorah, but it means Mothra’s death. Baby Mothra retreats to an island to cocoon itself, and emerges more powerful than its mother. At last, a monster is powerful enough to defeat Desghidorah. The new Mothra reverses the environmental damage caused by the battle and by the foolish humans. The movie ends with a warning against destroying our environment.
Rebirth Of Mothra II (“Mothra Takes To The Skies To Save The Planet!”) features the new Mothra, still alive and well from the first movie. Strange creatures are appearing in the waters around Japan. A little girl finds a strange creature named Ghogo™ (which looks like a Furby, only without a beak and with the addition of bird’s feet and an antenna). The good fairies inform her that Ghogo wants to be taken to the hidden city where he came from. Along with two friends, the girl takes the ball of fur to the city, hidden beneath the water. The city rises from the ocean, only to be attacked by Dagahra™, a fierce sea creature. Your newly resurrected hidden city is being attacked by a giant monster, so who you gonna call? Mothra! Plenty of other things take place between the three kids, the fairies, and two treasure hunters, but it’s only filler. Ghogo ends up being some sort of magical creature who rejuvenates Mothra when things are looking bad. Mothra morphs into Aqua Mothra™, and is able to defeat Dagahra. The movie ends with a warning against destroying our environment.
The Mothra movies on this disc bear almost no similarity to the Godzilla movies I reviewed recently. They have a cheesy supernatural flair, rather than the cheesy pseudo-technology of the Godzilla films. The monsters are still played by puppets and are obviously destroying cardboard and Styrofoam sets, but the special effects are complemented by computer animation, and are slightly better than the effects in the Godzilla movies. Both Mothra movies are severely hampered by the abundance of whiny, whimpering, screaming, overacting children.
Disc quality is identical to the Godzilla disc. The movies are presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic with Dolby Stereo audio. There are no digital artifacts, other than occasional edge enhancement. However, the prints provide plenty of problems of their own. They are grainy and overexposed, making them look like they were filmed in the 1970s. The disc contains no extras.
The only “entertainment” more blatant in its environmental preachiness is Steven Seagal movies and “Captain Planet And The Planeteers.” Maybe Toho receives kickbacks from Greenpeace.
Okay, I can understand a big green lizard saving the planet…but a giant moth? Seems like it would fly toward the nearest lighthouse and just buzz around. Is it resistant to pesticide? Can a kid with a magnifying glass fry its wings? Do moths really lay a single egg that’s nearly as big as their body?
Fans of kaiju (Japanese monster movies) might enjoy it, but I was wholly unimpressed. Maybe the next Toho hero can be a giant hamster…