Thursday, 18 June 2020

Mothra VS Godzilla


Raiders Of The Lost Bukkake

Mothra VS Godzilla
aka Godzilla VS The Thing
aka Mosura tai Gojira

Japan 1964 Directed by Ishirô Honda
Toho/Criterion Collection
Godzilla - The Showa Era Box Set  Blu Ray Zone B


Mothra VS Godzilla is a sequel to both Mothra (which I reviewed here) and King Kong VS Godzilla (which I reviewed here). Directed by original Gojira and Mothra director Ishirô Honda, this is pretty much the last time in the Showa Wave of Godzilla films that he is portrayed totally as a menacing figure. Barring, of course, him being controlled by evil aliens but, yeah, I’ll get to that in a future review.

Another thing it shares with both the original Gojira and Mothra movies, courtesy of this particular director, is the slow and ponderous nature of the plot which once again concentrates on various human characters such as those portrayed by Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi and Hiroshi Koizumi. This way of gradually building to the inclusion of the main monster characters can often work well but, as far as I’m concerned, this really doesn’t help the pacing at all on this one and the characters themselves, even the token human villains out to exploit Mothra’s egg, are all pretty dull and forgetful. The only bright spot is, of course, the pop duo The Peanuts, reprising their miniature roles from the first Mothra movie. Alas, their single costume in this is pretty hideous and it’s hard to take them seriously when they are wearing such silly, furry hats.

So the basic plot set up is this. After a mudslide caused by a typhoon carries Mothra’s egg onto the ocean and out to a beach in Japan, it is ‘bought’ by a philanthropist and his naive but still evil co-investor to design a theme park around it. The Peanuts try to retrieve the egg but are left empty handed. Then Godzilla rises from a beach in much the same way that a future George A. Romero zombie would and starts causing havoc. In fact, for a while there he just seems to be stumbling around and tripping over things, accidentally destroying them, until his aimless path of destruction becomes more focused and intentional.

The humans from Japan manage to enlist the aid of the original Mothra, who is near the end of her life cycle, to try to repel Godzilla. Alas, halfway through the first battle, Mothra finally expires but then the egg hatches and it seems she has given birth to twins. Two twin larvae finally take Godzilla down and then return with The Peanuts to Infant Island where they originated.

This one was very popular in Japan but, I have to say, the pacing really drags it down and the special effects don’t really hold up as well as even some of the earlier movies in the series. Shots of the giant Mothra egg on the beach while people stand around it and watch look terrible and it’s obvious from the inclusion of these shots that the close up scenes of the egg on the beach show the only small portion of the shell that the effects department built to full scale. The cracks on the egg as it hatches look a bit better than last time this happened though, it has to be said.

Some of the battles look okay and although her spawn only ever remain in their larvae state, the original Mothra looks pretty good. There’s also some interesting shot choices in the movie too. For instance, one of the shots of a cityscape has the camera panning along, stopping and then going back to a building it just passed before zooming in on one of the windows to give us the establishing shot of the next interior scene. This is quite bizarre and is almost a foreshadowing of the way modern TV shows use the camera in a kind of reactive mode to ‘find their shot’ as a play for authenticity.

Other things of interest in the movie include a scene where one villain punches the other and his face gets really bloody, before he shoots the other guy. And they don’t skimp on the blood there either... which is strange for a film which many might perceive to be a ‘family, kid-friendly movie’ but this ‘adult’ tone is not the last time this will occur in a Godzilla movie, if memory serves.

That being said, nobody even thinks to ask who or what it was that’s got Mothra in her pregnant state in the first place. Seriously, who has a penis big enough to fertilise Mothra? I didn’t notice Chuck Norris anywhere in the movie so this is a real plot hole.

And talking of penises... that’s exactly what the two Mothra larvae look like in the last ten minutes, when they take on Godzilla. Basically bobbing up and down and spraying Tokyo’s nemesis with white webby stuff which looks pretty much like they are... um.. cumming all over Godzilla’s head and shoulders repeatedly. Yep, I wouldn’t mind betting this is where the Japanese porn staple of bukkake really started, foreshadowing it by around 20 years. Never mind The Big G... this is pretty much The Big GGG (and if you understand that joke then you have no right to come complaining to me about the observation and, if you don’t understand it, don’t Google it around kids or at work and don’t say I didn’t warn you).

Ultimately, this film hasn’t aged well but it does have a nice score by Akira Ifukube, although the main march is absent. It also references certain orchestrations and melodies from Yûji Koseki’s score from Mothra, including The Peanuts doing a new rendition of the famous song. So there’s that. Certainly, Godzilla watchers will need to see this one in order to get all the links between previous and future films but it’s nowhere near the best in the series, for sure. That being said, the rushed production and release of the next one in the series, Ghidorah - The Three Headed Monster, brought out the same year as this one, is a fair bit better, if my memory of it is anything to go by. I guess I’ll be finding out for sure soon enough.

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