Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) – Ishiro Honda

Japan’s countryside, city, and infrastructure is in danger again as Godzilla returns in Mothra vs. Godzilla, which sees the giant kaiju slug it out in an enjoyable piece of melodrama. This time around things get underway when a giant egg comes ashore in Japan, and a photographer, Juno Nakanashi (Yuriko Hoshi) and newspaperman, Ichiro Sakai (Akira Takarada) make a horrifying discovery amongst the wreckage of a reclamation project.

A pair of greedy businessmen swindle the giant egg away from the villagers who found it, with the intention of building a theme park around it, and whatever hatches from it. But a pair of miniature women, known as the Shobijin (Emil Ito and Yumi Ito) arrive from Infant Island to ask for the return of the egg, identifying it as Mothra’s.

The businessmen decline, and when Godzilla rises to the surface and starts stomping around, heading right for the egg, the Shobijin, and inhabitants of the island, and guardians of Mothra (a giant moth) refuse to offer assistance. But when the reporter, photographer, and scientist associate, Miura (Hiroshi Kiuzumi) make a plea for their help, Mothra relents and takes flight to engage in battle and save Japan, even if it costs her life… but her legacy will continue.

Once again, there is a lot enjoyable model work throughout the film, as the man-in-the-suit monster that is Godzilla stomps around and mucks things up.

There are some lighter moments throughout the episode, the human melodrama in particular has a number of fun moments, but it also gives us one of our bloodiest encounters in the series yet, when the businessmen come to a violent end, when there is betrayal and even murder!

The work with both Mothra and Godzilla whether it the flying creatures models, the man in a suit, tiny models or what have you, is damned fun, and we can see that the series has left behind its darker routes to engage its audience with enjoyable kaiju violence. The shift of Godzilla becoming a protector of humanity, or at least Earth hasn’t happened yet. He’s still more of a menace than a hero.

And even as Mothra gives her all in the battle, new life comes from the egg, and they may be the final hope of humanity in this battle. In fact the larva that come out of the egg are quite adept at putting Godzilla down, and it’s cool to watch happen. In fact, I have loved every entry in this run of Godzilla films that I’ve been digging into, and I can’t wait to see what happens in Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster!

These are great films, and I love watching how the series uses its effects, its story-telling, and its human characters to consistenly deliver fun monster movies!

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