Mothra vs. Godzilla (Godzilla vs. The Thing) 1964
In Japan this movie was titled Mothra vs Godzilla but in the US it was titled Godzilla vs The Thing. This was the first movie in which Toho began to mix their other monsters into the Godzilla franchise. Mothra had her own successful movie in 1961 and this film was her first of many battles against Godzilla. Mothra is the only one of Toho’s monsters that is definitely female and is regarded as a giant lepidopteran which is a classification of insects which includes both of butterflies and of moths. Mothra does show signs of having features of both butterflies and of moths. Ishirō Honda who directed the original Godzilla movie was back at the helm for this adventure. Akira Takarada, who played in the first Godzilla movie, returns for this outing.
Although not as comical as the previous effort, King Kong vs Godzilla, this movie is, for the most part, still child friendly. With Mothra and the two tiny fairies that accompany her, the film has a more mystical and fantasy feel to it, while still striking a serious tone. Not to say there are not some great destructive moments and vicious monster battles, because they are there. I also must admit that I love the theme song that the twins sing for Mothra. Some of the best destruction by Godzilla is in this movie. He fiercely battles the arm and electrical towers again and we even see a scene where his head is set ablaze!
I won’t go into too much detail about the plot because it is pretty straight forward. After a typhoon washes a giant egg on the shores of Japan, scientists begin studying the egg. News reporter Ichiro Sakai and photographer Junko Nakanishi are reporting the events when a representative from Happy Enterprises, Kumayama, arrives to tell them that his company has just purchased the egg from the local villagers. He abruptly tells the scientists and reporters to leave. Back at his hotel room Kumayama meets with Jiro Torahata, the head of Happy Enterprises, discussing the money they are going to make off of the egg when the two fairies, called the Shobijin, explain to them that the egg belongs to Mothra and once they hatch the larva will cause massive destruction as they search for food.
Torahata and Kumayama ignore the girls’ pleas and try to capture them. The Shobijin escape and flee to Ichiro Sakai and Junko Nakanishi rooms where they plead with them to help get the egg back and to return it to Mothra on Infant Island. Ichiro and Junko are unable to help and the Shobijin return to Infant Island. Meanwhile radiation has appeared at the site with the giant egg and suddenly up from the ground Godzilla emerges and heads for the egg. I guess he must have been hungry. Before Godzilla can settle in for breakfast Mothra appears and fights off Godzilla.
To make a long story short we see a similar plot elements to King Kong vs. Godzilla emerge. Godzilla goes on a rampage and the military cannot defeat him. Those scenes are exciting and some of the best in the series. The idea comes to the military that maybe Mothra can defeat Godzilla. This is a plot element that would be repeated many times in the franchise.
Ichiro and Junko go to Infant Island and pleads with the Shobijin for Mothra’s help. After a while they reluctantly agree and Mothra returns to Japan to fight Godzilla just as he is about to destroy the egg. What does a giant monster have to do to get breakfast anyway?! In the fight that proceeds, Mothra is killed and Godzilla heads for Iwa Island. Shobijin then begin singing their song and the egg hatches and out pops two giant larva. They follow Godzilla to Iwa Island where they proceed to wrap Godzilla in their silken cocoon and he falls into the sea. The End.
Even though this is a child friendly movie it still has a serious tone and Godzilla is still a beast hell-bent on destruction. There is a lot of destruction as I mentioned earlier and bad things happen to the bad guys which I won’t mention, I’ll let you see it for yourself. I have to give you some reason to go rent this film!
The suit for Godzilla was changed once again. It has been said that the suit for this movie was the best and most popular of the early suits. The eyes were darkened and made more malevolent the suit itself was trimmed down a bit and the tail lengthened. The face was rounded from the previous suit to look less reptilian and more mammalian. For me this Godzilla suit, outside the 1954 original suit, is a classic Godzilla design and the best of the Showa Godzilla suits.
All in all a solid and enjoyable entry into the Godzilla franchise. A
Here is a little treat. The Shobijin singing the Mothra’s Song.