More visually splendid and imaginatively written than the other Godzilla sequels, this (the fourth in the series) starts when Mothra's gigantic egg washes ashore in Japan, having been dislodged from Mothra Island by a hurr... more »icane. Two tiny twin girls (sometimes singing like dual-diminutive Dorothy Lamours) from the island come to plead for the return of the egg by the greedy business guys who bought it for a tourist attraction, but to no avail. Radiation from nuclear testing revives Godzilla from the earth, who proceeds to threaten the egg and the cities, unless Mothra and his larvae hatched from the egg can stop him. The battle sequences between Mothra and Godzilla, and between Godzilla and the larvae, are spectacularly vivid and colorful. The DVD gives you a choice of cropped-frame or letterboxed in terrific Tohoscope, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Mono, and some more extras. Oddly, the DVD contains no time code, so you never know how far into the movie you are at any given point. It is also available in a boxed set with four of the other best Godzilla flicks by director Inoshiro Honda. --Jim Gay« less
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 02/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There have been three "series" of Godzilla movies: the Showa series, which includes all films released from 1954-1975, the Heisei series, which includes all films released from 1984-1995, and the Millennium series, which includes all films released from 1999-2004. The Showa series holds all the classics, and excluding the original, nothing is more classic than 1964's MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA. Much like GOLDFINGER (released the same year), which was almost universally considered to be the finest James Bond film prior to the release of CASINO ROYALE, by all explanations MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA shouldn't be so good. Nevertheless, it is inexplicably the finest sequel in the Showa series.
The plot involves a mysterious giant egg that washes up on the shores of Japan, attracting the attention of greedy businessmen who "purchase" the egg. Meanwhile, a scientist, a reporter, and a rookie photographer are trying to discover what the egg really belongs to when they encounter two small fairies, who tell them that the egg is Mothra's egg. Mothra is, of course, a giant moth, who made her debut in her own kaiju flick, 1961's MOTHRA (also directed by the great Ishiro Honda). Though the trio tries to convince the businessmen to return the egg to Mothra, they will do no such thing. Then who emerges to liven things up but the Big G himself, looking more ferocious than he did before or did in any film afterwards. Can Mothra protect her egg and save Japan from the menace of Godzilla, or will Japan's worst (and biggest) enemy be having scrambled eggs for his next entree?
Ishiro Honda really knew what he was doing with this film. The pacing is perfect: not too rushed, but not slow to the point where one begins screaming for a monster to pop up and wreak some havoc. The screenplay is humorous and very fun, and Akira Ifukube's music is spectacular. The Godzilla suit used for this film, "Mosugoji", is a fan favorite due to its more nasty, reptilian look. Mothra herself is a seemingly silly opponent, but her battle(s) with Godzilla are surprisingly interesting. The best scene of the film is Godzilla's first appearance, sudden, with no foreshadowing. I won't ruin it for you if you haven't seen the film, but it's my favorite Godzilla entrance ever.
I cannot congratulate Sony Wonder enough for their recent Godzilla DVD releases. For a longtime fan like me, they're a dream come true - gorgeous packaging, delectable restoration, sumptuous bonus features, and both the Japanese AND English version (the English version of MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA, titled GODZILLA VS. THE THING, actually contains extra footage not in the Japanese version!). It's quite the package; if you're a Godzilla fan, don't hesitate to pick it up. MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA is the best sequel of the Showa series, and a reminder of just how fun "evil Godzilla" was before the series descended into silliness with the subsequent entries."
Never Come Between a Moth and Her Grubs!
Robert I. Hedges | 05/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Godzilla vs. Mothra' is one of my favorite in the Godzilla series. It is still early enough (1964) to be serious, yet more decidedly less dark in tone than the original. In this one Godzilla is still a bad guy, and Mothra, a giant moth, is summoned from Monster Island with the help of two miniature singing muses and some natives. Ultimately Mothra almost overcomes Godzilla with some great rubber monster fights along the way (and all the toy airplanes, tanks, boats, etc., that comes with them), but it is a 'Lion King' (or "Circle of Life", if you prefer) moment as Mothra dies atop her egg, which is being coaxed to hatch by some very imaginative chanting. The two grubs that emerge from the egg are out for vengeance and taunt Godzilla with several wily maneuvers before cocooning him in silk and dumping him into the ocean. The sight of the two grubs swimming off into the sunset is particularly delicious for fans of the series.The movie is well made for the era, and I think the English dubbing is better than in most of the Godzilla films. Likewise the script is more mature than the bulk of the Godzilla series, which in general I like, although it becomes a bit preachy about the anti-nuclear stuff (Ishiro Honda is the greatest director of the Japanese monster movies, but subtlety is not one of his more admired filmmaking attributes.) The film does, however, serve its desired function as a comment on greed and avarice admirably. I recommend 'Godzilla vs. Mothra' highly, and no fan of Japanese cinema or monster movies should be without it. It is available as a single DVD or part of a Godzilla five-pack, which I recommend highly: it's a bargain at any price!"
The greatest of all Godzilla sequels
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 02/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1964's "Godzilla vs. Mothra," (originally released in the U.S. as "Godzilla vs. The Thing" as a publicity gimmick to hide the identity of Godzilla's adversary) is the best of the many sequels to the original "Godzilla." The film series reached a level of wonderful pop-culture entertainment here: imaginative effects, gripping and simple story-line, and fantastic monster mashing. It's actually a smart, well-put together movie, something that people who look down on Japanese monster movies as silly and stupid would never expect. And it is LOADS of fun.This film followed up quickly on the massive success of "King Kong vs. Godzilla." The studio, Toho, wanted Godzilla to go up against another `name' monster, and selected one of their own: the gigantic moth/caterpillar Mothra, who had starred the hit 1961 film "Mothra." The story has Godzilla returning to wreck havoc on Japan (this is the last time for many years that Godzilla would be the unquestioned `bad guy'), defying the military's numerous ingenious -- but ineffective -- attempts to stop him. The one hope for humanity lies in recruiting Mothra to take on the big lizard. But the people of Infant Island where Mothra lives are reluctant to help because two unscrupulous businessmen have captured Morthra's lost egg and turned it into a sideshow attraction. When they refuse to surrender the egg, it begins to look like Godzilla will get to have his way with Japan unopposed...The film is absolutely loaded with stunning effects and action sequences. Godzilla's initial rampage in Nagoya is a knock-out, with the Big-G smashing a radio tower and Nagoya castle to the ground (Haruo Nakajima, the actor inside the suit, does a wonderful performance in this scene). The Godzilla suit used in this movie, known as the "Mosu-Goji" to fans, is beautiful: sleek, evil, and extremely personable. The two confrontations between Godzilla and Mothra, the first time in moth form, the second time in caterpillar form, are the best monster fights in all of the G-movies. Effects wizard Eiji Tsubaraya finds creative ways to have the monsters tackle each other, and the music from Akira Ifukube just keeps building and building. The finale is as exciting as anything you'll see in a big effects film from any country.The human scenes are very effective as well, with good performances all around from actors like Kenji Sahara and Akira Takarada, regulars in monster movies. Director Ishiro Honda provides his customary humanitarian touch to the story, and he takes it with an appropriate level of seriousness. No doubt about it, Honda was a great director, and in his hands, giant monster movies could seem like more than just light entertainment.The version on this disc is the dubbed American version. The Japanese language version with subtitles is superior -- a five-star rating easily -- but has never been available on a home video format (someone should really do something about this!). However, this is probably the best dubbed version ever of a Godzilla film. The voice acting is quite good, and almost nothing has been changed or edited from the original. Actually, a scene has been added, involving a U.S. military ploy to attack Godzilla with newly developed missiles. (Guess how effective that is.) The only real trouble with the dubbing is that the characters sometimes refer to Mothra as "the Thing" and other times by its real name, which is pretty strange sounding.The disc has nothing in the way of real extras. Also, the advertised 5.1 stereo is a cheat: the producers of the disc added a few extra sound effects here and there for the back speakers -- such as when Godzilla is being electrified or when tanks are firing -- that sound tinny, awful, and unconnected to the actual film. Stick with the original mono option.Even dubbed, "Godzilla vs. Mothra" is a four-star film and a must for anyone who loves giant monsters or just wants to have a good time on a Saturday night with friends. ROAR ON GODZILLA!"
The Best Of The G-Sequels
Michael Tullberg | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Mothra vs. Godzilla" (the correct title, not the other way around) is not just a great Godzilla film. It is also a landmark for Japanese special effects, especially when compared with its predecessor, "King Kong vs. Godzilla". The annoying blue matte lines that marred the latter are gone, and the Godzilla suit used in this movie (referred to as the "Mosu-Goji" suit by hardcore fans) is among the best designs of the entire series. The plot is also solid; not only does the story flow smoothly and logically, but it is also a clever jab at the excesses of rampant commercialism--as was the case in 1960's "Mothra". Ishiro Honda supplies deft direction, while stars Akira Takarada and Yoriko Hoshii both give excellent performances as a newspaper reporter and photographer, respectively. The battles between Godzilla and Mothra (both in larval and adult form) are first-rate--Eiji Tsubaraya's imaginative special effects are astounding for the period, and hold up well even by today's standards. Also of note is one of Akira Ifukube's best scores, combining the famous Godzilla and Mothra themes seamlessly...thankfully the American version keeps all of which intact. The English dubbing is also unusually good. If you're looking for any G-film to own besides the historic original "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters", this is the one to get--quite simply, it has everything that a good sci-fi or action-adventure flick should have. For the price, it's a bargain."
Wonderful masterpice, rather sucky DVD.
Jules Carrozza, the Japanese film k | Bridgewater, MA, USA | 01/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This does have the choice between pann and scann and Letterbox format, but the rest of the DVD is sucky. They could have presented the film subtitled in it's original Japanese version, with the Jpanese and American trailers and with Special effects outakes and the American sequince but they didn't do that. However, the Widescreen presentation is crystal clear and this looks 100 tiumes better than the rather dispappointing Japanese laserdisk (that had kind of muted colors and was OVERLY letterboxed (it was like in 2.76:1). This is dubbed but it's not bad at all. The only problem with AIP's Titan Productions dubbing is that it's kind of garbled and hard to make out, though it's better than most of Toho's international version dubbing. The real problem though is the pathetic extras, the fake trailers which are just video advertisemnets and the pathetic picture gallery. However, this is one of Honda's greatest masterpeices and Japan's best sci-fi films, though it is bested by Matango, Magic Serpent and Goke. If only they could release those films on DVD. This bests all of Honda's other monster movies (exept for Matango), even the original Godzilla and Mothra. All in all, if you can get past the sucky DVD extras, get this film."