30 Days of Godzilla – Day 4: Favorite Fight (Showa) and Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) Review
30 Days of Godzilla: Day 4: Favorite Fight (Showa): Immediately my mind jumps to the fight between Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra battling against King Ghidorah. Just how it all comes together and how the monsters are working together to beat this behemoth of a monster. There’s also the tag team work of Mothra and then later on her twins against Godzilla in Mothra vs. Godzilla. Another set of favorites are the final fights in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla and in Terror of MechaGodzilla.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Mothra Tai Godzilla aka Mothra vs. Godzilla 1964:
So while King Kong vs. Godzilla is what popularized Godzilla, Mothra vs. Godzilla is generally regarded as one of the if not the best of the Showa era. The film integrates Mothra, who had her only solo film in 1961 into Godzilla’s life where she would never really leaves the big guy.
She quickly became a fan favorite and for good reason, not just for her design and the awesome effect she is, but how she can go toe to toe with the indestructible force that is Godzilla.
So there are similarities to how this film progresses with how Kong vs. Godzilla, so what exactly makes this film different from Kong vs. Godzilla? The film dives into different territories, and has a much different focus that Kong vs. Godzilla. While that film was very much about the build up and the awesome brawl of the two, Mothra vs. Godzilla does indeed build up to it’s fight but with an interesting twist, that being a chance to explore some of the bad sides of humanity.
The film’s set up is that Mothra’s egg is found and brought to shore, where an entrepreneur of Happy Enterprises, Kumayama, “buys” the egg from the fishermen who found it and plans to exploit the egg for profit. He’s in league with Jiro Torahata, the head of Happy Enterprises and a power man with many connections. These two human antagonists are shown as the bad side of humanity, while not evil, they are pretty bad people who see money as the one true goal.
Despite the pleas of the Fairies to give them back the egg of Mothra, they refuse, thinking the money they have will protect them. They even use their influence to try to get the public on their side after the News reporter Ichiro Sakai tries to expose them and bring the public to Mothra’s side. It’s really interesting to watch and a nice change of pace after the first three films. And in the end it is their greed is what drives them and ultimately consumes them in the end, to the death.
Another aspect of the film is that it does bring back the origins of what made Godzilla and how nature was harmed by mankind’s arrogance. We see the wasteland and death that has surrounded Infant Island and how the natives feel about it, calling it “The Devil’s Fire.” and why they can’t trust humans, that Godzilla is just God’s vengeance.
Our trio, the reporter, his photographer, and a scientist try their best to convince the natives to help them, saying that good or bad people still deserve a shot at life, that this punishment by God, as they call it, shouldn’t be taken out on everyone for the deeds of others, that death plays no favorites. That in a world of distrust, we can strive for better to improve ourselves as people, individually, trusting one another and not live in a world where we are paranoid of one another or hate one another over greed. (Which happens to our two human antagonists, their greed leads to them killing each other.
Godzilla, Mothra and her babies are also wonderful. You feel Mothra’s mother like love in her actions and just her kindness in general as she is willing to give up the last of her life to save Japan. Her babies the scrappy young fighters who have immeasurable determination to carry on what their mother would of wanted. And Godzilla who has become a real lovable lug, he’s not malicious, he’s kind of a clumsy large animal who is getting attacked by the military so he has to defend himself and buildings are just in his way. It’s not his fault he’s so tall.
Honda really does capture what Kaijuu are in this film, expertly treating them not as evil beings but animals just wanting to live. With the great special effects which feel like they’ve only improved since Kong vs. Godzilla,great music and a nice compelling human element, it’s no wonder this film is a fan favorite to the point that Japanese fans ranked it the fourth best Godzilla film of all time. A ranking definitely worth considering the themes and just the execution of it all. It works and is worth it.
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