After taking a step back with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Toho would do so again, but instead of a picture cluttered with everything including the kitchen sink, they would make a straightforward, easy to follow epic in Godzilla vs. Mothra. Though this would not be the first time that Godzilla would cross paths with Mothra, it was an excellent outing for the pair and it would feature everything that audiences had seen in every other Mothra movie previous to this including it metamorphosing from larva to full-size creature, its eventual battle with the giant green behemoth and more.
What would make this movie a little more interesting would be the introduction of Battra, who was Mothra’s opposite and who like Mothra, would be tasked with saving the Earth, simply going about it in a different way. That of course would bring the various kaiju into conflict throughout the picture with Battra tangling with Godzilla in its larva stage, fighting Mothra, battling Godzilla again and then finally teaming up with Mothra when it counted the most to take on the King of the Monsters. The special effects in this particular film to put it lightly, were incredible, with everything from the detailed miniatures to the laser effects and the costumes of the creatures. There was the odd time that Godzilla seemed a little silly like when he was biting into Battra’s neck, but there were scenes that more than made up for it, like those when larva-Mothra was making its way through the city and actually catching fire at times, giving it a real air of authenticity.
As for the story, there was nothing new to be found and that was not necessarily a bad thing, though it would have been nice to see something fresh instead of a rehash of something that had been seen before. The characters introduced in this film were relatable and there was some good humour to be had between lead Tetsuya Bessho and his ex-wife as played by Satomi Kobayashi. Once again, Mothra’s arrival coincided with the human players finding two little fairy-women called the Cosmos, Mothra’s heralds so to speak and they definitely hit the nostalgia cord within. Making this film quite good was the fact that Mothra came out the winner, something a little unexpected given that Godzilla is almost always the one who comes out on top. There was a little tragedy to be had for Mothra to be victorious, but it managed to make that win more emphatic and meaningful with the audience and thus was a good thing.
Change can be good, it has been proven time and again and when things get stale, change is usually what is needed. In this case, while Toho and director Takao Okawara did not necessarily do anything different than what had been done in the past, they made an excellent picture, paying homage to those films from decades previous, updating it and introducing the monsters, specifically Mothra, to a new generation. Fun, exciting and fast-paced, Godzilla vs. Mothra turned out to be one of the better movies to come out of the Heisei series.
4 out of 5