Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964 Japan) (Godzilla vs.The Thing)

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Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964 Japan) (Godzilla vs.The Thing)

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:04 pm

Godzilla returns for a 4th film after King Kong vs. Godzilla (62) but this is essentially a sequel to Mothra (1961). Mothra is the giant-sized moth in Japanese monster cinema, though she/it is regarded more as a mythological god than a monster, worshiped on an island of primitive natives. The film begins with a storm at sea and, the next morning, a giant egg has appeared floating offshore Japan. The film has some startling images, as tiny boats move towards the huge egg and later, when the egg sits on the beach, surrounded by tiny people. Speaking of tiny people, then two diminutive female twins appear, asking for the egg to be returned. Meanwhile, I couple of unscrupulous chaps decide to create a tourist attraction around the egg; this subplot actually follows up on the satirical commentary on the media in the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla.
This is regarded as one of the best Godzilla films and some even consider it their favorite. Godzilla appears just after the half-hour mark, climbing out from beneath the earth to begin his usual rampage (still a villain here), but the film's charm lies with the many plot turns, adding a lot to Japanese kaiju mythology, and a style that lends a poignancy to many scenes. The sprite-like tiny ladies pop up when you least expect them to and also break out into mournful song a couple of times. The egg, of course, belongs to Mothra, who is very old and close to death here. Mothra decides to face off against Godzilla in response to a plea from the heroic journalists but I think the big moth needed to protect her egg anyway.
The battle between the monsters is entertaining and has its comical side: particularly amusing is a shot of Godzilla falling over backwards as Mothra rises in flight, shot under-cranked, and there are those shots of Mothra dragging the big lizard back by the tail. However, despite its size and power, Mothra can't really do more than annoy Godzilla and there's a final plot twist when the egg finally cracks open. Godzilla would be back in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (65).
Now, a word on the American version of this film, named Godzilla vs. The Thing. The version isn't that much different from the Japanese one; there are some added scenes of American navy personnel. The poster (above) presents the film as this big mystery. Question What is... the Thing? I've always figured that American marketeers came up with the strange title as a follow-up to the previous King Kong vs. Godzilla; in that one, Godzilla faces off against a famous American monster; so, maybe the thinking was: why not plug in another famous American monster name in the latest Godzilla face-off? (The Thing from another world from 1951). But, I really don't know; I'm just guessing. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

There's even a 3rd version of the film (uh-oh):
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