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The Asian ApertureMothra vs Godzilla (1964)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, May 21, 2011    Share

It was just a matter of time before Toho got around to pit the mighty Mothra against Godzilla. This time the American release was not botched up due to excessive editing. Director Ishiro Honda and special effect whiz, Eiji Tsuburaya deliver the goods once again.

The opening shots of a tsunami destroying a coastal village are difficult to watch due to recent events in Sendai this year, 2011. I had to keep in mind that Mothra vs Godzilla was made back in 1964.

The two main characters, one a news reporter, Ichiro Sakai, and his photographer, Junko Nakanishi are at the beach surveying the wreckage and getting ready to take pictures when a giant mysterious egg is spotted out in the sea. The strange egg, which looks like the world's biggest watermelon slowly washes ashore. A scientist comes up to study it as Ichiro and Junko are already on the scene. A strange businessman buys the egg, intending to sell admission to the public, to view it. One thing to note throughout the movie is how Junko's big hats always match her outfit perfectly. No matter what colors she is wearing, she always has a very fashionable hat on making her the best dressed in the whole movie. The fun is just getting starting.

The dirt begins to fly as Godzilla jumps out from the sand, a clever variation on his usual water entrance, to raid another Japanese city, this time it is Nagoya, a major port on the Pacific coast. There is a very interesting shot that makes good use of Nagoya as a setting when Godzilla falls and knocks into Nagoya Castle, destroying it. Here you can see something of immense historical value being reduced to rumble by a creature that has no care at all for human history.

Two intriguing characters are the tiny women called Shobijin, who call out to Mothra. They warn Ichiro and Junko to return the egg to Infant Island. The Shobijin or fairies even sing a Mothra song that is actually quite catchy.

Finally it is time for Godzilla to start destroying the city and for the ineffective military to attempt to stop him. In one scene you can see Godzilla using his fire breath to melt tanks, which shows how something ancient and supernatural can dominate something modern. The most fun of all the Godzilla movies is seeing him get pissed up and demolishing buildings, houses, power stations, cars, jeeps, tanks, and planes. While Godzilla is partying, a creature is waiting that will put him to the test.

Junko and Ichiro, along with a professor, travel to Infant Island to try to convince the two tiny fairies and the native people to ask Mothra for help. Their entire city and known world are being destroyed and only a creature of Mothra's size can do the job that the military has failed at. After debating with the natives, the fairies take the three to see Mothra who agrees to help out. Another Mothra song is sung. The two fairies explain to the humans that Mothra is dying but he will be reborn when the egg hatches. This brings to mind the Japanese Buddhist's concept of reincarnation. Mothra flies off to battle Godzilla.

The two businessmen who bought the egg are shown fighting. One is being ripped off so he knocks his partner to the ground and punches him in the face giving the man a bloody nose. Then, he gets off of him and walks over to the safe to take his share of the money. When the downed man sees him taking his cash, he gets up and says, “Kuso,” just under his breath. Watching the English dub, the Japanese word, kuso is not translated. However, kuso means shit and in English it has a similar meaning to damnnit. Kuso is being used here as a sign of frustration.

Godzilla walks up to the egg hellbent on destroying it when Mothra appears in the sky. Mothra squares off against Godzilla and wastes no time in fighting. Morhta uses her giant wing span to generate hurricane force winds that pound away all over Godzilla's body. Next, Mothra grabs Godzilla's tail and hauls him backwards. Then Mothra flies just above Godzilla's head and like a wasp, swoops down on top of Godzilla's head Mothra comes out ahead until Godzilla unleashes his fire breath that forces Mothra to fly off. Mothra settles like a loving mother, with one wing over the egg and slowly dies.

The egg hatches and two ugly looking caterpillars monsters pop out. The twin caterpillars are the real monsters stars. They race across the sea to stop Godzilla. Some human children are on the island and only the twins can save them. Once on Iwa Island, the twins double team Godzilla as one bites into his tail. Together they use a web spray that Godzilla can't break free from. Eventually Godzilla is mummified and falls into the sea in defeat.

Don't worry, Godzilla will rise from the ocean depths again and again because you can never keep him down.

Mothra vs Godzilla is a highly entertaining classic Godzilla movie. I recommend cranking up the volume high on your home theater stereo system to get the maximum pleasure out of each loud roar.

5 Stars out of 5.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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