Godzilla vs Mothra

mothravsgodzilla
Any more ridiculous and it would be poetry!

Okay…Godzilla didn’t do so well against a giant gorilla.  Although, if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that he did way better than any of us might.  A gorilla, like a phone call in the middle of the night, is usually bad news for anyone.  And, the fact that lightning made Kong stronger really skewed the results in his favor.  Godzilla tried and failed, story over, next opponent please.  And, make the next one a little less awesome.  “How ‘bout a moth?”, asks somebody’s nephew…

Mothra comes from Infant Island, another Polynesian archipelago populated entirely by Japanese in blackface.  The giant insect uses the shobijin to communicate with the island’s natives.  For the pathetic few who do not know what a shobijin is, I will explain:  The shobijin are a pair of fairies, about the size of Barbie dolls, who sing to Mothra.  Now, never ask me anything again…

The movie opens with an uproar over a giant egg washed ashore by a typhoon.  Typically, when any protein source, no matter how stomach-churning or dangerous, makes its way into the country of Japan, it is summarily gobbled up by its inhabitants.  This orb of mystery, however, has been purchased by an industrialist named Kumayama who wants to make it a tourist attraction.  It will be like Disney World, only with less underlying evil.  Kumayama takes the following approach to sharing the giant egg with the curious public:  Scientists are forbidden to study the egg; reporters are forbidden to photograph the egg; and, anyone caught thinking about the egg will be fined sixty yen and submit to having their femurs broken.

Ichiro Sakai, Junko Nakanishi and Professor Miura (played by Hiroshi Koizumi, one of the pilots from Godzilla Raids Again) investigate the industrialist’s plot to see if money might be Kumayama’s motivation to open a theme park around a giant insect egg.  It is then that they come across the shobijin, who are fleeing the industrialist.  The egg belongs to Mothra, their island’s god, they explain, in unison.  Twins speaking in unison is used a lot in movies and television shows.  It is inherently funny…like a Chinese guy with a Texas accent…or, any testicle injury that isn’t your own…

The two fairies are played by the Japanese pop duo, The Peanuts, that took Japan by storm in the sixties and seventies; although, the storm’s actual cause was later determined to be a low pressure system off the island’s coast.  The two portrayed Mothra’s shobijin in three giant monster movies.  The singers then retired in 1975 to concentrate on family and outliving their relatives.  Their names are Emi and Yumi Ito, not that it’s any of your business.

Sakai, Nakanishi and Miura promise the two fairies that they will help in any way that they can, especially if it involves bringing down Kumayama or eating lots of ice cream.  Sakai writes a scathing editorial, denouncing the abduction of the egg; but, instead of as an editorial, the piece is mistakenly published as a coupon for Whisk.  It is a sad day for Mothra’s egg.  But, as they say, when things look their bleakest, that is when a giant radioactive lizard usually comes.  This time is no exception…except it IS an exception to those times when they say it DOESN’T happen.

Nagoya is reeling under the violence that Godzilla is vengefully raining down upon the city of Nagoya is being rained down upon.  Unable to protect itself or find itself on a world map, the city despairs.  If only there was a monster as large as Godzilla who might fight the radioactive behemoth or at least persuade it to put on some pants.  Someone suggests that whatever is in the mysterious egg might be able to fight the giant lizard.  Moths haven’t done so well against lizards so far; but, that just means that they are due for a stunning upset.  But, how to convince the Peanuts?

Sakai and Nakanishi are dispatched to Infant Island to persuade the inhabitants to let Mothra help the Japanese.  The Japanese, incidentally, are the ones who have stolen their god’s egg to use as a sideshow attraction and tried to kidnap their only two fairies.  Talks both go better than expected and do not go well.  The two Japanese then plead their case to the fairies, who are way less stupid than they look; so, they don’t go for it either.  But Mothra, who was listening in the entire time, agrees to fight Godzilla with the stipulation that no one kidnaps her garden gnome while she is gone and sends her pictures of the gnome from different exotic locales.  This battle will mean the death of Mothra, who had originally planned to die by burning herself to death on someone’s front porch light bulb.

 Meanwhile, bad guy Kumayama is killed by a different bad guy who is, in turn, killed by Godzilla, proving that John Lennon was right about instant karma and its potential for getting you.  The bad-tempered lizard goes to the giant egg, meaning to either destroy it or give it a foot massage.  Mothra arrives at least three minutes before the nick of time and a battle ensues like no other battle you’ve ever seen…although I hesitate to speak for you.  Just when it looks as if Godzilla is doomed, the lizard gets in a lucky shot and kills the big moth.  Nothing can stop Godzilla at this point, except for an avalanche or a giant gorilla.  Let me rephrase:  Nothing, as far as giant moths are concerned, can stop Godzilla at this point…

Which is exactly why it is so great that the egg is about to hatch.  All that is required is a little shobijin singing.  The two fairies oblige and two gigantic moth larvae ooze from its egg.  And, to a giant radioactive lizard, there is nothing more terrifying than a pulpy and defenseless worm…unless it is TWO pulpy and defenseless worms.

 Shooting silk at Godzilla, the two manage to incapacitate the destructive beast and cause him to fall into the sea, ending the threat of Godzilla long enough to at least make a sandwich.  Mothra’s children swim to Infant Island, fairies in tow and tofers in fairy.

 This movie was originally released in the United States as Godzilla vs. the Thing, probably due to complaints from the silkworm lobby.  Frankly, I also get tired of every movie I see portraying a silk worm character as some violent and destructive pupa.  Only a small percentage of silkworms ever kill Godzilla, but you wouldn’t know it from how they are portrayed.  This trend was reversed ever so slightly when a silkworm was cast in the role of Jewish Industrialist Arthur Goldman in an off-Broadway production of Man in a Glass Booth.