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TALKBACK #19: Godzilla and Mothra, The Battle for Earth • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan

TALKBACK #19: Godzilla and Mothra, The Battle for Earth

Discuss the 2nd Godzilla film era here! Beam fights, revised versions of classic kaiju, the Heisei era was a mixed bag of fun and controversy!

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Postby Tyler E. Martin » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:48 am

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Postby MouthForWar » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:21 am

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Postby RaymondBurr » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:36 am

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Postby jellydonut25 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:43 pm

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Postby The Real McCoy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:48 am

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Postby Reaper G » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:00 pm

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Postby Giganfan » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:05 am

I'll be brief about Godzilla vs. Mothra. I could go on-and-on (as my most recent posts in other threads would dictate) about why this is one of the most poorly-written Godzilla movies of the series (had Omori been allowed to direct, it would have been better), but I won't. Instead, I'll just focus on what I like about it, because judging by the general verdict of Godzilla fandom regarding this movie, it could use a little bit of support.

First off, I really like the special effects in this movie. I think that the one fact that often gets lost on fans is that Japanese "tokusatsu" is a specific method in and of itself. Koichi Kawakita started out and worked under Eiji Tsuburaya in the sixties. The same man who thought that having a puppet horse kicking about in the stable in Frankenstein Conquers The World was better than just throwing in a shot of a real horse because 'it's more interesting or fun to look at'. Of course, I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. When I watch Godzilla vs. Mothra, barring a few glarringly obvious exceptions (I'm sure you know the ones), I see in Kawakita's work a confident understanding of the craft that he spent his entire career honing. When Godzilla fights Mothra and Battra and the J.S.D.F, it's just believable enough that you can accept what you're looking at. Sure, there are all kinds of limitations to the "old-school" way of doing things, but that's something you just have to understand going into it. There is a noticeable decline in quality here, from the last two Godzilla movies, to be sure, but on the whole I think Kawakita does a pretty solid job.

There is one scene in this movie that I want to call attention to that is often overlooked, I suspect because it is trapped within what is admittedly a lesser movie. That scene is when Godzilla emerges from Mt. Fuji. This has to be one of the finest entrances that Godzilla has ever made in a movie. I mean, the lighting, the pyrotechnics, the cinematography, the performance by Ken Satsuma, etc. It's a masterpiece. And I don't know about you, but i would not want to hear anything other than Akira Ifukube's vintage theme for this scene. In many ways, Godzilla vs. Mothra doesn't even deserve consideration, if not for the music. Even though it's all "re-orchestrations" (I hate the word "recycle" when talking about Ifukube) of older themes, that doesn't mean it doesn't sound awesome. Mothra's music is beautiful. I love how Ifukube reworked Mothra's theme into a very effective battle march.

One more thing. One of the many critiques about this movie is how Godzilla is kind of elbowed off to the side in a supporting role. There is a great quote about Humphrey Bogart, made by either Howard Hawks or John Huston, I forget which, that goes "The only thing that Bogart had to do to dominate a scene was to walk into it". That's Godzilla, all over!!! Godzilla is not just a monster, or a character in a movie, He is a STAR!!! No matter how elaborate the other monsters may be, or for that matter, how dull the story turns out to be, Godzilla is the main attraction. That's what the Heisei series was all about, and if nothing else, that's the one thing that the makers of these movies got right. And subsequently, That's why I just can't dust them under the rug like they didn't happen, no matter how dated or lacking they may be. Godzilla is still the "King of the Monsters" here....even if he does lose the battle. The next movie, sure as sh*t wasn't going to be called "Mothra vs. Mechagodzilla".

I apologize if I have seemed a bit overly-sentimental over the past couple weeks, The truth is, I haven't watched any of these movies in the past three-to-four years, and recently, I've been on a Godzilla/Toho bender. I had forgotten how much I loved them. We all have to grow up, but as I like to say, hopefully not all the way. Fresher eyes have given me a clearer view of some of these movies, sentiment or not. Godzilla vs. Mothra isn't THAT bad. Just...kinda bad, that's all.

Hell, it's not like it was directed by Roland Emmerich or anything.
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:56 am

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Postby RaymondBurr » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:51 am

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Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:58 am

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:00 am

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Postby Giganfan » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:55 am

This movie only has room for one cocoon stage anyway. You're right, it does play as kind of an after-thought though.

The thing that really sinks this movie for me is the environmental pollution angle, and the corrupt beaurucrat, Tomokane, who I guess is supposed to be a riff on Kenji Sahara's brilliant portrayal of Torahata. This guy, along with the identical character in Godzilla X Megaguirus easily ranks as one of the least interesting and overall dull "baddies" to ever appear in a Godzilla movie. Any line of dialogue that deals with "the Earth's life-force" and humans polluting the environment is so preachy and heavy-handed, it comes off as embarassingly bad writing on the part of Kazuki Omori. That's why I feel that if he had directed, instead of Takao Okawara (who I still feel does a good job here), atleast he would have been able to better flesh out that aspect of the story. As it sits however, if they had just stuck to the monster stuff, like Wataru mimura would do with the next movie, I think Godzilla vs. Mothra would have been much better.

There is one scene in this damn thing that once I got to it, I had to shut the movie off and get back to it at a later date, because it down-right infuriates me. The part where the Cosmos essentially tell Mothra to "cool it", while technically there's nothing wrong with it, the fact that it exists is just a collosal pain in the a** for me. It's like the Fairies are shaming their pet shi-tzu for being a bad dog or something. In Ghidrah The Three-Headed Monster, my favorite Godzilla movie, when the monsters talk to each other, and the Peanuts translate, there is a twinkle in the eyes of the filmmakers, as if to say "yeah, we know this is ridiculous, but just try to have some fun with it". The motive behind that scene is that it plays as comedic-relief, and is not meant to be taken seriously. The whole point of Godzilla's Revenge is that Minya is teaching Ichiro how to be brave and stand up for himself, and depending on what is your particular poison, it comes off as a great travesty for Godzilla's image, or harmless kid-stuff (I prefer the latter). In Godzilla vs. Mothra, we're expected to believe that this is some serious drama going on, and it just doesn't work. That's exactly the reason why I absolutely despise the moment in Tokyo SOS, where Kiryu basically says "Sayonara" to Yoshito, or whatever his name is. Monsters and humans should never interact verbally in the Toho universe UNLESS it's played for fun.
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Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:42 pm

Of all the things wrong with this movie, I've never had a problem with that.
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Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:47 pm

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:51 pm

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Postby Goji 84 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:51 pm

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Postby MouthForWar » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:57 pm

This movie is simply one that hasn't held up for me very well at all. I've admitted before that some of my enjoyment for the Heisei films comes from nostalgia, but this and Space Godzilla (which didn't even mean much to me as a kid), don't hold up even under that pretense. I actually think the first act (despite awful Indiana Jones riffs) is pretty solid. Its during the middle and when they really get into the environmentalist subplot that it just gets boring, and really doesn't do all that much to make things exciting again, at least until Battra and Mothra start to work together.

Still, I find this movie worth watching every now and again for one very big reason: Battra. I simply love Battra and that's the one Heisei monster I wish we got to see more of in future films... I mean, I like Biollante and Destroyah, but they were good for their films. But the idea of an evil Mothra is awesome and Battra is just a bad ass.
Any other Battra fans out there?
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Postby Thomas » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:05 pm

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:24 pm

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Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:25 am

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:30 am

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Postby Flame of Udin » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:37 pm

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Postby MekaGojira3k » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:55 pm

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Postby Flame of Udin » Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:10 pm

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Postby metal_bryan » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:08 am

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