Godzilla vs. Mothra I (1964)
First off, there are two movies in the series by this name. I'll call the one made in 1964 Godzilla vs. Mothra I and the one made in 1992 Godzilla vs. Mothra II so as not to get them confused, ok?
Riding the wave of success from 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla, Toho Studios decided to pair Godzilla with another popular monster from its inventory, Mothra the huge mutant moth. Mothra had made a splashy entrance in 1961's Mothra and seemed a logical opponent for Godzilla.
Many people consider this movie to be the best of the series, just behind the original from 1954. I wouldn't go that far, but it's still in a completely different class than the stinkers of the 1960s and 70s. It made enough of a buzz to assure that the series would continue.
Ok, on to our show...
The opening credits are simple script and race by quickly. Behind them a huge ocean storm boils and rages, we later will learn that it's "Hurricane Abe". Crashing ashore on eastern Japan, the typhoon knocks over telephone poles and washes sailboats up onto the beach. Fairly common stuff if you live in Japan or South Carolina.
As the credits end, we cut to the next morning to view the aftermath of the storm at "Karada Beach". For the life of me I can't find where this is in real life despite trying like ten search engines, though later internal references suggest that it's in central Honshu somewhere. There's an industrial reclamation project here that was hit by the storm, and now the area around the work site is strewn with flotsam and swampy seawater. The reclamation project apparently involves "pumping sea water back into the ocean" to create new land to build an "industrial area" on.
Public works project.
A small media circus has developed around the mess, complete with gawkers and hard-hat wearing workers. Up drives a cool-looking jeep which pulls to a stop at the edge of the waterfront. The front grill sports the name "Nissan" in English, which seems very strange. Why would a domestic vehicle have the brand name in English? Was the vehicle made in America? Maybe Hong Kong? Anyway, from the jeep jump our movie's two heroes--a hard-nosed, obnoxious newspaper reporter and his earnest, if green, female photographer.
The reporter is Ichiro Sakai, played by 29-year old Akira Takarada. Takarada will be best known to Godzilla fans as the gallant young Ogata from the original 1954 Godzilla, a role that he played to perfection. Since then he has had a long career in film and is still acting today. In addition to the original, he has also appeared in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster in 1966, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero in 1965, and returned to play a bit part in Godzilla vs. Mothra II in 1992. Sakai is a big, burly man with an Elvis-wannabe haircut and a penchant for skinny neck ties. He exudes arrogance and self-importance, typical 1960s movie leading-man material, and looks ten years older than his 29 years in this movie.
The photographer is Junko "Yoka" Nakanishi, played by Yuriko Hoshi, who was just 18 (!!!) when this movie was made. Hoshi played in two other series movies, oddly enough nearly forty years apart--Ghidrah in 1964 and then Godzilla vs. Megaguirus in 2000. Look for Yoka to change her complete outfit about a dozen times in this movie, each new look fashion-savvy and 1964-trendy. In this opening scene she has a brown tweed blazer and matching pill-box hat, kind of a Jackie O.-meets-a-riding-instructor look. Yoka is indeed an attractive woman, with delicate features, a Tippy Hedron haircut, and beneath her many outfits sports a slim, lithe figure that would make a potato sack look like Chanel.
Within twenty seconds of meeting them we can clearly peg their characters, and a complete watching of the movie will prove that these initial observations are mostly correct. Sakai is a royal jackass with a superiority complex and a 15th Century view of a woman's role in society. Yoka is window dressing, potential love interest and not much more. Sakai treats her like a child, berating her in public and showing her little respect. Yoka is submissive, however, and follows him like a puppy regardless of his attitude.
The developer whose project just got smacked by the storm now enters the scene, followed by his entourage. He's every single movie cliche about crooked and greasy businessmen ever imagined rolled into one man. Oily and toothy, he talks like a politician (a mortal sin), and is played wildly over-the-top so we don't miss that he's supposed to be bad because he's a businessman. He jumps Sakai for printing a story that said that his project was a mess and behind schedule. Sakai says he just calls 'em as he sees 'em. As Sakai walks away from him, the developer then goes into full spin doctor-mode for the rest of the assembled reporters.
The developer (Hitler moustache, nice look).
Meanwhile, Yoka is out in the water in hip waders, trying to get just that perfect photo of the sludgy pile of driftwood and sea-washed trash. Pulitzer for you! Sakai goes over to insult her intelligence some more, but they notice something bobbing in the slushy flotsam. It appears to be a melted sombrero covered in tin foil and then spray-painted with iridescent colors. Whatever it is, they pick it up and play with it.
We now cut to Sakai's newspaper office. Here we meet Marota, his editor and boss, a nervous man with squinty eyes and a lot of quippy things to say. Think of Lane Smith, who played the editor on the TV series Lois and Clark.
Marota gets a phone call about a "monster egg that washed up on the beach", and he's angry that ace-reporter Sakai is still out at Karada Beach. So instead, he sends out Jiro Nakamura, another reporter and the film's established comic-relief character. Jiro spends most of the movie, including here, eating hard-boiled eggs. Crafty and witty foreshadowing or banal stupidity? You make the call. Jiro is played by 31-year old professional comedian Yu Fujiki, appearing here in his only Godzilla movie.
We cut to a horribly bad bluescreen effect of the aforementioned monster egg floating offshore. It's near a small redneck-infested coastal fishing village in "Shinunoura", another place that defies my efforts to place it on a map. Think anywhere in southern Louisiana and you'll have the right idea of the area. A crowd of citizens has gathered at the beach to watch the egg as it drifts in. The acting of the villagers is atrocious, it's as if they indeed hired actual rednecks from southern Louisiana for the parts and flew them to Japan to stand on the sand and gape.
YeHaw! Jethro, git in the truck!
A Shinto priest is here as well (?), dressed in robes with a black nipple-hat tied to his head and waving a pom-pom on a stick around. He looks like John Cleese from this angle, but that's probably just my eyes. The priest is waving off any Bad Monster Mojo from the egg, which as the movie will eventually show us, is not working. The village mayor, who we know is the mayor because he's the only one wearing a suit and tie, as well as showing a reckless disregard for the safety of others, tells some rednecks to row out to the egg and bring it in. They understandably refuse until the Shinto priest blesses them and offers prayers for their safety. I assume that all this is supposed to show us that these people are backwards, superstitious bumpkins, ever so not like the modern, urban Japanese of 1964 with their Toyotas and their imported soda water.
Anyway, we now see a helicopter (an American-made Bell H-13 Sioux) from some media agency hovering over the egg as the villagers row out in several small fishing skiffs. From this view, we can estimate the egg to be about 50-feet long. Presumably the egg washes ashore on its own, because there's no way that these little boats are going to tow that big egg anywhere.
Ah, yes, glorious exposition. We now cut to two newspaper front pages, spinning into focus in a bit as old as film. They are filled with all the information that we the audience need to get up to speed on the events to come. Since they're in English, I wonder if the Japanese version also used this overworked segue devise or did they just assume the audience would figure out things on their own. The first front page is the Maicho Daily and along with a photo of the egg the headlines read "Mammoth Egg Floats Ashore! Like a gift brought by super-scale typhoon". The second paper is the Eastern Gazette (oh, please) and the headlines read "Unable to find true identity of egg. Doctor Miura of the Keinan University grappling with the mystery. Danger of radioactivity? Shinunoura enlivened by appearance of historically unprecedented mammoth egg."
Ok, we now cut to the redneck beach where the egg has now washed ashore. Since we will soon see that Sakai and Yoka are still wearing the same outfits, and it's still light, I assume this is still the day after the storm. The egg is again about 50-feet long, gaily colored in mottled patterns of blue, orange and white. It looks very cheesy and I wonder how many Paas kits it took.
As the spinning newspaper noted, Doctor Miura is here collecting samples of the egg's shell. Other than a few assistants he appears to be the only scientist here. Why only one scientist? Wouldn't a monster egg bring the entire scientific community to the site? Knowing Japan's recent history with giant monsters, you'd think they'd take this all more seriously. It's as if giant eggs wash up ashore all the time. As well, a Yahoo search for his "Keinan University" tells me that no such institution exists in Japan but one does in South Korea. Is this right?
Doctor Miura is played by 35-year old Hiroshi Koizumi, a popular science fiction actor who specialized in professor/doctor/scientist roles throughout his long association with Toho Films. He would eventually appear in four other series films, including Ghidrah where he played the same Doctor Miura character. To help with all the Japanese names, I'll call him "Scientist-Guy" for the rest of the review.
Sakai is still being annoying, badgering and bugging Scientist-Guy with questions. He's such a jerk here, and Scientist-Guy is understandably not interested in talking to him. Finally, using her obvious feminine charms, Yoka gets him to agree to answer one question for Sakai. Sakai's question? "Is there a chance that the egg will explode?" What? That's your question?
Enter Kumayama, a greasy businessman trailed by some local rednecks. We're supposed to despise Kumayama from minute-one because he shows all the signs of Evilness--vest under his suit coat, pocket watch, Adolf Hitler mustache, toothy grin, oily hair. He introduces himself as "The Great Entrepreneur", which seems like a dumb title, and he represents "Happy Enterprises", which is an even dumber title. Kumayama is played by 43-year old Yoshifumi Tajima, a versatile actor who would eventually appear in five more Godzilla movies.
A redneck with a bottle of booze in his hand (no ethnic stereotyping here...) says he sold the egg to Kumayama because the egg "drifted into our waters." Okay...probably not what the authors of the Maritime Salvage Laws had in mind. So this one drunken redneck has salvage claims on the entire beach in front of his village? To back up his claim, Kumayama produces a receipt for the egg. He quotes the price he paid as 940,038 yen. Was this a lot in 1964? [Editor Pam: Let's see, my currency converter says that 940,038 yen is currently worth about $10,275.00. Not too bad for 1964, assuming he got to keep it all and didn't have split it with the other villagers. One would think the other villagers wouldn't accept this too well, though. The mayor's probably thinking of ways to get a chunk of it.] When pressed, Kumayama says he came up with that odd number because the monster egg is equal to 153,000 chicken eggs (!!!) and he just multiplied. What? Apparently Kumayama, along with being Evil, also has a degree in mathematics from Hollywood Upstairs Science College.
Kumayama plans to exhibit the egg to the public and charge admission, and scientists can examine it if they pay a premium price. His rednecks then begin roping off the egg and shooing the scientists and press away. Kumayama asks Yoka to take his picture, but then blows cigarette smoke in her camera just as she snaps the shutter. Why did he do this? Just to show us that he's Evil? To further heap insult on poor Yoka?
That night, Sakai and Yoka are in the lobby of a nearby hotel. Yoka has changed her outfit and redone her hair and she now wears a red sweater over a red and white-striped shirt and a white, pleated skirt. I assume that where she lives is a long ways from where the egg is, so did she bring a change of clothes with her? Did she buy them there? Why did she redo her hair? Surely she's not trying to impress Sakai, he's a flaming jackass. Anyway, Yoka complains about Kumayama's Evilness, calling him a "beast". She's more upset because she was insulted and Sakai didn't seem to care. Hello!!! What did I just say? He's a flaming jackass!!! To prove that, Sakai then rails on her some more for being slow and unprofessional and blows off her hurt feelings with a literal wave of his hand. Asshole. Hope Godzilla steps on him.
In the hotel lobby also is Scientist-Guy, bummed because he can't study the egg and drowning his sorrows in booze. Sakai tells him that if he goes to the government to contest ownership of the egg he will help him. Scientist-Guy replies that it's a waste of time, because the sale is not easily challenged and it would take years as the government is notorious for delaying. Uhh...whatever happened to the concept of government acting for the public good? The Japanese government apparently is taking the whole lasse-fair idea a little too far. Are businesses really more important than potential public safety or national defense? Was Reagan president of Japan in 1964? Even after Mothra and Godzilla appear, the question of the ownership of the egg does not change.
Anyway, as they chat, Kumayama skips past headed for the front desk. We overhear Kumayama ask if "Mr. Torahata is in". Told that he is, he hurries up to the man's room. Sakai, having also overheard this exchange, makes an intuitive leap, saying that he believes that there is someone else behind Kumayama who is providing the financing for the egg buy. These sharp senses are what make him such a spiffy reporter, after all.
And he would be right in this case. The financial might behind Happy Enterprises is one Banzo Torahata. Torahata is played by prolific Toho actor Kenji Sahara. Sahara holds the record for the most Godzilla appearances with fifteen movies. He was just 29-years old in our movie, though he plays a character much older. He's supposed to be an unscrupulous financier/capitalist with his grubby fingers in all sorts of shifty underworld deals. All the signs are there--he wears London-cut suits, sports a pinky ring, smokes cigars, wears sunglasses even inside, has an expensive watch, and an Evil laugh. He also has a stand-up safe crammed with stacks of cash, which is seemingly kept unlocked throughout the whole movie. You'd think a big, well-armed henchman to protect him would be in order, but we never see any of his supposed minions. For the rest of this review, he will be known as "Evil-Capitalist".
Evil-Capitalist (He might as well be wearing a sign around his neck saying, "I am EVIL.").
Kumayama tells Evil-Capitalist that Happy Enterprises now owns the egg and shows him the receipt for it. Evil-Capitalist laughs at Kumayama's estimate of a five million-yen profit, saying the egg will net at least a billion. He shows Kumayama plans for a theme park of sorts, a "natural tourist attraction", which centers around a giant incubator to house the egg. The plans are accompanied by an artistically drawn and painted rendering of the proposed park, which seems like it was done too quickly considering the egg was just found the previous day. He doesn't have any bodyguards but he does have an architect and a conceptual artist on staff?
Map of the project.
At that very moment, they hear two tinny, reverberating female voices telling them that they need to "Return the egg!". Fearing spies (?) are in the room, they freak out. Two tiny, eight-inch tall twin Japanese girls then appear on the fireplace mantel, pleading again that "You must return the egg!" Whoa, too much sake, eh? While they may seem cute and fuzzy initially, you will soon be wishing that Godzilla would stomp them as well.
These exceedingly annoying twins are known as the "Shobijin", which is a combination of the Japanese words for "small" and "beauty". If you've never seen them before (and trust me, you cannot forget them), they're two petite 23-year old Japanese women dressed in yellow and white poodle skirts, white cottonball shawls and topped with hats that look like Hostess Snowballs. Worst of all, they always speak in unison and they sing! Oh, my god, they sing. They're played by Emi and Yumi Ito, who in the early 1960s were an extremely popular singing duo known as the "Peanuts". They were known for covers of American pop tunes and made numerous American tours. Singing ability aside, the parallels to those vile trolls Mary-Kate and Ashley are undeniable. In fact, for the balance of this review I'll refer to them as "Mary-Kate and Ashley", ok?
The Mothra Twins!
Anyway, the two men, being Evil, try to catch them. Apparently Mary-Kate and Ashley have the power to turn invisible for short stretches of time, kind of like Frodo and his One-True Ring. Using this, they initially evade the men. Instead of just staying invisible, however, they reappear again for a few seconds before disappearing again. Maybe they just wanted to give them a fighting chance.
Hearing the sounds of Kumayama and Evil-Capitalist scrambling about the room, Sakai bursts in, saying he thought there was a fight. Let's see...door not locked, open safe full of cash...how has Evil-Capitalist survived this long in the crime business? Evil-Capitalist angrily orders Sakai to get out, then returns to looking for the girls. They're gone, but we have to wonder where they went. Can they walk through walls? Did they sneak out the open door when Sakai came in? They must have.
Sakai meets up with Yoka and Scientist-Guy outside in the woods behind the hotel. What? Why out in the woods? Why not in one of their rooms, or in the restaurant, or in a car even? Anyway, Sakai tells him about Evil-Capitalist, who Yoka labels an "exploiter."
Suddenly, Mary-Kate and Ashley screech at them from a tree branch. The branch is about eight feet off the ground so either they teleported or climbed, but why would they climb up a tree? Their snowball hats have a decidedly blue tint to them now, maybe a result of the horrendous bluescreen effect. They begin to beg, "Please return the egg! Please return the egg! Please return the egg!" Shut up!!! Would somebody please return their egg, Dammit?!?! They explain the situation, namely that they're from "Mothra Island" and the egg belongs to their god Mothra, and since it was washed away by the recent hurricane, the natives have been praying for the egg's return nonstop.
Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
Okay, at the first mention of Mothra, Sakai blanches as if he knows who that is, though it's an ambiguous reaction. Less vague is when the girls first say "Mothra Island" and Scientist-Guy jumps in, "I've heard of your island. Weren't atomic tests conducted there after the war?" What he didn't say was, "Mothra Island!!! Wasn't that where that huge freakin' mutant moth came from that rampaged through Tokyo a while ago???? Run!!!". So by this I assume that all the events of the 1961 Mothra are null and void in this timeline. We'll see if this jives with the rest of the movie. Also, it pegs Mothra Island as being in the South Pacific, which we already guessed. As a side note, in the 1961 Mothra, the island was called "Beiru Island", but in the Godzilla movies it was always "Mothra Island" or sometimes "Infant Island".
Mary-Kate and Ashley warn that a huge larva will soon hatch out of the egg and might cause trouble to Japan as it tries to return to the island. The three of them agree to help all they can. The twins thank them and say that "the Thing" thanks them also. Through the trees, the huge mutant moth Mothra can be seen, resting on top of a hill, looking all bad-ass like a giant moth should.
Okay, a word of explanation. When this film was first released in America, the PR department unleashed an advertising campaign in which Godzilla's adversary was only known as "the Thing". In the initial posters for the movie, Godzilla appeared along with a big question mark that obscured the opposing creature, and the title was changed to Godzilla vs. the Thing. So in the movie itself, Mothra is almost always referred to as The Thing in the dubbing, though there are a couple of times when the name "Mothra" does slip through. Including once in the above scene when the girls say, "The Thing wants your help too, Mothra wants the egg home again." For this review, I will always refer to Mothra as Mothra. Show some respect, people.
We cut back to the egg beach. It simply has to be at least a month later, likely much longer, because an impressive amount of infrastructure has been constructed around the egg where there was once empty beach. There's extensive pipe work, outbuildings, roads, and an entire glass and concrete visitors center or office building, as well as a large greenhouse-like incubator around the egg. I gotta say all this would take at least a month, right? And who would build all those structures on sandy beach on the typhoon-prone shores of Japan, anyway? Probably couldn't get an underwriter for all that.
There's another a time problem here. Sakai, Yoka and Scientist-Guy are seen here in the main office trying to convince Kumayama and Evil-Capitalist to return the egg. Yoka is wearing the same outfit she had on the first day of the movie, which was either yesterday or several months ago. I sure hope it's the latter, because otherwise she put it back into the rotation way too soon. And if it's many months later, then why did they wait so long to have this meeting? Something doesn't jive. Kumayama reacts to the request by threatening to sue our heroes for "interfering with private enterprise." Man, Japan has some seriously flawed business ethics laws. Are you sure Reagan wasn't president in 1964?
Sakai says that "Mothra, the Thing, is the real owner of the egg". At the mention of Mothra, Kumayama and Evil-Capitalist both go ashen, obviously both aware of what Mothra is and frightened. So does this mean that Mothra did indeed trash Tokyo like in the 1961 Mothra? Why is that hugely destructive rampage never explicitly mentioned in this movie? Evil-Capitalist recovers and laughs and asks to see the power of attorney given to them by Mothra. Oh, you Evil, Evil man. Playing his trump card, Sakai opens an ornate wooden box the size of a tackle box, revealing Mary-Kate and Ashley!!!! The way the box was bounced around so much while being handed to Sakai, they must have been smashed against the walls. As well, the interior of the box is pretty Spartan--not even any shredded newspaper and carrots.
What??? As he opens the box, Sakai says, "I understand you both met the girls last night?" Last night??? What??? If this is true, and it simply cannot be, then all that infrastructure was built around the egg in like the last eight hours!!! And even worse, if that's true, then Yoka is indeed wearing the same outfit two days in a row!!! Kill me.
Anyway, ever the opportunists, the two Evil dudes try to buy the twins for some traveling freak show or something. Kumayama offers 200,000 yen in advance for them, and then offers to double that. Disgusted, Sakai, Yoka and Scientist-Guy pack up the twins and leave. Personally, after hearing them screech, "Please return the egg!" all those times, I'd sell the girls in a heartbeat. After they start singing later, they're really gonna wish they had taken the 200,000 yen.
Back at the hotel again, our heroes are bummed and all they can think of is to have Sakai write a story about the situation. He says, however, that it wouldn't work because "public opinion is powerless against the law." Crikey! Japan in 1964 is an oppressive police state run by big business with the rights of the populace stomped on daily! Isn't the law for the people and by the people?
At this defeatist and asinine talk, Mary-Kate and Ashley wisely bolt. On a hunch, our heroes follow them out to the woods where Mothra was. And indeed, Mothra is still there. So I guess this is supposed to be the next day after all, either that or Mothra has been sitting on this hill for months waiting patiently while no one saw her from the air. Whatever. The twins are seen holding on to Mothra's head, saying goodbye as Mothra lifts into the air, flying them back to Mothra Island.
Three things here. As Mothra lifts off, she gives that screech that she's known for. While this may be distinctive, it's also excruciatingly piercing, stabbing way down deep into my soul like Satan's claws on a chalkboard. She also flies as if she's attached to strings (hmmm...) and her body does not move even as her wings beat furiously, a so-obviously unnatural flight pattern. And lastly, in the wide shot of the eight-inch tall twins hanging on to her head, when you extrapolate it out it makes it seem that Mothra is only about eight to ten-feet long. Mothra is supposed to be about 213-feet long in this movie.
Our inept heroes proven failures, the Happy Enterprises egg project proceeds. By now, the construction around the egg is massive. To heat the greenhouse incubator, large furnace buildings have been built, complete with massive duct piping and heating relays. This is easily six months to a year of labor but we are led to believe that it happens like in a couple days. Kill me.
The village rednecks have heard the rumors about Mothra wanting the egg back and they surround Kumayama and demand the rest of the money for the egg and the rent on the land, despite the contract that specifies the money will be paid out on opening day. On this one I gotta go with Kumayama, as much as the movie wants me to side with the rednecks. They signed the contract, they should have read it fully, enough said. However, Kumayama agrees to pay them the rest, probably afraid of getting lynched. Kumayama asks Evil-Capitalist to cover the expense, but Evil-Capitalist refuses, until Kumayama agrees to a loan, with his stock in Happy Enterprises as collateral. Stock? Is Happy E. a publicly traded company? Just what do they do, other than build incubators for giant eggs?
Back in his newspaper office, Sakai complains to his editor about the ineffectiveness of his articles to stop Happy Enterprises. Sakai is worried that his articles are just giving them more publicity. Bad PR is better than no PR. The editor, by the way, looks just like Jonathan Higgins, the English butler on Magnum P.I., but that's not important right now. He then sends the comic relief reporter Jiro to cover the giant egg story, just to get him out of the office. Just then, Yoka arrives, saying that Scientist-Guy needs to see her and Sakai. Yoka is now wearing a smart taupe jacket set over black pants and a blue shirt, a very cute look. Her penchant for unflattering hats, however, is beginning to bother me.
Sakai and Yoka arrive at Scientist-Guy's laboratory, which I assume is at Keinan University, which really can't be in South Korea, I guess. Scientist-Guy puts them through what looks like a disco steam bath. I think I know where Star Trek got their ideas from now. The glass cages are filled with dry-ice smoke and lit with purple mood-lighting, and hot enough that Sakai has to remove his jacket while Yoka smugly keeps fully clothed. Scientist-Guy explains that they were radioactive but now they are clean (?). Hey, haven't they been "radioactive" now for many months, or was it weeks, or days? Kill me. [Editor Pam: Oh, no way. A little smoke and heat and some funny light can't remove radioactive contamination. Besides, how did he know they were radioactive? I didn't see them go through any detectors. Also, it's not clear if by "radioactive" he means that they have radioactive material on their bodies and/or clothing, or if they had ingested enough radioactive material so that radiation detection equipment could pick it up. If it's internal contamination, these booths really couldn't have done anything about it. Not only that, but if they're radioactive now, the clothes they were wearing when they handled the mysterious flake probably are, too, and nobody seems worried about that. Also, nobody seems concerned about what effect this radioactivity will have on their health, neither the scientists nor the reporters themselves. What brave reporters, their lives mean nothing if only they can get the story!]
The purple-smoke booths.
He then shows them the melted sombrero-thing that they found in the beginning of the movie, remember? I don't recall them giving it to Scientist-Guy, and I can't imagine when or why they would have done this, but that's what he says. The sombrero is also radioactive and he still doesn't know what it is. I'm betting it's a flake off of Godzilla. Putting two and two together, they decide to go back out to where they first found the sombrero to look for more radioactive things. So, our heroes travel back out to Karada Beach, now dry but covered with a thick layer of hurricane-deposited mud. Scientist-Guy can find no trace of radioactivity, which bums him out.
The greasy land developer from the first scene of the movie then arrives in an awesome black Dodge sedan, dripping with chrome and style. How Evil, driving an American car! He tries to pimp all the work he has done here since the flood, boasting that all is back on schedule. Finding out about the suspected radiation, the developer orders Sakai and Scientist-Guy's people to leave at once. Evil man, showing more concern for timetables and profits than the health of his workers. Normally such a character would get eaten by the monster for his comeuppance, but not so here. [Editor Pam: I'm not sure, because I wasn't in Japan in 1964, but there was probably a government organization responsible for the control of radioactive materials. Or did the Japanese government not care if radioactive sombreros were scattered around the country? Right now nobody knows what the flake really is, so how do they know some research lab hasn't been careless with its radioactive materials? Shouldn't the reporters and/or Scientist-Guy at least try to notify the government? The government ought to be concerned about large pieces of radioactive material turning up in public places, not to mention that at least two people are known to have been exposed to whatever it is. Or has the government assigned Scientist-Guy to investigate? It doesn't look like it, because if he was supposed to look into it, he probably wouldn't leave so meekly.]
Still being a jerk who treats her like a slave, Sakai goes to get Yoka. Yoka is trying to take some photos of the mud flats but she claims that the ground keeps shifting. Sakai soon sees what she's talking about and Yoka hangs on his arm like all women do in 1960s movies! Arg!!! Woman, he's a pig! Stop it!
And now, finally, 31 stinking minutes into the movie, Godzilla arrives!!!! 31 minutes in! This is called Godzilla vs. Mothra I right? Not Reporters vs. Businessmen? From beneath the muddy flood plain our favorite giant radioactive mutant lizard bursts out. I assume, though it's never stated, that Godzilla was washed ashore with the hurricane and buried under the mud. If you recall, at the end of the last movie, King Kong vs. Godzilla, our lizard was last seen falling into the ocean. Why he chose to lie dormant so long, even after being washed ashore, is anyone's guess. Everyone flees as a huge tail erupts from the mud, followed by the rest of our lizard. In a neat bit, he shakes the sandy mud from his body like a wet dog. Though he does end up quite clean--wouldn't some mud still be stuck to him?
In nearby Nagoya, a city of several million people, word comes that Godzilla has been spotted and is heading towards the metroplex. A shot of a clock tower tells us it's 4pm when the citizens begin to panic, running and shouting as they evacuate their city. The several shots of the "frantic crowd" are lame, the people don't seem to be very enthused about running away in fear. It's almost as if these extras were only paid a few yen to run down the street in a group and it wasn't worth it to try very hard.
Anyway, Godzilla beelines for Nagoya, first coming upon a huge oil refinery. The bluescreen composites here are absolutely miserable, 3rd grade art class bad. The difficulty of these shots on color film is evident, in black and white you can hide the bluescreen lines easier. Getting down to the business of mayhem, Godzilla heats up his spines in cool electric blue (!), and sets the refinery afire with one Atomic Fire Breath blast, roaring happily as the fires rage. People run and fire trucks race about (what's with the fire trucks and these movies?).
As Godzilla heads deeper into the city, we get the first of many proofs that he's drunk, stoned, dizzy from lack of sugar, or just klutzy. Passing a large tower his tail gets stuck in the girders (?!?!?!) and it snaps him back like a cartoon dog on a leash. He then comically runs in place trying to pull himself free (!!!), which he finally does, and pulls the tower down on top of him. (!!!) Pissed, he trashes the fallen tower.
We cut to another crowd shot of frenzied people running and pointing. Again, the extras don't seem too scared, and on slow-mo, several of them can be seen smiling and laughing. In one shot a gray VW Beetle is on the street, I didn't realize that they had made it to Japan in 1964. I'll have to ask Terry the VW God about that one.
Next, Godzilla heads for the ancient and world-famous Nagoya Castle, a massive pagoda structure easily recognizable to Japanese audiences. Here we get Drunk Proof II, as he slips on the retaining wall of the dry moat and falls into the side of the castle. It looks just like when my two year-old son trips while running and piles it in. Pissed, he tears the castle apart with his claws. The miniature castle collapses way too quickly, the insides obviously lacking internal supports. As the walls fall, you can see Godzilla steady himself on the foundation in a move that makes it obvious that working in the suit had to be hell.
Godzilla approaching Nagoya Castle.
Umm, ok...We cut suddenly to Godzilla walking along an empty beach. Umm...I guess he gave up on Nagoya? I hate it when they do that to us! Give us some transition shots, please!
Anyway, we zip now to a meeting of military leaders and suits, both American and Japanese. An American civilian, who looks just like Ed O'Neill from the new Dragnet series, is saying that the United States will help the Japanese by employing the newly developed "Frontier missile" against Godzilla, which he says is the "newest and most powerful weapon that the unit has developed". "The unit"? What unit?
Then another American, this one a high-ranking military-looking guy in a khaki shirt with lots of ribbons and pins, says that the problem is "to find a suitable spot from which to launch the attack on Godzilla because the destructive power of the Frontier is so tremendous." Ok, first, the man's "uniform" is laughably plain, typical of 1960s movies where any shirt with epaulets was considered military. Also, isn't the problem not finding a place to launch from, but finding a place to lure Godzilla to so any spill-over damage is kept to a minimum? I'd think the range of such a missile would be great enough that you could launch the attack from a very long distance.
Then the head Japanese military leader stands up and says that "all forces will consolidate" and goes on to assign tasks for them. It's decided that the US Navy will attack Godzilla on the beach, to spare population centers, while the Japanese Self-Defense forces will try to hold a defensive perimeter around Nagoya. Uh, can a Japanese leader really have the power to order the US Navy around? I just can't see CINCPACFLEET in 1964 being bossed around by the Japanese, if anything, I'd think that the Americans would take over the operation as they have the superior forces.
We now cut to the "American fleet", which apparently consists of three guided-missile cruisers. They're all rather well-built models, nicely detailed, though identical to one another. They all have large twin stacks and abnormally high freeboards, and one of the ships has a "29" on her bow. That's no help as "CG-29" is the USS Jouett, a Belknap-class cruiser not commissioned until 1966 and looks only vaguely like these ships. Their armament seems to consist solely of four single-rail launchers for the Frontier missile (though, I guess they could be dual-purpose launchers like the Standard or Talos). In relation to the size of the hull, the missiles are huge, nearly 50-feet long, which simply cannot be, and if it is then they could only carry maybe one reload per launcher. Is this the best the US Navy has to offer? Where's the rest of the Seventh Fleet?
Frontier missile cruisers.
Ok, we see the bridge crew looking through short-lens binoculars at the beach. We see their view through the binos as Godzilla walks along the beach. This has to mean that the ships are only a few hundred yards offshore, right? Why? Does the Frontier have a range of only half a mile? Is it line-of-sight optically guided? Doesn't sound like too cool an idea for a missile, eh? The "American" actors in these scenes were in fact former American citizens who were living in Japan at the time. They were obviously hired more for their race than any acting ability.
Anyway, the first of the Frontiers is fired off, the plastic boats shaking under the model rocket engine-powered plastic missiles. Over the course of a two-minute barrage, they fire at least sixteen Frontier missiles at Godzilla at a few hundred yards range. Guess how many actually hit him? Right, not a single one. In fact, when they hit the ground around him, the gout of dirt rises barely to his head and the concussion doesn't even cause him to blink. Didn't they say that the destructive power of these missiles was "tremendous"? I think not.
Still, Godzilla has been hitting the sauce and Drunk Proof III comes when he slips on an embankment and falls on his ass. From the ships, the Americans wonder if their missiles were effective, but since we can see Godzilla rolling around trying to get back to his feet like a turtle on its back, we can safely assume that the Frontier missile system is a bust. But we'll never really know because we suddenly cut back to Sakai's newspaper office! Stop it, movie!
Murata the editor talks with Sakai, Yoka and Scientist-Guy about what will be done to stop Godzilla. Yoka now has on a red jumper dress over a wide-lapelled white shirt, very trendy. A poster on the wall behind them clearly reads in English "Fly Pan American to India", a product placement? BTW, why is Scientist-Guy here? Shouldn't he be off doing scientist things?
Comic relief reporter Jiro (still eating eggs) returns from the egg site and joins the conversation, saying that perhaps Mothra could stop Godzilla. The idea is seized upon by editor Murata, but Jiro's request for a raise is met with an angry statement that Jiro should have stayed with the egg and next time he will be fired. Murata is needlessly harsh and mean to Jiro here, perhaps this is where Sakai gets his attitude from. The editor impresses on Sakai, Yoka and Scientist-Guy that they must try to convince Mary-Kate and Ashley to get Mothra to fight Godzilla. They agree to try.
We cut now to a night shot of a floatplane carrying them out to Mothra Island. I've had a devil of a time identifying the plane, but I think it's a Grumman HU-16 Albatross. If anyone can do better, let me know.
Grumman HU-16 Albatross?
Then we cut to our heroes rowing a raft out in the open sea (!!!). Apparently the floatplane dropped them several miles offshore of the island and they rowed the rest of the way in. Do two reporters and a scientist really have the skills to row a raft in the open ocean? I hope they didn't pay first class. Maybe it's a restricted island?
Mothra Island is a bad matte painting from afar and an even worse soundstage set up close. Dressed in matching yellow rain suits, the three of them wander around the island for a little bit. The foreground of all the shots is jagged basalt rocks and black volcanic sand, while the backgrounds are "mountains" which are some of the most obvious painted sheets of plywood stood up behind the set that any human being could imagine. Horrible.
It's hard to tell from any of the dialogue in this movie if the island was nuked directly in the "atomic tests" or just was hit by fallout, but the landscape is truly barren and ugly, suggesting that it saw a few airbursts. In keeping with the theme of the 1960s, they engage in some lame anti-nuclear testing ramblings. All very socially conscious of them. Sakai says, "Those who think of war should come here and see this." Well, no...they should go see Dresden or Hiroshima, or Anzio or Minsk.
Our heroes on the island (I wonder what animal that huge rib cage came from? And is that a petrified giant turtle in the background? What kind of wildlife did this island have?).
They are soon ambushed by red-painted natives with loincloths and spiky hair in a scene that is either a great homage or a patent rip-off of the "moon-men capturing the astronauts" scene from the outstanding 1902 silent-movie classic Voyage to the Moon. BTW, that movie, while only fourteen minutes long and in French, is a million times better than Mission to Mars. Anyway, the natives escort our heroes to their cavern temple.
A great civilization obviously once existed on this island, one predating the current inhabitants by many centuries. There are huge carved stone faces and temples, as well as hollowed-out caverns filled with ornate sculptures and furnishings. However, all that we see of the "new civilization" are about three dozen stereotypically 1960s natives in feathered headdresses and loincloths with spears and torches.
For some reason, the natives have made them take off their yellow rain suits. Perhaps yellow is a forbidden color. Now we can see that Yoka is wearing another silly quilted silver hat, offset by a cute black-and-white calf-length pokadot dress, and pumps with three-inch heels (!!!). Not exactly the proper outfit for visiting a nuclear-scarred island full of savages and giant monsters, eh?
The visitors are made to drink the mystical liquid that protects the islanders from the radiation, just like in the 1961 Mothra, though this is never stated and only by having watched the earlier movie can you guess this. This potentially wonderful anti-radiation potion is never mentioned again, despite the enormous potential benefits for mankind. Anyway, the native chief parlays with them, angry about the atomic tests and their failure to return the egg to them. He spouts some more anti-nuclear ravings, though I have to admit that his arguments make a good case for saying the hell with Japan and let the monsters wreck the joint. His ravings, however, do make it sound like Japan itself was responsible for the nuclear tests. This can't be right, Japan has never been a nuclear power. Anyway, the islanders will not help save Japan. Period.
Just then they hear the infernal singing of Mary-Kate and Ashley in the distance. Sakai, Yoka, and Scientist-Guy leave the cavern and follow the singing to an isolated fertile area of the island, the natives following along later. Here they find the twins, or rather a most horrible bluescreen effect of the twins, all shaky and blurry. Man, what a bad effect! Our heroes are mesmerized by the singing, like being at a Yanni concert, I imagine. Mary-Kate and Ashley are friendly enough, but they must agree with the islanders that because the egg was not returned, Japan is SOL.
Yoka pleads with them, saying that Godzilla is killing Good men along with Evil and that's just not right. She then starts to cry and buries her face in Sakai's shoulder (!!!). Yoka, he's a jerk! Sakai takes up her tone saying that they're all a part of the brotherhood of man and if they refuse, the islanders are abandoning their brothers. Blah, blah, blah...Mothra's cry interrupts Sakai's pitiful speech, astounding everyone. Did Mothra hear their conversations from afar and chirp her agreement?
Mary-Kate and Ashley lead our heroes and the natives to Mothra's "cavern shrine". Even though they are only eight-inches tall, the girls easily outdistance the full-size adults on the hike. Perhaps they know a short-cut, or maybe Yoka's three-inch heels are slowing them down. The girls are there singing to Mothra (!!!), oh, what a horrible song! As they turn around, however, we do get a nice over-the-shoulder view that gives us a look down their dresses.
I need help.
They tell them that Mothra has agreed to help them out with their lizard problem. Mothra is old, however, and about to die. If she goes, she will not have the energy to return. It will not be the end, however, for when the egg hatches, a new Mothra will be born to look after the island. It's also interesting to note that Mothra seems to have been convinced to help the Japanese before the islanders or even the twins were. Does this say that Mothra is more kind and understanding than the humans, or just tired of hearing them whine?
Back at the HQ (I guess), the commander of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, a three-star general that we never learn the name of, discusses plans to destroy Godzilla with a bevy of reporters. The JSDF plans to herd Godzilla into an area where engineers will be setting up a trap based around a big pit and an "artificial lightning generator". What? If this great plan fails, and we know it will because it's so lame, Godzilla will be driven into another trap wherein a helicopter unit will drop metal nets on him to better conduct even more electricity.
Artificial Lightning Generator.
This is, of course, the third time in four movies that electricity has been used against Godzilla. In the 1954 Godzilla, it didn't work at all, but in King Kong vs. Godzilla, it worked just fine. In this film, it kinda works, but not really. But it looks really cool on color film this time around, and that's all that matters. We cut now to a bunch of bulldozers and cranes building huge electrical towers and digging a deep pit. They want us to believe that all this work takes like three hours, but there's no way all those massive towers could be erected and that pit could be dug in anything less than a week. Arg.
Cut now to Godzilla plodding along in the countryside, apparently headed towards the egg beach for some reason. He's being hounded by a pursuing group of Japanese tanks that are firing at him like mad. Actually we only see four atrocious plastic models of Type 61 tanks. The screamingly fake tanks fire their little pop-guns at Godzilla and actually score numerous hits. In just a few seconds of screen time, Godzilla takes seven solid hits from 90mm HE shells--two to the head, two to the right kidney, and one each to the right thigh, left hip, and tummy. The largish bursts of flame and smoke from each hit must have been hell for the actor inside the suit, but Godzilla shrugs them all off and keeps moving. Why doesn't he just turn around and roast them?
Type 61 tanks on the move.
Back at the egg beach, Sakai, Yoka, and Scientist-Guy arrive in two jeeps with several blue-helmeted police officers. Why the police are escorting them around is beyond me, you'd think they have more important things to do right now. Yoka has changed outfits again, and now wears a white pant-and-shirt combo with another silly hat and a red, old-lady sweater--not her best look. Also, Scientist-Guy is carrying the box for the girls (they're not in it). Look carefully as they run from the jeeps, there's a case of Jose Cuervo on a wooden bench behind them.
They're surprised to find Jiro here, nonchalantly frying up an egg (enough with the eggs!), despite Godzilla now being no more than a few miles away. Jiro explains that he's more afraid of the editor than Godzilla, as he is "meaner". Ha! When asked about Kumayama, Jiro says he fled when Godzilla started to attack. Our heroes, joined for the rest of the movie by Jiro wearing a comic-relief yellow hard hat, then move up to a ridgetop offering a great view of the bay, the egg, the village and the hotel. They're scanning the skies and fretting about when Mothra is going to show up. This seems weird, I guess Mothra had to do her hair first before leaving for Japan, because how else would they have beat her here? Why did Mothra wait so long before coming after Godzilla? Dramatic entrance?
Anyway, at the hotel, Kumayama rushes in (again, the door is unlocked! No bodyguards?) as Evil-Capitalist calmly prepares to leave. Kumayama angrily confronts Evil-Capitalist, who has cost him his fortune and forced him to borrow his own money at interest. Kumayama attacks Evil-Capitalist, calling him a swine and a crook, and demands his money back. He then punches Evil-Capitalist four times in the nose, knocking him to the floor. A copious amount of blood now covers Evil-Capitalist's face. This is frankly shocking in a movie that has been strictly rated G up to now. In fact, this show of blood is the most surprising thing in the entire movie to me.
Bloody face and gun.
Kumayama scrambles to the safe (again, the safe is unlocked!) and shovels out the money. From the floor, Evil-Capitalist sees Godzilla through the window, lumbering right for the hotel. Terrified, he opens his desk drawer and grabs a small automatic pistol, strangely buried under a stack of papers (bad criminal mastermind!). He shoots Kumayama in the back (this is not a bloody scene, however), and then gathers up the money and tries to escape the hotel, but it's too late. Godzilla hits the hotel with his tail, seemingly on accident, bringing it down on top of Evil-Capitalist. Serves him right for being Evil.
Godzilla then stomps up to the incubator. He stops and glares in at the egg before smashing the structure open with his tail. What is his motivation for being here? Why is he not off munching Nagoya still? Who knows, perhaps it's jealousy over being a childless loner or possibly he just loves a good omelet. Just then, Mothra arrives and the monster smack-down that we've waited all movie for begins.
Here's the tale of the tape:
Height: 164 feet
Weight: 20,000 tons
Powers: Atomic Fire Breath, whip-lash tail, attitude to match.
Length: 213 feet
Wingspan: 443 feet
Weight: 16,500 tons
Powers: Strong hurricane-like winds created with wings, icky yellow poison powder.
BTW, when Mothra was introduced into the Godzilla series in this movie, she had to be scaled down in size to match Godzilla. In the original 1961 Mothra movie, she was 197-feet in length, had a whopping 820-foot wingspan, and weighed 22,000 tons. At these dimensions, staging a fight would have been impossible, thus the downsize.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Round One! Ding! Mothra zooms in (man, what an unnatural flying action), buzzing Godzilla's head before flying over our heroes on the ridge. As the winds from her approach buffet them, notice on the right as Sakai cops a feel from behind on Yoka. Lucky bastard!
Hey!!! There's Mary-Kate and Ashley?!?!? What the hell? I guess they parachuted down from Mothra as she flew over them, or they have the power of levitation, or something. Anyway, our heroes are just as surprised to see them as we are. The twins smile back warmly, though the one on the right never seems to show her teeth. Maybe they are green.
Back to the monster action. Mothra now violates all known laws of flight by hovering stable at a 45-degree angle and flapping her wings at a phenomenal rate, causing hurricane-force winds to form. These winds stagger Godzilla, as well as blow apart what remains of Happy Enterprises. Trying to keep his balance, Godzilla seems to be doing the Elaine Benes herky-jerky dance from Seinfeld. He does fire off a quick Atomic Fire Breath blast, but it's aimed too low to do any good.
The winds also blow the egg across the beach, which may not have been Mothra's intent. That shell must be tough, because it bounces off several rocks as it rolls along. Godzilla, still with fantasies of scrambled eggs for breakfast, chases after it. A quick cut shows Godzilla firing his Atomic Fire Breath again, but the egg is unharmed in the next shot, so either he missed from very close range or that is one seriously tough egg shell.
Before we can think about it, however, Mothra is on him. She grabs his tail (!!!) in her little hands and pulls him away from the egg. Dragging him along the ground on his stomach, she hauls him a ways away (I assume), out into an open area far from the beach. Then she lets him go. Godzilla, seriously pissed, jumps up and starts tossing around his Atomic Fire Breath as Mothra careens overhead. He misses no less than three times, the action edited in ultra-quick cuts like a music video as Mothra screeches incessantly. Arg! That screech is killing me!
Buzzing around his head like a black fly in the Vermont woods, Mothra eventually annoys Godzilla enough that he looses his footing and falls down. Drunk Proof IV, or just Mothra??? Down on his back, Godzilla starts flopping around like a fish on a dock. It's truly sad, and in one shot you can clearly see that they ran the tape forwards then backwards to lengthen the "action". Terribly humiliating for the big guy.
Then Mothra starts to dump all this ugly yellow dry powder on him. Exposition from our heroes tells us this is poison and is Mothra's "last weapon". I'd have to say "only weapon", unless windy wings are a weapon. Anyway, the poison seems to be working, or at least it should be as Godzilla is covered with the stuff. Oh, no! Things look dire for us all. Is Godzilla going down at the hands (wings) of a stupid big moth? The horror! But no, all is not lost! In desperation, Godzilla starts blasting away with his Atomic Fire Breath again. On his third shot he clips Mothra's right wing.
Mothra breaks away from the combat and lands heavily a short distance away, obviously hurting. Godzilla, who has proven to be resistant to the poison, rises and heads for Mothra to finish her off. At the last moment Mothra takes off, bumping into Godzilla as she lifts. In slow-mo you can plainly see that Mothra's tail barely grazes, if it hits at all, Godzilla's leg, but he still flops over on his butt. Drunk lizard. How embarrassing. Godzilla, humbled by falling down again, apparently heads away in the opposite direction. Either that or Mothra dragged him like ten miles away from the egg.
Mothra, wing smoking like a Me-109 with a Spitfire on its tail, flies over to the egg, covering it with her wing as the life fades from her body. The camera holds on her eye, which does nothing. At least they could have done something with the eyes to show us that Mothra is dying.
Mothra protects her egg.
With Mothra defeated, our heroes' police escort flees, accidentally taking Jiro with them (Comedy!). Why did they leave our heroes? They didn't seem to be in that big a hurry, why couldn't they take them along? Mary-Kate and Ashley tell them that they will be safe by the egg, as it will hatch today if they sing to it. Please, no more singing!
We cut now to the field HQ of the JGSDF, set up in a tent somewhere. Here the three-star general points at maps and says, "Commence with 'A' Plan!". "A" Plan consists of a bunch of men and hardware trying to drive Godzilla into the pit where the artificial lighting can zap him. In the coming battle we see that the forces of "A" Plan are weak--three jeeps, two troop trucks, about a platoon of infantry, four 106mm recoilless rifles, seven Type 61 tanks, and eight F-86F Sabre jets.
The horrible model tanks still plinking away with their pop guns, the jets come racing in to mix it up. We clearly see that they are carrying and firing small rockets, probably the dinky 2.75" unguided rockets that Sabres normally carry, but upon hitting the ground around Godzilla they burst into huge geysers of flame like they were napalm. I know this is not how napalm works, but there you go. In one shot, flaming gasoline sticks to Godzilla's head before burning out, which looks cool but may not have been planned and must have freaked out the actor inside the suit as well as the film crew.
Ok, this "battle" is all confusing, full of fast edits, repeated footage and roaring. I've watched this a dozen times and it seems that the military has indeed managed to prod Godzilla into the pit. Except now it's not a pit, just open, flat ground in front of the towers. The General says "Turn on the power!". He and his staff are all staring out from the tent straight ahead, so I guess the HQ was near the towers and not the egg. Anyway, now we see that there's a line of flat, metal plates on the ground in front of the towers. When Godzilla steps on one of them, bolts of artificial lighting shoot out from the towers to zap his head. I guess the plates attracted/conducted the electricity? Godzilla is barely fazed, and he just pushes forward, crushing one of the towers. This stops all the zapping, meaning that if one tower is down, then the whole system goes down with it. This seems like bad design.
"A" Plan now clearly a disaster, the HQ staff flee, so I guess the HQ was behind the tower line and now is in danger of being overrun. Seems like a bad place to put your HQ. In a terribly funny bit, two hapless infantrymen cover their retreat with their little M-1 carbines. You just gotta see it.
Back on the beach, while our heroes fret and worry over Mothra's egg, Mary-Kate and Ashley keep singing, sounding more and more like Enya on crystal. A nifty superimposed shot shows us that the Mothra Islanders are singing, dancing and praying as well. Again, this just doesn't seem like a culture that has been too heavily affected by nuclear tests.
We cut now to the field HQ, supposedly now moved but the background is exactly the same so who knows anymore? The three-star general is still here, with his staff and reporters. Look behind him, there's a guy wearing a full haz-mat suit, with his helmet on and everything (!!!). Why only him? The General says, "Begin 'Operation B'". Operation B? There is no consistency in the dubbing here, first it was "A Plan", then "Operation B", and a little later we will hear "Plan C". It would have taken someone two seconds just to change the dialogue so that they all match, but no! Anyway, we see the second line of defense, which I guess has it's own string of massive electrical towers. Again, all this must have taken weeks to build, not the half a day that they want us to believe.
A group of tanks chases Godzilla into the area again and he's also bombed again by the Japanese Air Force. This time, however, the attackers are three C-46 Commando cargo planes, but we see that they have bomb bay doors that open and four bombs per plane fall out (all miss, or course). I believe that Japan in 1964 was still prohibited from having offensive bomber aircraft, so these modifications to cargo planes are in direct violation of the treaties. Besides, where is the American airpower? Weren't they supposed to "consolidate forces." Maybe after the embarrassing failure of the Frontier missiles, the Americans went home.
Having entered the trap, "Squadron XY" is called in to close it over him. Squadron XY consists of sixteen quivering, shaking plastic model Kawasaki KV-107 helicopters (versions of the American CH-46) carrying four heavy, metal nets in most unconvincing fashion.
KV-107s and the net.
They manage to drop all four nets right on Godzilla's head, however. So, they can hit him with nets but not with missiles, bombs, shells, and bullets? The second series of towers are activated, and again artificial lightning arcs out to zap Godzilla, the nets conducting it. This seems to be working this time, Godzilla cries out in pain and rage as the electricity gets to him, thrashing about in agony on the ground as the nets cover him like a wedding veil. Is this the end??? Oh, poor lizard!
Ah, but hubris gets the better of man. At the HQ, Captain Kirk calls Scotty in the engine room demanding "More Voltage, Scotty!" Scotty replies that "We're registering too much power for safety now, Captain!" Kirk pounds his chair and screams, "Damn the safety levels, I need more power!" And, of course, the transformers overheat and burn out, saving Godzilla.
Pissed, Godzilla jumps up (Hey! Where did the nets go? He was completely entangled in them a second ago and now they are completely gone!) and Atomic Fire Breath blasts a tower, melting it like butter in a pan. He then turns on the tank group that's still lingering nearby. With some sustained Atomic Fire Breath blasts, he melts four of the plastic Type 61s. The flame coming out of his mouth is bluish, but the flames washing over the tanks is yellow. Hmmm...kinda like a blowtorch waved just off-camera over some model tanks, eh?
At HQ, the three-star looks on sadly and orders up "Plan C". No one yells at him for blowing it by pushing for more power, but then again no one ever yelled at Captain Kirk every time he overloaded the warp core. I assume Plan C is the total evacuation of Japan to Ohio because we never see any more action by the military.
We cut now to a small seaside village as it's evacuated by the police--watch again for extras smiling and laughing in the crowd shots. Later inferences lead us to believe that this is the same redneck village where the egg washed ashore, but the terrain and the layout do not match in the slightest. A school principal fights against the crowd, begging anyone to help him rescue a group of children who are out on nearby Iwa Island on a field trip. Personally, I'd think that they are safer out there than near town. As he pleads with a boat master, a horrible bluescreen Godzilla appears over the tree line. Godzilla then kicks through the village. Why attack this little town? I guess if it is indeed supposed to be the egg village then it makes sense as he's still searching for it. But then he starts to swim out to sea towards Iwa Island (!!!). Why would he go there? Does he like kids?
We cut back to the egg, the girls are still singing and waiting, so I assume that this is not the same place Godzilla just trashed. The egg begins to glow as disco lights pulse in multi-color across it. It splits with a thunderous crack and out wiggles two nasty, slimy Mothra caterpillar larvae. Moth larvae hatch from eggs? Is this true?
Jiro (still in helmet!) now returns in a police jeep to explain that Godzilla is headed for Iwa Island and there are children still on it (!). How'd he know this? He was just seen in the field HQ with the General! Yoka gets all motherly and demands that they go out and save the kids themselves. If Jiro found out while at the HQ, don't you think that the authorities would be trying themselves to save the kids? Anyway, our heroes go to the shattered village, where they find the injured principal and secure a boat for the task.
Just to remind us, we now cut to the kids out on Iwa Island. There are about ten fifth-graders (all girls) and two cute young teachers. They run into the caves in the mountains, which again seems like a safer place than anywhere else at the moment. I'll advance this a bit in the story line, but our heroes do indeed manage to rescue the children later in the movie. Shouting from the water's edge, the kids somehow hear them and reply (!). Of all the places to land on the island, they managed to land just a few paces from the kids?
Ok, back to the main story line. Somehow telepathically aware, the larvae have set out to find the killer of their parent, and we see a shot of them swimming toward Godzilla, who is still in the water wading for Iwa Island. Not enough time has passed here, so maybe this was the same village? The larvae sure got there fast if it isn't. And if it is the same village, then why is it only being evacuated now and not when Godzilla attacked the first time? I give up.
Godzilla now gets ashore, hotly pursued by the larvae. He doesn't seem to care too much about them following him, but he does warn them off by Atomic Fire Breath blasting some shacks into flames. The larvae keep coming. Why doesn't he just turn around and stomp on them? Godzilla continues into the foothills, I guess looking for the kids to munch. This motivation makes him out to be a nasty child killer and not a force of nature.
When he stops for a breather (you try walking uphill in that suit!), one of the larva latches on to his tail. Oh, this is embarrassing. Either his tail has some super-strong muscles or the larva only weighs ten pounds, because he starts to flip it around like a balloon before he finally gets loose of it. The whole thing looks terribly cheesy.
This next part is almost too dumb to describe, feel free to insert (???) and (!!!) after every sentence. The two larvae manage to surround Godzilla, who just stands there. They begin to shoot "silk" at him from their fake mouths, a horribly bad special effect that looks like a milk-filled squirt gun stuck through a rubber larva's mouth. Taking cover when he tries to blast them with his Atomic Fire Breath (watch as the plastic rocks melt under the fire breath, it'll make the geologists in the audience cringe), the larvae spin their web all around Godzilla. Covered completely head-to-foot in what looks like a white trash bag, Godzilla stumbles off the edge of the cliff and into the water, just like he does at the end of King Kong vs. Godzilla. Hey, before he was further inland, now he's close enough to the water's edge that he falls in?????
Godzilla all wrapped up.
The larvae cry triumphantly. Our heroes, having returned the children to the village, watch and wave from a cliff as the two larvae swim away, returning to Mothra Island. Exactly how do they swim without any legs or fins or anything? Oh, well, the movie just ended so who cares?
"Bye! We'll see you in the next sequel!"
Written in May 2004 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda and Darci Sharver.
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