Mothra vs Godzilla is a classic film and should not be mixed up with Godzilla vs Mothra. They are too different films with very similar names but rest assured that we are talking about the original here. As for which is better, it’s been a long time so it’s hard to say but the new one may have the edge. This film is before Godzilla really got the power upgrades that made him into a famous Kaiju king so you can’t expect him to look quite as good. Mothra has a lot of plot armor here though so get ready for that.
The movie starts with a large egg washing up on shore and a business man named Kumayama quickly buys it. The guy was smart to deal directly with the local fisherman rather than waiting around and it paid off big time. He aims to open up an entire amusement park with his backer Jiro and they are going to be rich beyond their wildest imaginations. It’s a scheme that can’t go wrong..except what if something is in that egg? They are visited by a mysterious pair of twins who confirm that this is not a good idea. The villains will not be scared off so easily and so the twins have to work with Ichiro, Juko, and Miura to save the day. Will they be able to stop these rich guys?
One thing you will notice very quickly here is that the twins are unfortunately not very powerful. Don’t let their mysterious aura fool you they can’t really fight. They mainly are just here to wake up Mothra which is a good role in itself but one day I wish Mothra would give them some kind of super powers to fight back with. It would absolutely be a good upgrade that would really let them cause some damage here. Instead they end up nearly being captured.
As for the main heroes, we get a lot of banter with Ichiro and Junko. Junko is definitely a lot more aggressive and outgoing as she doesn’t mind standing up to the villains and taking her time with the camerawork. Unfortunately she isn’t very good at being a photographer and even forgets to turn off the lens once which frustrates her boss a lot. Meanwhile Ichiro doesn’t want to stir up any waves at first but gradually realizes that he has to do whatever it takes to save the island. Likewise the researcher Miura starts to help out more too and later on we have a whole newspaper battle although nothing deters the villains. Lets face it, they’re prepared to make billions off of this park so no amount of bad publicity was going to stop them.
In the end it’s all up to Godzilla as usual. Unfortunately this is probably one of Godzilla’s worst appearances. He doesn’t look very smart here as he trips at one point and gets stuck. He doesn’t really seem to know what’s going on beyond his pure instincts but what I will say for him is that he never gives up. There is a point early on where the government nearly takes him down for the count but they get too cocky and overload the machine. Given how effective it had been there is a real chance that they would have defeated Godzilla if they had kept on going. Human fans should saver this now because there is a chance that they will not be seeing another win like this anytime soon.
Of course what we are really here for is the big battle between Mothra and Godzilla. It’s a bit of a strange matchup because Godzilla is much more powerful physically and he has the overwhelming long range advantage. His atomic breath should also be able to instantly evaporate Mothra with a good burn so the deck is stacked against Mothra. You do see this at times with heroes going up against great odds but the difference is that Mothra is a massive target so she has no room to dodge and not much room to outmanuever the opponent either. So at the end of the day a comeback is difficult that way.
The reason why the fight doesn’t work is that they have to nerf Godzilla to try and convince you that he would lose. He forgets to use his atomic breath for most of the fight except in very short bursts which do not really do much of anything. If he kept this up from the start then Mothra couldn’t even get close and would lose right away. You could make the case that Godzilla wasn’t able to use it for long bursts back in the day and didn’t have the stamina for it yet. I have doubts on that but either way he would still win this round if he just moved a bit more. The Mothra larvae basically pin him down with a lot of string but he should have been able to easily get around that. He only loses because he basically doesn’t move at all which really hurts him here.
I still enjoy the fight because it is a kaiju battle but it was just hard to buy into. Godzilla should win this fight 10/10 times. It was just an off day for him. Meanwhile Mothra is doing her best to protect the kingdom so you have to respect that. She is definitely one of the most heroic Kaiju out there without a doubt. It’s good that the humans have someone that they can rely on at least even if it feels like the tribe wouldn’t help out ordinarily so you better hope that you get to Mothra or the twins directly. Otherwise Earth’s guardian may not help out.
The writing is solid and the film has a good amount of humor in there. The Showa Godzilla films always felt like part comedies with the human characters probably as a contrast to the monster battles. I think it works well enough here. None of the characters are particularly memorable but they’re not bad which is the important thing. The monsters show up before long and once the fights are here then you’re all set. It doesn’t quite have the hype of Godzilla vs King Kong but it soundly defeats the first two films without much trouble.
Overall, Mothra vs Godzilla is a pretty good film. The fight definitely comes across as cheesy since you can’t picture it ending the way that it did though. I feel like they could have just had Godzilla win and then walk away. Maybe that would be cheesy in its own way but you can also think of it from this perspective. Godzilla doesn’t really bother with humans until they start the fight in most instances. So he may be satisfied with defending his crown as the King of the Monsters and just leaving. I could totally see that working. Either way I would recommend checking this film out. It has aged well and you can’t go wrong with Godzilla adventures.