Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Kaiju Watch: Rebirth of Mothra/ Mothra Returns (1996)
Director: Okihiro Yoneda
So, this movie was insane.
Rebirth of Mothra/ Mothra Returns (1996) arrived with those kind of groovy Godzilla films where they were re-doing the earlier movies in a 90's context, and decided to expand the franchise with some Mothra solo flix. It just happened to be directed by a second unit director who maybe wasn't quite ready for his own picture?
The first half has this weird vibe like an American kids movies of the late 80's - squabbling parents, a bratty younger sister maybe? But then enter the Twins/ The Faeries from prior Mothra appearances. And they HAVE NAMES. (Mona and Lora. Who figured?) They also have a gothed out sister who went evil who rides around on a tiny dragon.
There's absolutely no sense in this movie for long how a scene is supposed to go on or what constitutes drama. Or that when you get into the second act of a kids movie, usually don't brutally injure and kill your leads off. Or show the aftermath of a kaiju rampage, complete with injured and traumatized parents.
The villain is Not-Ghidorah. I think it's supposed to be a sort precursor to King Ghidorah who got stranded on Earth and has four legs and is not gold. But he is exactly the same sort of rampaging asshole who is going to outclass a very large moth (who suddenly has lasers and a veritable Swiss Army Knife set of powers I'd never seen before). Really, you keep expecting Godzilla to show up, because this seems like his scene, but he is curiously and inexplicably AWOL (and unmentioned).
But, yeah, it's a Mothra movie, so Mothra gotta die, cause that what Mothra do.
Still, you get more Twins/ Faeries than I ever dreamed we'd get. Plus you get some of their story. And lots and lots of Mothra. And people screaming at Mothra to run away, to fight harder, to not die, etc... I mean, it just goes on and on.
My favorite character in the movie is The Mom/ Mrs. Goto, who is kind of over it before the movie starts and when she boards a plane to get to her husband and try to get him to put the plug back into the Ghidorah hole, she looks positively hung over and never really looks like she wants to be there throughout the movie. Which, fair enough, faeries busted up her house and are maybe going to get she and her family killed.
I'm not sure I actually recommend this movie, more or less because it's an 80 minute movie they stretched to 105 minutes. There were genuinely so many places to trim and they refused to do so when it was the merciful thing to do. But it is pretty kooky, and features so much Faerie/ Mothra action, you can't go wrong.