Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Franchises: Godzilla. Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (1992)

Godzillamothra1992.jpgFor a little while, this was where the Godzilla franchise ended for me. This film got released on video in the United States for the first time in 1998 to bank on the publicity of the upcoming TriStar movie, as was the case for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (they were both released on the same day), and the following ones wouldn't make it over here until the following year. Therefore, when I bought this flick on video in June of '98 (not too long before my birthday, in fact), it would end being the latest Godzilla movie that I had access to, although I did know there were, at the time, three others thanks to the Godzilla Compendium, which I had recently received after having placed an order for it. For that matter, it was because of the compendium that I even knew of this film, despite the fact that the film's title had been changed to Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth from just simply Godzilla vs. Mothra, which is what it was called there and in Japan. Speaking of which, the bit on this film in that book was also yet another confirmation for me that those toymakers weren't making up certain monsters just to sell toys because it told of how Battra, the less angelic version of Mothra that I had a toy of, had actually been in a film, just one that I hadn't seen yet. I was actually surprised to find this movie on video at all since the compendium had listed it as having not been released in the U.S., as it did for every film made after Godzilla vs. Biollante, but, sure enough, I found it one day in June when I was walking around a new defunct store chain called On-Cue. It was exciting because, with the new movie having been released a short time before (I had seen it by that point as well), I was looking for a lot of Godzilla movies that I hadn't yet seen or been able to find before, like Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, but were now available to me due to that film's release. It also made me realize even at the age of ten that things were changing and the compendium was becoming outdated just as soon as I had gotten it. As for the movie itself, I was sort of forced by circumstance to watch it for the first time when I wasn't planning to. One morning not too long after I had gotten it and a couple of other Godzilla movies, I watched Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster for the first time and then, was planning on watching Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, which I finally had a personal copy of, before going on to Godzilla and Mothra. Well, it turned out that the VHS of Monster Zero that I had gotten was a really messed up copy where the film would speed up every few minutes, making it impossible to watch (that was a problem with a lot of Godzilla movies on video at that time, with a copy of Godzilla's Revenge that I later bought doing the same thing). Frustrated since, as you should know by now, I really liked Monster Zero and wanted to watch it for the first time as one I actually owned, I had no choice but to go on to Godzilla and Mothra, which, of course, worked perfectly since it was a much more recent film.

When I first saw Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, I liked it well enough. At the time, I don't think I liked it as much as Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and it didn't become an instant favorite or anything but I still enjoyed it. In fact, my step-cousin liked it a whole lot more than I did when I first showed it to him. After he saw it the first time, it sort of went the same way that Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster did when it came to the two of us: a film that I thought was okay but didn't go to all that often, whereas he always wanted to watch it whenever he came over. As the years passed and my step-cousin gradually went our separate ways, though, I must admit that my opinion of the film became more along the lines of what it was for King Kong vs. Godzilla: whenever I watched all of the Godzilla movies in chronological order, it was one that I always dreaded having to watch again. I don't know why I started feeling that way about it because I certainly didn't think it was bad or anything. I think I may have seen it as just an okay film that I had to get past in order to get into some better stuff, as I did with King Kong vs. Godzilla (although, I thought that movie was plain bad). So, just like that movie, when I was planning this marathon of Godzilla reviews, I was fully prepared to say that this wasn't a very good one, perhaps even that it out and out sucked... and, like that movie, that harsh opinion has softened a little bit. While I still don't absolutely love this flick and would still put it pretty low if I were to rank the entire franchise, I can honestly say now that it's watchable and enjoyable for what it is. I still think I'd pick Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah over the two of them, but I can safely say that this film is more entertaining to me than Godzilla vs. Biollante (the more I think about that movie, the more I feel that it's not too good). It's certainly not perfect, mind you. Like King Ghidorah, it has a lot of problems, including some more hackneyed writing from Kazuki Omori, a number of errors, and, most damning of all, too little of Godzilla himself. This is really a Mothra movie that Godzilla just happens to be in rather than an actual Godzilla movie, which is why it's not a favorite of mine. But, that aside, like the previous film, I think there's some good stuff underneath the fair amount of mistakes.

A huge meteorite crashes to Earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean and awakening Godzilla. In the wake of its impact, a large typhoon strikes Infant Island, a small patch of land near the Philippines that's under development from Japan's Marutomo Corporation, causing a landslide that unearths an enormous egg. The next day in Thailand, Takuya Fujita, a former archeology professor turned thief, narrowly escapes a trap-riddled temple while attempting to steal an ancient artifact, but is arrested by the police nonetheless. A month later, he's visited in jail by Security Chief Dobashi, Ando, a representative of the Marutomo Corporation, and his ex-wife, Masako, who show him some recent satellite pictures of the island that show a mysterious, large orb. He's offered freedom in exchange for helping Ando and Masako explore the island and discover the orb's identity. While he initially refuses, he reconsiders when Masako informs him that, due to Thailand's harsh laws regarding his crime, he could be facing up to fifteen years in prison. Upon journeying to the island, they eventually discover a cave behind a waterfall containing ancient paintings, one of which depicts two gigantic, moth-like creatures battling each other. They also stumble across the egg on the other side of the waterfall and meet two tiny women called the Cosmos, who tell them that the egg belongs to an ancient guardian of the Earth called Mothra and that thousands of years ago, the Earth was very peaceful. However, when the Cosmos' civilization attempted to control the Earth's climate, the planet retaliated by creating a much more aggressive version of Mothra called Battra, leading to a huge battle between the two giant insects that Mothra finally won. After a massive flood wiped out their civilization, the two remaining Cosmos survived with Mothra by moving to the planet's highest mountains. The Cosmos also tell them that they fear that the recent disasters caused by the meteorite have not only unearthed Mothra's egg but awakened Battra as well. This prediction proves to be true when Battra emerges from a glacier in the Northern Sea and heads for Japan, causing massive destruction when he attacks Nagoya. Meanwhile, the founder of the Marutomo Corporation orders Ando to bring Mothra's egg with them back to Japan, stating it would be safer there, although he actually intends to exploit it. On the way, Godzilla appears and attacks the ship, just as Mothra hatches out of her egg and fights him. After they battle to a standstill, Battra appears, more intent on attacking Godzilla than Mothra, allowing her to escape. The battle between Godzilla and Battra eventually causes a volcanic eruption along the Philippine and Eurasia plates that swallows both monsters up, apparently killing them. However, a new situation comes up the next day when, after staying overnight in Manila, Ando, desperate to bring his boss something from the island, takes the Cosmos with him back to Japan so Marutomo can use them as advertising gimmicks. As a result, the Cosmos call out to Mothra to come for them and the giant caterpillar causes a lot of destruction when she arrives in Tokyo. Although the Cosmos are finally talked into calling her off, Mothra is attacked by the military and proceeds to the Diet Building, where she spins an enormous cocoon to metamorphose into her adult form. Mt. Fuji then erupts and, to everyone's horror, Godzilla emerges from it, having swam up to it through the Earth's mantle from the Philippines. After Mothra emerges from the cocoon in her adult form, she heads off to have a second, final battle with Battra, who is also still alive and changes into his adult form as well. The three monsters then converge on Yokohama, where they engage in the battle to determine the Earth's fate.

The success of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah gave Toho a guiding light as to what to do with their new series of Godzilla films: resurrect the Big G's classic foes with all new origins and bigger, much more modern designs. In fact, they initially thought about doing a direct sequel to the previous film that was to be called Ghidorah's Counterattack but they instead opted to bring back Mothra when they discovered she was the most popular monster amongst women, who, incidentally, made up the biggest chunk of the Japanese movie-going audience. In order to get the film out by December of 1992, they had Kazuki Omori basically rewrite his script for the unproduced Mothra vs. Bagan project he'd been developing to include Godzilla, which led into the aforementioned issue of the Big G actually being little more than a costar in a movie that really belonged to both Mothra and her dark doppelganger, Battra (the latter of whom himself was little more than a reworking of the Bagan creature in the original script). These rushed and, to some extent, uninspired circumstances of its development, combined with the simple fact that Omori's writing this time around was less stellar than even the over-complicated scripts he wrote for the previous two films, prove to be big problems for the final film, as we'll get into, but, at the end of the day, it wasn't much of a concern for Toho. Ironically, another relationship Godzilla and Mothra has with King Kong vs. Godzilla is that it was an enormous hit, holding its own against the Japanese release of Jurassic Park and going on to become the highest grossing film in the Heisei series. In fact, if you don't adjust for inflation, it's the most successful film in the franchise. I have nothing against anyone who really likes either of these films but it just amazes me that two of the movies in the series that I personally think have a lot of flaws and generally aren't that well-made or written are the biggest grossers. I could argue all day long about how there are many other Godzilla movies that are much better but you can't argue with the cold hard facts of box-office returns so, ultimately, what do I know?

Although Kazuki Omori was kept on as writer, producer Shogo Tomiyama decided to go for someone else to actually direct this film, eventually choosing Takao Okawara, another guy who had been steadily making his way up through the ranks over the years. He'd worked as an assistant director on films like 1974's The Last Days of Planet Earth (David Kalat also credits him with having been involved with The Submersion of Japan but I can't any evidence that he was), alongside Ishiro Honda for Akira Kurosawa on Kagemusha in 1980, and, most significantly in regards to the subject at hand, The Return of Godzilla for director Koji Hashimoto. After that, Okawara didn't work for almost seven years before Toho decided to give him his first shot as director on a 1991 film called Supergirl Reisho, which he also wrote. That film didn't exactly light the Japanese box-office on fire but I guess, as had happened with Hashimoto and his unsuccessful directorial debut of Sayonara Jupiter, it proved that Okawara could handle films that involved a lot of special effects, which made him ideal for the Godzilla series. From what I've read of him, Okawara's view of Godzilla was somewhat akin to that of Jun Fukuda: it wasn't something he was completely crazy about but became involved with it anyway due to the studio's insistence. I don't think his opinion of it was as unenthusiastic and contempt-laden as Fukuda's but it seems like Okawara saw his association with Godzilla as nothing more than a job. That makes this whole thing quite ironic for two reasons: one, like Fukuda, Okawara would go on to be quite extensively involved with the series, directing three more after this one, and two, one of those would be Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, perhaps the most emotionally charged film of the franchise. In any case, according to Kalat, Okawara recognized that Godzilla and Mothra was meant to be more light-hearted and family friendly than the previous two films, leading him to touch up Omori's screenplay to emphasize action and humor, going as far as to have Battra appear earlier in the film in order to accomplish the former goal. However, as Kalat himself experienced firsthand when he once interviewed Okawara, the director didn't put a lot of thought into the story's details. When Kalat asked him why the main characters aren't all that surprised or shocked when they discover the existence of Mothra and the Cosmos which should be a given due to the revised timeline of this second cycle of films, Okawara's frank, short reply was, "It's a monster movie, so of course it has monsters in it." I think that right there best sums up his attitude about the whole thing.

As for Kazuki Omori's contribution, I think this could potentially be the weakest screenplay he ever wrote for a Godzilla movie. Yes, even more so than his plothole-riddled one for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. As easy to tear apart as that film's script is, the problems here, while mostly of a different kind, stick out to me just as much, with one in particular being even more jaw-dropping in how poorly done it is. For one, his ongoing determination to copy Hollywood blockbusters becomes most blatant here when he decides to copy Indiana Jones, of all things, by writing in a half-assed rip-off of the famous opening temple scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark at the beginning of the film and out-and-out copying the rope bridge sequence near the end of Temple of Doom not too long afterward. I hope that you now see what I meant when I said in my Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah review that Omori's penchant for doing this only got worse as his involvement with the Godzilla franchise progressed. He went from emulating the general elements of Bond-like action movies in Godzilla vs. Biollante and copying specific concepts in King Ghidorah to now blatantly plagiarizing entire scenes. This kind of stuff is why people's constant referral to Omori as a hack isn't entirely unwarranted. Another big problem with the film's story is its treatment of Godzilla. Like I said, Omori basically rewrote his Mothra vs. Bagan screenplay to turn Bagan into the monster Battra and shoehorned Godzilla into it as well. As a result, Godzilla's presence in the film is very limited. He may have officially entered the previous film after over an hour into it but at least he felt like a necessary component to the story. Here, the story is really about the ongoing conflict between Mothra and Battra, with Godzilla just popping up now and then so we can have another monster thrown into the mix. It really does come across like Omori was writing the story and, at one point, went, "Oh, yeah, Godzilla's supposed to be in this movie. Uh, and he shows up just then and joins the fight between Mothra and Battra!" But I think the most disappointing thing about Omori's writing in this film has to do with the big issues he's trying to address. I'll go deeper into this presently but, for now, let's just say that the moral and political complexities that dominated the previous two films and, if nothing else, made the series come across as having come of age and no longer just stuff meant to entertain kids, is sorely missing here, and that the movie's biggest issue, which is environmentalism, is clumsily-handled. While there are some good aspects to Omori's writing, most notably in that this is the closest he ever came to emulating the distinctive style that Shinichi Sekizawa managed to come up with decades before (indeed, this is the most light-hearted and colorful entry in the Heisei series), it's just a pretty weak screenplay overall.

Another compliment that I can give to Omori's writing is that, for the first time in what feels like ages, the two main characters are both likable and have some meat to them as well. Granted, most of the supporting cast is still stuck standing around with barely anything to do but at least our leads have interesting aspects to their personalities. Despite being fairly young and handsome, Takuya (Tetsuya Bessho) is not a typically noble leading man character. He's a former archeology teacher turned thief who goes around robbing the ancient tombs and temples of various countries in order to make money off of valuable artifacts, none of which he gives to his ex-wife, Masako, for child support. Speaking of which, when the two of them first get together in the movie when Takuya is in jail in Thailand, it's obvious from the animosity between them that their divorce was a nasty one and that she doesn't think too highly of his thieving ways or the fact that he won't pay her any money to support their little daughter. While Takuya assures them that there's no job he can't handle, he initially refuses to help them, despite the offer for freedom, mainly because he assumes he'll be released within a week and that jail feels like the safest place for the moment due to all the stuff that's going on with the meteorite. The only reason he relents is because he learns that he could face up to fifteen years for his botched robbery of the temple (that's a really funny moment when he screams for Masako, Dobashi, and Ando to come back and negotiate when he finds that out). When they first reach Infant Island and explore it, he and Masako continue to fight like cats and dogs, although you can see Takuya begin to soften when he sees a picture of his little daughter, Midori, and reads a note that reveals that Masako told her that Takuya was a policeman instead of a thief. He softens even more after the three of them meet the Cosmos and learn of Mothra, particularly when Ando's employer orders him to bring the egg back with him to Japan. He even gets into a fistfight with Ando when he tries to let Mothra's egg when Godzilla appears and begins approaching the ship because it's holding them back and he further criticizes him when all he cares about is what'll happen when he comes back empty-handed. When they stay overnight at a hotel in Manila, it becomes obvious that there's still some affection between Takuya and Masako and that it's beginning to rekindle when the two of them agree on something for the first time in years (namely that the Marutomo Corporation probably intended to exploit Mothra's egg, which they did) and they talk about how their relationship began and progressed. However, it becomes obvious that there's still some friction between the two of them when they return to Japan upon realizing that Ando took the Cosmos with him and Masako accuses him of not caring about what the consequences of this selfish action will be. Before Takuya can answer, he sees that their daughter is there to greet them but he quickly ducks out of sight and leaves, too ashamed to face her. After he does so, it at first seems like Takuya hasn't changed all that much since he steals the Cosmos back from the Marutomo Corporation and attempts to sell them to an American but when he's confronted by both Masako and Midori later on, he admits that he's not proud of what he did and said that he wanted to use the money to start a new life. When Masako asks if he intended to do it all alone, Takuya says he'd like for her to be in it and when he agrees to aid her in helping the Cosmos, it becomes apparent that their relationship is beginning to repair itself. Something else that spurs him on to do the right thing is when he Midori pleading with the Cosmos to stop Mothra from attacking Tokyo, promising that she'll get her father to stop stealing if they will. From then on, you can see that Takuya has completely changed for the better and, by the end of the film, it looks as if he will have a bright future with his reestablished ties to his family.

While her ex-husband begins the film as a petty thief and grows to become a good person, Masako (Satomi Kobayashi) is good-hearted from the start. She's also very independent, brave, and intelligent, and you buy that if she had any exploration training of her own, she wouldn't need Takuya's help in exploring Infant Island. She may become panicked when there's actual danger, like when the rope-bridge they're walking across on the island break and literally leaves them hanging or Mothra smashes the side of the hotel they're in later on, but it comes across as nothing more than a normal human reaction to the circumstances and she certainly doesn't cry for Takuya to come save her. In fact, when they're hanging on the rope bridge, she angrily berates him for wrongly predicting that the bridge could hold all three of them and gets especially livid when he asks her if she's gained weight. She continues to yell at him for that even when he shoves her down into the river below, which is the only way they have out of the situation. Speaking of which, as I said when I talked about Takuya, he and Masako fight like nobody's business for the first part of the movie and there's a lot of bitter tension between the two of them as well. However, their fighting aside, you can tell that Masako does still have some feelings for him, like when she watches him as he reads Midori's note and looks at her picture. You get the feeling that she wishes he would grow up and finally be a man instead of resorting to petty theft to get by. That feeling becomes even more obvious when they talk about what happened to them while staying at the hotel in Manila and the two of them agree that they should take Mothra's hatching from her egg as an example of the growth that everyone eventually has to go through. That's why she gets so angry at him when, upon finding out that Ando has returned to Japan with the Cosmos, he doesn't seem to have much concern about what'll happen and is even more disgusted with him when she learns that he himself took the Cosmos from the Marutomo Corporation and is trying to sell them. When he says that he wanted to start his life over again with the money, she offers to be a part of his life again but only if he'll assist her in helping the Cosmos, which he agrees to. And that's Masako's best asset: her good heart. She's on the Cosmos' side right from the get-go and does everything that she can to help them, especially when it comes to getting them back from the Marutomo Corporation and preventing Mothra from attacking Tokyo in an attempt to get them back herself. She doesn't trust the Marutomo Corporation at all, even though she works with a representative of theirs when exploring Infant Island (it's obvious that she wouldn't have had him along if it weren't for the fact that the island is owned by the company), and knows from outset that the head of it doesn't give a crap about the environment or keeping Mothra's egg safe. That's my favorite thing about Masako: her independent, "tell it like it is" attitude. A moment that I especially love is when she tells Takuya that could spend up to fifteen years in prison and walks out even though the guy is now screaming bloody murder for her and her compatriots to come back and renegotiate. You know that she told him that to ensure his cooperation and yet, she decided to screw with him a little bit and act like he'd blown his one chance to get out while he could. That's just great!

One guy who seems to be as shady as Takuya originally is but you learn is rather conflicted is Ando (Takehiro Murata), the representative of the Marutomo Corporation who's sent along with Masako and Takuya to investigate Infant Island. The first impression of him that you get is one of a loyal, butt-kissing company man who's really out of his element when they're trekking through the island (for God's sake, he wears a business suit while doing so), even though he says that he's had some survival training. Throughout the trek, you can see that he feels guilty when he sees the damage his company's development of the island has done to its environment, particularly when he learns of the Cosmos and Mothra. On the other hand, however, he goes along with his boss' order to bring the egg back with them to Japan, telling them that his boss feels it will be safer there when he knows in reality that his boss plans to exploit it. He's so desperate to please his employer that he gets into a fistfight with Takuya when he tries to let Mothra's egg go because it's slowing them down while Godzilla approaches the ship, a fight that he ultimately loses along with the egg. When Mothra swims away while Godzilla fights with Battra, all Ando can worry about is how his boss will react when he comes back empty-handed, which Takuya criticizes him for. Desperate to recoup his losses, Ando, after getting drunk at a bar in Manila, takes the Cosmos back with him to Japan, where he's greeted with major kudos from his employer for finding them such a great marketing ploy. But, after they lose the Cosmos, Ando begins to realize how wrong, and downright crazy, his boss is and that he'll never understand the consequences of what he's done or even care, for that matter. When his warnings about the Cosmos' influence on Mothra and that the Earth is getting revenge on him for his destructive development schemes fall on deaf ears, Ando, who gets fired by Marutomo, angrily tells him that he'll end up paying for what he's done. After that, Ando disappears until the very end, when he's seen standing with everyone else as they watch Mothra fly off into space, having changed for the better like Takuya.

The weakest character in the movie is the founder of the Marutomo Corporation himself (Makoto Otake) and the reason for that is his very characterization. While characters in the previous two films like Okouchi and Shindo were complex in that they were sympathetic and likable but, at the same time, represented and strove for things that those films took issue with, Marutomo is an over the top, cartoonish, and utterly unsympathetic character. There's nothing complex about him whatsoever. He's simply the big, bad, environment-destroying developer in a movie that is very pro-environmentalism. He even acts like a villain that you would see in kiddy-oriented, superhero stuff that wasn't meant to have any depth or complexity (you almost expect him to twirl that moustache of his). He's completely irrational and crazy, unwilling to listen to reason on anything and, in fact, acts like a loud-mouthed, spoiled little kid when somebody dares to disagree with him or when something doesn't go his way. Later on in the film when Mothra is plowing through Tokyo trying to find the Cosmos and he sees that Takuya, Masako, and the others have them and he starts bitching about it, Ando tries to talk some sense into but all he gets in response is some insane screaming and name-calling. The moment when Marutomo really comes across as nothing more than a big baby is when he learns of the eruption of Mt. Fuji, which is where he had another development project, and goes all to pieces to the point where he starts bawling. His reaction is especially childish in the English dub: "First the island in the Pacific, now Mt. Fuji... not fair. Why should I suffer more than anyone else?! It's not fair!" Furthermore in the English dub, when Ando leaves after telling him that the Earth is getting its revenge on him, Marutomo responds, "The Earth wants its revenge, does it? Fine with me! I don't care! I don't care. I don't care!" while collapsing to the floor, almost like he's about to have a childlike tantrum. Needless, it's impossible to take this guy seriously as a protagonist and his characterization hurts what was already a pretty flawed message about environmentalism.

Mothra's two tiny companions are retooled here as the Cosmos (Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa) and they're given a more concrete origin than the Shobijin, although their history is told differently in the Japanese and English versions. In the English dub, they describe themselves as the Earth's Cosmos who keep the natural order of things in balance (in the Japanese version, they hint more that they're of extraterrestrial origin) and that thousands of years before, Mothra was the guardian of the planet, which was home to an advanced human civilization that made the mistake of trying to control the Earth's climate, which led to the Earth's retaliation by creating Battra. They say that the civilization was destroyed by a great flood that happened after Mothra defeated Battra and that Mothra herself survived with the two Cosmos by escaping to the mountains. In the Japanese version, however, the Cosmos describe themselves as the last survivors of that ancient civilization that tried to control the Earth's climate and they even say that they hope that humans don't make the same mistakes that they did, whereas in the English dub, they say they hope humans themselves don't make the same mistakes. I'm still not so sure about their connection to Mothra, although their being able to literally fuse with her body at the end of the film, as well as how they react by glowing very brightly when Mothra becomes strong enough to emerge from her cocoon or make Battra see the light, suggests that they are an actual part of her. Since they're described as having been placed on Earth in order to keep the natural order of things in balance, you can assume that Mothra herself is part of that as well and that they may have even created her to be the guardian of the Earth in order to help them do so. Either way, the Cosmos do little more than serve the same purpose that their counterparts in the Showa series did. They have a link to Mothra that they use to call on her whenever they're in danger as well as to communicate with her in general and they also serve as a source of exposition, telling the main characters, and the audience, what Mothra and Battra represent. While their more divine origin and status make them feel less helpless than the Shobijin, they still need to be saved from evil, corrupt humans by either Mothra or the good guys. Given how proactive in the story Masako is, it makes me wish that the Cosmos were the same way. But, that said, I don't find them annoying here as some people probably do and I think these actors' singing is, for the most part, just as beautiful and pleasing to the ear as Emi and Yumi Ito's was (although, I don't think they're quite as cute as those girls were).

Akira Takarada returns to the series nearly 30 years after we last saw him way back in Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (although, the facelift he'd had since then may make him unrecognizable at first) as Minamino, the chief of the Environmental Planning Board that Masako works for. He doesn't have a whole lot to do other than stand around and watch the action on the big video screens, like the other officials, as well as make grave predictions and announcements, but it's nice seeing him back again and he's just as charming and well-versed an actor as he ever was. He's not the only returning actor. Megumi Odaka is here again as Miki Saegusa but she's in so little of the film that I sometimes forget she's even in it at all. There have been times where I'm watching the movie and when I get to the moment where Masako is driving her around as she tries to find the Cosmos with her psychic powers, I'm like, "Oh, yeah, she's in here too." Like I said in my review of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, I wouldn't be surprised if Ms. Odaka was bored out of her mind during the making of this film since she has even less to do here than she did there (at least she had a fair number of scenes previously). And what's more, I don't understand why she was given the direction of looking concerned for Godzilla when he gets buried underneath a bunch of rumble by Battra since he's 100% the bad guy in this film. Even as a kid, I thought that didn't make any sense. Another returning character is Shoji Kobayashi as Security Chief Dobashi, who does about as much here as he did in the previous movie: nothing save for standing around and getting pretty hysterical when things look bad, making weird faces and sounds as a result (some of his lines are especially cartoonish in both writing and delivery in the English dub). Geologist Prof. Fukazawa (Saburo Shineda) is yet another guy who doesn't do anything significant except stand around and monitor stuff, particularly Mt. Fuji when it begins to become unstable later on, as well as order for an evacuation when signs that the volcano will erupt soon come up. Midori (Shiori Yonezana), Takuya and Masako's little daughter, is also a pretty superfluous character when it comes to the action but she is fairly important nonetheless since she's one of the major inspirations for her father to turn over a new leaf, particularly when he sees her promise the Cosmos to make him understand that stealing is wrong in return for them calling Mothra off from attacking. While her voice is pretty irritating in the English dub (it's obviously an adult trying to sound like a kid), I don't think her natural voice in the Japanese version is too bad and plus, she's pretty cute. And finally, as you saw in that picture of Marutomo, Koichi Ueda's appearance in this film is as one of his subordinates, appearing in about two scenes. (Nope, no Kenji Sahara here, which is surprising given how, like Takarada, he was in the original Mothra vs. Godzilla as well.)

In many ways, Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth feels the most old-fashioned out of all of the entries in the Heisei cycle of films. For one, it's by far the most light-hearted, family-friendly one of the lot, with no explicit human casualties or graphic monster violence, save for Battra's rather nasty death at the hands of Godzilla at the end. It's also the only one to have an abundance of fantastical elements to it, whereas the rest of them are purely science fiction, save for a bit of a supernatural subplot in the next film that isn't well explained or dwelt upon (also, the Cosmos do have several brief appearances in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla but the rest of the film is nothing less than sci-fi). Like I said earlier, this was the closest that Kazuki Omori ever came to writing a script in the same distinct style that Shinichi Sekizawa became renowned for... however, I put an emphasis on "closest," as we'll get into presently. In addition, you not only have the return of Mothra, the monster that I think symbolizes the direction the original series took the best, as well as her tiny guardians and their songs, but also Akira Takarada, one of the most familiar faces in the series' golden times. The structure of the film's story mostly serves as a retelling of the original Mothra, with bits of Mothra vs. Godzilla sprinkled in as well since you once again have somebody wanting to make money off of Mothra's egg (although, unlike Kumayama, Marutomo never actually gets it) in addition to the familiar scenario of Godzilla being a bringer of destruction and Mothra being the good monster who battles him. Godzilla's classic screeching roar from the Showa series is brought back here, as well as Mothra's familiar squeaks and chirps and her virtually unchanged design. That's to say nothing of the classic sounds of the explosions that we haven't heard since the Showa series, which are heard a couple of times when Mothra's going through Tokyo. There's a little more anthropomorphic fighting that takes place during the monster battles here (not a ton, though) and the battle ends the way most of them did back in the 60's, with Godzilla being dropped into the water. But, I think the most significant correlation between this film and the Showa series is what an enormous success it was at the box-office, becoming the second highest grossing one behind King Kong vs. Godzilla and hearkening back to infinitely more prosperous times for both the series and the Japanese film industry. It may not be a perfect one but, nevertheless, this is the 90's Godzilla film that brings back the most memories of the original series.

One of the worst types of message movies is a bad pro-environment one. If you watch a lot of these films, you will quickly realize that it's very hard to do one without coming across as preachy or pretentious and, unfortunately, not only do the themes in Godzilla and Mothra suffer in that regard but, even worse, they're not that well-written to begin with. Kazuki Omori may have written his previous Godzilla screenplays far too densely but, at the very least, he was trying to tackle complex issues in an adult manner. That's not the case with the environmental message here. For one, it's a little hard to make a compelling argument about mankind's treatment of the planet when the disasters in your movie are brought about by a random act of nature. A meteorite crashing to Earth is what not only awakens both Godzilla and Battra but also creates a number of other disasters, chief among them damaging the Philippine tectonic plate to the point where the two monsters' battle along leads to an underground volcanic eruption, as well as to instability within Mt. Fuji. Mankind's treatment of the Earth, despite the filmmakers' determination to shove that whole notion in your face as many times throughout the film as they can, had nothing to do with it. In fact, not only do they mention it many times (very vaguely in both versions, I might add) but, when Godzilla appears in the Philippines and Dobashi talks about how the meteorite led to so many disasters in a row, Minamino goes as far as to say that the meteorite lit the fuse to a bomb that man created. How? What did the meteorite pull the trigger on? Widespread pollution is never mentioned, or shown for that matter, and even if it was, I don't know how it could be blamed for what the meteorite unleashes. The ozone layer is mentioned in the Japanese version and while I can see the connection between that and Prof. Fukazawa's mentioning about how the meteorite has caused the air to deteriorate but that has no correlation between the shifting tectonic plates and the rising seas that he also mentions. Deforestation and land development seems to be the only human activity that is really being condemned since we see the results of the Marutomo Corporation's development of Infant Island firsthand but, still, that's not nearly enough reason to accuse the human race of having a part in the film's events. Hell, the development of the island leads to the ground being softened enough to where Mothra's egg is unearthed in a typhoon and since Mothra ends up saving the Earth by convincing Battra to help her defeat Godzilla, it seems more like the Marutomo Corporation should be thanked instead of damned. Some may say that Godzilla vs. Hedorah was not at all subtle with its environmental message but at least that movie made it perfectly clear that the evil creature that could destroy the Earth was a result of mankind's wasteful arrogance. This one has virtually no leg to stand on.

What's more, Omori's characterizing Marutomo himself as an unreasonable guy who only cares about the money he'll make from his land development projects and using the Cosmos as a marketing scheme makes the environmental theme come across like one-sided propaganda. As I said earlier when I talked about Marutomo as a character, we had people like Okouchi and Shindo in the previous films who were sympathetic and likable but also strove for things that those films were making cautionary statements about. More to that point, we actually got to hear their side of the issue and they made compelling arguments about why we should have corporate genetic research or why Japan should be allowed to be a prosperous, wealthy country. Here, a case is never made for the benefits of land development; instead, it's simply, "Clearing out forests and jungles for real estate is bad and those who advocate it are insane, evil psychopaths," which is ironic since the theaters owned by Toho which played this film that, I remind you, became a big moneymaker for the studio came about as a result of the studio's own prosperous real estate holdings. If you didn't read the credits, you would have never guessed that this was written by the same guy who wrote those very morally complex screenplays. It feels more like the work of a Captain Planet writer who was accidentally chosen to write a Godzilla movie. In fact, the film doesn't even do well in condemning the character of Marutomo because the only way in which he directly puts people in danger is by taking the Cosmos as property and intending to use them for advertising, which has nothing to do with his land development projects unless he planned to use them to get publicity for those projects and even that's stretching it. But you know what the real kicker about the whole thing is? Marutomo is never punished. The last time we see him is when Ando tells him that he's going to pay for his crimes against the Earth and he proceeds to have a childish breakdown. Nothing ever comes of Ando's warning. None of the monsters crush Marutomo or destroy his building while he's in it, for that matter, they don't even make it to Tokyo to do so since the big, climactic battle takes place in Yokohama. How could you spend the entire movie making this guy a crazy, greedy, selfish tyrant of a developer and then not have him get his comeuppance? What was the point of it all then? Maybe since he had to crank the script out rather quickly, Omori wasn't able to make it as best as he possibly could but, damn, this is a bunch of flawed writing!

One thing I should never be able to say is, "If you took Godzilla out of the movie, nothing would be lost," but, sadly, that's the truth in the case of this film. If you rewrote it to where Godzilla is not involved and just have Mothra hatch out of her egg on the way to Japan, have the movie play as is until she emerges from her cocoon, and then have Battra show up again after disappearing at the end of his attack on Nagoya, eliminating his fight with Godzilla and their being sucked into the volcano, and turn into his adult form in order to battle Mothra to the death, the movie wouldn't suffer at all. Godzilla is just so superfluous to this story and serves as nothing more than another antagonist for Mothra to deal with, as well as a major big bad that creates an excuse for her to convince Battra to join up with her. Sadly, as a result, he doesn't have much in the way of a character here either. He just pops up now and then to attack anything that he sees, be it the ship carrying Mothra's egg or the military and city after he emerges from Mt. Fuji, leading into his final confrontation with both giant insects. It sucks but that's all I can say about him in this film character-wise. On a technical-level, he looks really good. I think for the long shots during the water battle involving him, Mothra, and Battra, they used the suit from the previous two films after putting it through some repairs because the close-ups of the head during that sequence and the way the costume's head looks during the third act come across as noticeably different. I've always liked the way Godzilla's head and face look in this film, especially in the case of the cable-controlled head they used for close-ups. His eyes are not as dark as they were before, which I like because I think it gives him more of an alive feeling and the fangs are a little more prominent. This is also definitely where you can see some feline qualities in Godzilla, especially in that one, straight-on shot of his face and yet, it doesn't feel bizarre or otherworldly but, instead, quite natural. The head of the main costume used in this film during the third act is a little smaller and flatter and the eyes are a bit darker, aspects that I don't like as much as those of the cable-controlled head, but it's certainly not bad either. And the body is still as effective as it was previously: strong, muscular, and powerful. Like I said, they created a modified form of Godzilla's classic screeching roar for this film, which is what he would have for the rest of the Heisei series, and they also gave him some other interesting sounds, like a lower, more nasally growl and a deep noise that actually kind of sounds like an elephant-esque trumpet. He also has his pained screech as well as a sort of moaning snarl. I know some say that they hate the high-pitched, electronic sort of tone his atomic blast has here but it's never bothered me (in fact, that sound is sporadic because there are moments when the blast sounds the way it always has).

While she's described by the Cosmos as a guardian of the Earth, Mothra doesn't take on this role in the film's actual story until the third act. When she first hatches out of her egg as a caterpillar when Godzilla attacks the ship carrying her egg to Japan, her only concern is defending herself, which she manages to do surprisingly well by using her silk as well as biting Godzilla's tail and launching herself at him. However, despite her initial success, it's apparent that she is outmatched and would be eventually killed if she were foolish enough to continue taking Godzilla on. When Battra appears to join the fight (Mothra's caterpillar form is much smaller than his), Mothra is smart enough to quit while she's ahead and she escapes back to Infant Island while Godzilla and Battra are distracted in their fighting. She doesn't stay there long, though, since she hears the Cosmos calling for her when they're being prisoner by the Marutomo Corporation and heads for Tokyo to save them. Here, she comes across the way she did in the original Mothra: she may not be an evil monster but she'll stop at nothing to save her two little fairies, which includes destroying a military blockade and plowing through Tokyo, causing massive destruction and endangering the lives of hundreds of people. It's only when she finds the Cosmos after causing a lot of property damage in the city that she calms down and, in fact, tries to leave. But, when she's fired upon and injured by the military, she heads over to the Diet Building, where she spins her cocoon and later emerges from it in her adult moth form. Once she emerges from the cocoon, it feels like she's matured in more ways than one, becoming the wise, divine, and noble monster that she's typically characterized as. This is when she returns to her role as the guardian of the Earth and heads out to face and destroy Battra, as happened over 2,000 years ago. But, when Godzilla, who is a bigger threat to the Earth's survival than anything mankind could ever do, joins the battle, Mothra is able to convince Battra to help her in vanquishing him. The two of them work together and do manage to defeat Godzilla but the price of their victory is Battra's life, with Godzilla mortally wounding him while they carry him out to sea. After she drops the two of them into the ocean, Mothra fulfills a promise she made to Battra before they carried Godzilla off, which was to complete his mission of changing the course of a huge meteorite that's hurtling towards Earth and would completely destroy it upon impact in 1999. I really like this because it proves once for all that Mothra is much more than just a big insect: she's an intelligent and noble creature who takes her duty as the guardian of the Earth and mankind, despite the bad mistakes they've made and what they did to her fairies, very seriously and always keeps her promises, which she proves by fulfilling Battra's mission for him.

The look of Mothra's larval form is virtually unchanged from the way it's always looked. The only real difference is that it looks more stream-lined and less ugly than it did before. And also like before, the only "power" she has in this form is spraying her silk, which seems to have some acidic properties given the steam you see rising from Godzilla's flesh when it touches him. As for her adult form, I have to say that I like this iteration of it more than the Showa one. I think the brighter, more vibrant coloration and the brighter, glowing blue eyes make her look more striking and beautiful. While she doesn't create hurricane force winds like she did before, she doesn't really need them since she has some new powers here. In keeping with this series' focus on having the most battles consist of beam weapons, Mothra can now fire some energy beams from her antennae as well as some lightning-like energy from the undersides of her wings. And her powder, which seemed virtually useless against Godzilla in the past, now creates some sort of barrier around him that causes his atomic blast to bounce around the inside of it until it comes back to his body and hurts him. In addition, Battra is able to fire his own energy weapons into the barrier, causing it to bounce around inside until it hits Godzilla. As for her vocalizations, Mothra makes that same squeaking noise in her larval form as well as the same shrill, screeching cry in her adult form but they also gave her some new sounds for her larval form, like some groaning noises and deeper iterations of her squeaks and screeches. At one point, she even makes a noise that almost sounds like a really deep version of one Anguirus' cries! They also use the same, distinct whirring sound when she flies, in addition to a echoing "whooshing" sound to simulate the flapping of her wings. And in case you're wondering, I don't think anyone actually played Mothra, even in her larval form, which had been the case before, because I can't find anyone listed in the role (someone does play larval Battra, though).

Like Mothra, Battra is a monster guardian of the Earth but, while Mothra was meant to protect both the planet and the people, Battra's only interest is in protecting the actual planet. Thousands of years ago when he was first created by the Earth to stop the ancient civilization that was trying to control the climate, Battra took savage vengeance and began attacking the people as well as trying to destroy the machines that were doing so. That's when Mothra was called in to stop her dark counterpart, finally defeating him and placing him in the North Sea. When Battra is released by the effects of the meteorite, he heads to Japan and, still seeing humanity as a plague, resumes his mission to wipe it out, attacking and causing a lot of damage in Nagoya. While he's still intent on killing Mothra, when Battra comes across the fight going on between her and Godzilla in the Philippines, he immediately goes after Godzilla, obviously seeing him as a bigger threat in his mission to protect the planet. The two of them fight until their sucked down into the Earth's crust by an volcanic eruption beneath the seabed, apparently dying in the process. However, shortly after Godzilla emerges from Mt. Fuji later on and Mothra completes her metamorphosis, Battra emerges from the sea and transforms into his adult form. Upon taking to the air, he comes across Mothra and gives chase, trying to shoot her down above Yokohama with his eye-beams and, in fact, almost does manage to kill her. But, when Godzilla appears, Battra again focuses on the bigger threat and goes after him. Although he at first seems to have the upper hand, Godzilla, however, proves to be far too powerful to take on alone and so, Mothra comes to Battra's aide and convinces him to join forces with her to save both mankind and the planet itself from Godzilla. Working together, they manage to overcome Godzilla and Battra now trusts Mothra enough to where he asks her to fulfill his mission of saving the planet from an oncoming giant meteorite in case something happens to him. It's a good thing he entrusted her with that task because, as the two of them pick Godzilla up and carry him out to sea, Battra is mortally wounded and eventually bleeds to death, forcing Mothra to drop his body with Godzilla into the water below. After doing so, Mothra uses her powder to form a symbol over the spot, which I've read is meant to symbolize the friendship that she had now forged with Battra.

I've always liked Battra's larval form (played by Ryu Hurricane, who, I might add, was also a design artist), which I've never had an action figure of, I might add, more than his moth form, which I did have one of. I think he looks much more intimidating and badass there, with his armored, black body, huge legs, sharp spines that you see all over him, big tusks, snarling vertical mouth with sharp teeth, and enormous horn on his head. He's just cool-looking and, as you can see when joins the fight between Godzilla and Mothra, he's much bigger than her larval form, just about matching Godzilla in size. But what I like most about his larval form are his powers. Not only can he fire purple eye-beams, a power that he retains when he becomes an adult, but he can also shoot a jagged, orange-colored beam from his horn that covers a wider distance and seems to cause much more damage. When he becomes a moth, he can no longer shoot that beam, which I don't get since he still has the horn. Yeah, it's not as long but I don't see why he couldn't still shoot that beam from it. As for his adult form, it still looks cool, especially in the case of the wings, with their red, yellow, and black color patterns, and how every other part of him that isn't black, like the orange horns on his head, and the red spines across the sides and top of his abdomen, is glowing, especially his eyes, but I think they made a mistake in making his larval form seem more powerful. I don't mean that just in terms of his actual powers but how, as a caterpillar, he more than holds his own against Godzilla, whereas when he's a moth, he seems to have less success in fighting him and it's only by teaming up with Mothra that they manage to vanquish him and even then, he still gets killed. Although, all that said, I love the way he goes from his larval form to his adult form, which is in a quick, spectacular burst of energy rather than him having to spin a cocoon to burst out of a few hours later (can you imagine Battra spitting silk?) As for his vocalization, they got lazy and just used a barely modified version of Rodan's cry (Rodan is in the next film, by the way, making the use of his roar here even more redundant in hindsight), although they do give him a notable sneering growl/roar that he does now and then, particularly when he bursts out of the ground in Nagoya.

As it was in the previous film, the effects work in Godzilla and Mothra is a little mixed in terms of quality. It does improve on some of the laughable stuff that was seen in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah but there are still some instances of wonkiness. As had become the norm by this point, the stuff involving the monsters, from the suits and animatronics to the marionettes and the opticals of their beam weapons all look great and totally believable, save for some moments here and there where you can see the wires holding up the marionettes of the adult Mothra and Battra. The pyrotechnics and miniatures, with a great example of the latter being the typhoon during the opening credits, are also excellent and impressive. The matting effects, however, are where there are problems. In some shots when the humans are in the same frame as the monsters or the Cosmos, they look very believable (if you go back up to that shot of Masako holding the box containing the Cosmos, you will see that it looks absolutely convincing), while other times there are some noticeable hiccups. For instance, when Battra's larval form is attacking Nagoya, there's a shot of him looming over a building, which he smashes from behind while a bunch of people run for cover in the foreground. That looks good but when the roof of the building crumbles and pieces of fall down into the running crowd, they suddenly disappear, looking like they imploded in on themselves, before they make contact with either the people or the ground. There's another moment where Midori picks up the Cosmos in order to put them on a windowsill where Mothra can see them and the close-up of them standing on her hands as she lifts them up is very shaky, with the composited images of the two young ladies shifting around to where you can sometimes tell that their feet are not even touching her hands. Plus, when Battra is chasing Mothra over Nagoya when he reappears in the third act, the shot of them flying above the city skyline is some really bad compositing that looks about as dated as the flying scenes in the 1978 Superman do today, with the main difference is that back in the 70's, that was cutting edge, but in a film made in 1992, it looks rather archaic. And the opening shot of the meteorite hurtling towards Earth is some really bad early CGI as well. Again, there's some great stuff here but, like King Ghidorah, it doesn't quite match the photorealism the effects in Godzilla vs. Biollante reached.

The film opens with a shot of the meteorite as it hurtles through space before turning red-hot and encased in a fiery aura as it enters Earth's atmosphere. A NASA observation center tracks it as it crashes into the Pacific Ocean around the Ogasawara Trench, awakening Godzilla, who was sleeping down there, and causing him to roar as he does so (I was very surprised when I heard the classic screeching roar the first time I watched this because I was expecting the deeper, more threatening roar that we've had in the previous three movies) while the film's title comes up. We then cut to a typhoon that's churning up the ocean south of the Indonesian Islands, specifically around Infant Island. The shots of the violent waves and the surf crashing against the side of the island remind me a lot of a similar scene in the original Mothra vs. Godzilla, as does the shot where the typhoon causes the bank of the island to crumble away, revealing Mothra's egg. After we get a nice, long look at the egg, we cut to Thailand the following day and get our first ill-advised rip-off of Indiana Jones courtesy of Kazuki Omori. Deep within an ancient temple, Takuya, who's even wearing an Indy-like hat, manages to loosen an enormous stone in the wall and pull it out. After using his lighter to get a look at the small statue within the wall, he reaches in and, with a little bit of effort, manages to get ahold of it and pull it out. After dusting it off, he smiles at this valuable piece, but his elation is short-lived when the place starts shaking and he has to quickly crawl back through the small tunnel he used to get to that room while the brick walls collapse around him. He manages to reach the other side of the tunnel a little dusty but unscathed. He once again admires his prize but then, another trap within the temple activates. The square-shaped sections of the floor begin sinking downward and Takuya quickly climbs up the long flight of stone stairs leading to the entrance to the temple. The stairs immediately begin falling away like dominoes behind him and he just barely makes it to the top, hanging onto dear life for a few moments before finally pulling himself up to safety, getting a spider-web in his hair as he does so (sound familiar?) He thinks he can breath easy but that's when several officers brandishing rifles show up and all he can do is laugh nervously and drop his head (in the English dub, he says, "Shit," as he does so).

After a brief scene where Minamino, Prof. Fukazawa, and Dobashi asses the effects of the meteorite's impact, we get a moment where we see Battra break out of some icecaps in the North Sea before cutting to Takuya, Masako, and Ando's expedition to Infant Island. Upon arriving, they trek through the rainforest and up a steep hill, with Ando proving that he's not cut out to be a wilderness guy as he seems to lose his footing while stopping on the hill to chug some water. They see the ugly results of the Marutomo Corporation's development in the form of a big, barren hillside, with a tree falling down it as they watch. After Masako gives us a little speech about how places like this should be protected, we get our other Indiana Jones-like scene when the three of them try to cross an ancient rope bridge (or possibly vine bridge, now that I look at it more closely) and the thing gives way as a result of their combined weight. Why didn't they just walk across one by one? They lay down flat and grab onto the boards of the walkway as their side of the bridge swings down and slams against the left side of a large chasm. After Takuya and Masako argue for a little bit, with Takuya asking her if she gained weight as a way to explain why it didn't hold them, he decides that their only way out before the bridge breaks completely is to jump down into the river below. When Masako hesitates, Takuya forces her to do so by pushing her off the bridge, with Ando and him following soon afterward. After landing in the water and making it to shore, Takuya checks his map, which is encased in waterproof plastic, and realizes that going down the river is actually faster. He comments on how amazing it is while Masako and Ando pour water out of their shoes while giving him some nasty looks that he fails to notice. They then row down the river in an inflatable raft, with Takuya getting onto Masako for not rowing enough, before ultimately reaching a dead end in the form of a waterfall, which really pisses off Masako. Her angry exclamation at Takuya is particularly funny in the English dub: "What are we gonna do now?! Climb this damn thing?! (Masako curses quite a bit in the English version.) They decide to make camp and figure out where to go next in the morning. That's when Takuya reads the letter written by their little daughter Midori and we see him soften a little upon doing so.

The next morning, Takuya wakes Masako up to tell her that there's a cave behind the waterfall and we also get even more evidence that Ando is completely out of his gourd when we suddenly hear an alarm clock that he immediately turns off. The three of them enter the cave and find a couple of cave paintings, one of which is an ancient symbol while the other depicts the ancient battle between Mothra and Battra. Takuya guesses that they're over ten thousands year old. Sunlight then shines through an opening in the ceiling that's in the shape of another symbol and as the light moves, the shadow of the symbol travels across the floor and up the nearby wall to reveal another passageway. After squeezing through the very narrow passage, they eventually make it outside and after walking a little more up a hill, they find Mothra's egg. That's when they meet the Cosmos, whom unintentionally make them think at first they're a talking flower by standing behind while they first speak to them. The two tiny girls then explain who they are and tell them of the legend of Mothra and Battra. They also talk about how the Earth is once again in danger as a result of mankind's activities and the meteorite, as well as tell them how they fear that Battra may have been awakened by the recent events. That's when we cut to the Environment Planning Bureau, who are monitoring Battra as he heads for Japan. After the scene where we're introduced to Marutomo himself and when our three adventurers get the order to bring Mothra's egg back to Japan with them, we Minamino, Dobashi, Miki Saegusa, and Prof. Fukazawa learn of Battra's identity thanks to a report from Masako. After Minamino reads the report, he orders an air force squadron to engage the monster and try to keep him from reaching the mainland. The squadron reaches Battra near the Noto Peninsula and begins firing their missiles at him. Not only is he not hurt by this but he actually increases his speed, wading through the barrage of missiles exploding on and around him until he reaches the shoreline, crashing into and burrowing through it as he does so. While this is going on, Mothra's egg is moved onto a large raft that's attached to a ship, beginning its transportation to Japan.

Meanwhile, Battra continues burrowing through the earth until he reaches Nagoya, heading behind a large pagoda in the countryside before exploding up out of the ground from beneath a small building and making his way to the city. As civilians run off in a panic, Battra destroys that pagoda from behind the hill it's standing on, causing some of the hill to crumble as well, before smashing through another, smaller building as he actually enters the city. Members of the Environment Planning Bureau watch Battra head down a street in the midst of the city on the television thanks to a nearby group of news reporters, while the military moves in to fight the monster caterpillar. A squadron of tanks and other armored vehicles head down the street to meet Battra as he smashes through another building near the large tower in the middle of the city. The tanks fire on Battra near the tower, causing him to screech in anger before he unleashes the full force of his fury, spraying them with the energy beams from horn and his eyes and blowing them to pieces along with most of the street. As the bureau continues watching, Battra destroys more tanks with his eye-beams while more armored vehicles with more powerful weapons like maser cannons, including some with a new, double-barreled version, move in and fire upon him, as he heads off to the tower's right. Battra is content to just move on but when he gets shot by some masers, he angrily topples the tower in retaliation (you should have known that thing was coming down the minute you saw it), causing it to smash into a smaller building on its left, before moving on, sending more people fleeing as he blows up many buildings with both of his energy beams before burrowing down into the ground and disappearing. The members of the bureau then watch in silent tension, wondering where he'll show up next.

Back at the ship carrying Mothra's egg, Takuya, Masako, and Ando are told by the captain that there's something huge approaching the ship. Takuya and Masako both look at the sonar and see a huge blip approaching them. Outside, Godzilla announces his presence before actually showing himself by shooting his atomic blast out of the water and straight up into the air. Everyone wonders what this enormous creature could be but they don't have wonder long because Godzilla then emerges from the water, roaring loudly as he does so. The Environment Planning Bureau quickly learn of his appearance in the Philippines and after Minamino gives that nonsensical statement about the meteorite having been a trigger for something that mankind created, we cut back to the action, with Godzilla approaching the ship, which is being slowed down by the weight of Mothra's egg. The egg itself, apparently sensing that it's in danger, begins glowing and flashing with a thunder-like sound. Takuya, realizing the danger they're in, heads to the back of the ship and prepares to let the egg go but Ando stops him, not wanting to disappoint his boss by not bringing something back from Infant Island. The two of them then get into a fight, throwing each other around the deck and struggling, with Takuya proving himself to be a much more adept fighter when he punches Ando several times in the face, ultimately ending the fight that way. The egg begins flashing and thundering again and the shell begins to crack open, prompting Takuya to once again go the for controls and detach the platform carrying it from the ship. Unable to do anything now, Ando just watches the egg as it drifts away, wiping the blood away from his bleeding lip. As everyone watches, Godzilla goes for the platform with the egg and is clearly curious when it continues to flash and crack as he approaches. Mothra then bursts out of the egg, which really surprises Godzilla, prompting him to shoot his atomic blast at her. However, Mothra manages to crawl off the platform before the blast hits the egg and, with both monsters now fighting each other, the captain orders his crew to get the ship out of the area as fast as possible. That's when Godzilla suddenly roars in pain and we see that Mothra snuck up behind him and bit the tip of his tail. He angrily thrashes his tail and Mothra around, trying to pry the caterpillar loose. It takes a little bit of shaking but Mothra is eventually sent flying, landing on one side of the platform with the egg. When she sticks her head out of the water and chirps at Godzilla, he responds by shooting his atomic blast but she quickly ducks down, with the blast only managing to blow up more of the egg. Godzilla then wades towards Mothra, who begins spraying her silk at him. The silk, as I said earlier, appears to have some acidic properties because a lot of steam is created when it hits Godzilla's skin and he seems to be in pain from it as well. After writhing from the silk hitting and apparently burning him, Godzilla fires back, hitting the other side of the platform and creating enough force to send Mothra flying back. But, before Godzilla can celebrate, Mothra fires herself out of the water like a torpedo and hits him in the chest and stomach, apparently biting him after doing so. Godzilla grabs ahold of her and, after some wrenching, manages to pry her loose and throw her. He then barks at Mothra and nods his head in a satisfied way.

Everyone aboard the ship notices another creature approaching the battle from the opposite direction and the Cosmos immediately identify it as Battra. Battra swims right past the ship and heads straight for Godzilla and Mothra. He slams into the much smaller caterpillar and sends her flying to the opposite side of the egg platform, putting her between it and Godzilla. Battra then turns his attention to Godzilla, blasting both him and the platform with his horn beam. Godzilla then angrily retaliates by firing back at Battra, although he only manages to completely destroy the platform and what's left of the egg. Battra dives beneath the water and propels himself straight at Godzilla, popping up in front of him and attacking him. They struggle and hit each other before Battra gains the upper hand and shoves Godzilla down under the water. He slams Godzilla down onto the ocean floor but, as he tries to keep him down, Godzilla proves that he can still fire his atomic blast underwater and manages to score a hit on Battra, forcing him off. Battra then begins propelling himself towards Godzilla, who is now standing up, but he blasts Battra a couple of times before he can get to him. Battra fires his eye-beams in response. Back on the surface, Mothra has taken the opportunity to escape back to Infant Island, while all Ando can do is whine about how he has nothing to show for his efforts. As Mothra escapes, a lot of underwater flashing and zapping, as well as rough turbulence on the surface, shows that Godzilla and Battra's battle is getting more fierce. Sure enough, when we cut back to down below, we see Battra propelling himself towards Godzilla while firing everything he has before slamming into him and knocking him down. Battra tries to ram him again but Godzilla manages to get up, dodge his body, and grab his tail. He slams Battra up and down on the ocean floor a couple of times before swinging him into a reef off to the side. The two of them continue to punch and grapple each other, not noticing that their battle has caused a large volcanic eruption and that a red hot fissure has opened up in the ocean floor right beside them. As both the people onboard the ship and the Environment Planning Bureau realize what's going on, Godzilla and Battra continue to viciously attack each other, punching and smashing into each other as well as firing their beam weapons. The volcanic eruption reaches them as they blast and then run at each other, sucking them down into the Earth's mantle as they struggle and grapple. When both monsters disappear from their sonar and scanners, everyone assumes that they both died in the molten rock.

Things slow down for a little bit until Takuya and Masako head back to Japan once they realize that Ando has taken the Cosmos back with him. When Minamino tells Masako that the Marutomo Corporation is refusing to give the Cosmos up, a slight tremor shakes the area around Tokyo, emanating from Mt. Fuji, where Prof. Fukazawa is studying the meteorite's effects on the Philippine fault. As the sun sets that day, the Cosmos head to the window of the room of the Marutomo office building they're being kept in and begin singing for Mothra to come for them. Back on Infant Island, Mothra hears their song and begins heading for Japan (by the way, the sunset in all of these shots with the Cosmos and Mothra is absolutely gorgeous). We get another interlude as Ando and everyone else in the Marutomo Corporation realize that the Cosmos are missing, and Masako, Dobashi, and the other officials learn that Mothra is heading for Tokyo. Although Masako insists that Mothra is coming to help the Cosmos rather than to attack the city, Dobashi and the others, having to prepare for the worst, decide to set up a blockade in Tokyo Bay, stating that they'll have to fire on Mothra directly if she doesn't react to warning shots. After a brief scene where we learn that Takuya took the Cosmos and is attempting to sell them, we cut back to the bureau, where Dobashi tells Minamino that Mothra can't be stopped and that they'll have to fire on her directly. Cutting to Tokyo Bay, as Mothra continues heading for the city, she's fired upon by battleships and military helicopters. Despite the volley of ammunition being shot at her, she presses forward, never once slowing down, even when the attack on her creates a wall of fire on the ocean. As the Cosmos begin singing for her again from within the bag that Takuya is keeping them in at a hotel, Mothra swims beneath one section of the fiery blockade and then plows right through a battleship, causing it to explode, before swimming beneath another part of the blockade. As Masako and Miki Saegusa drive around the city, trying to use Miki's psychic powers to find the Cosmos in order to get them to call Mothra off, the two fairies continue singing as Mothra enters the port, heading straight for the shoreline. They continue their song as she enters the city, smashing through an overpass and plowing through buildings, sending civilians into a frantic evacuation in the process. After smashing through another building, she heads down a street in the center of Tokyo, causing explosions and massive property damage, while Ando and Marutomo watching from their office building. Marutomo then first shows just how crazy he is by shouting for Mothra to smash it all and that he'll just build it again. Meanwhile, Masako and Miki discover where the Cosmos, which is a hotel in Akasaka. Little do they know that Mothra's heading that way as well, smashing her way through an overpass as she does so. The military begins moving in as Mothra slowly glides down the street towards the hotel in Akasaka, smashing anything in her way. As she nears the hotel, she rears up and chirps when she realizes she's found where the Cosmos are before continuing on her way.

Within the hotel, Takuya is about to slip out with the Cosmos but, before he can leave, Midori, who was riding around with Masako and Miki, finds him and runs up to him. While Takuya is visiting with his little daughter, Masako appears and the two of them talk about where they now stand, with Takuya agreeing to aid her in helping the Cosmos, ensuring that they may have a future together. However, Miki soon arrives and warns them that they have to get out because Mothra has just about reached the hotel. Her warning comes too late, though, because Mothra right then reaches the hotel and rams its side before rearing up and taking out a big chunk of it with her head. As she hits against the side of it again, everyone inside the hotel has to duck down to avoid the collapsing ceiling, with Takuya just barely saving the Cosmos' bag from being crushed by a chunk of it. Midori then begs the Cosmos to tell Mothra to stop her attack and that if they do, she'll teach her father that stealing isn't right. The Cosmos agree and tell the humans to take them somewhere where they can see Mothra. Outside, a military squad is watching Mothra search around the hotel from a nearby rooftop, while back in the hotel, the humans bring the Cosmos to the shattered window that she's in front of. Midori allows the Cosmos to step into her hands and she gently lifts them up and places them on the windowsill. The two of them walk up to where Mothra can see them and tell her that they're fine and that she doesn't have to worry anymore. When they ask her to stop her attack, Mothra chirps her consent and, now knowing that the Cosmos are safe, rears herself off of the hotel and continues on down the street, much to the relief of Minamino and Dobashi as they watch from the command center. Mothra then attempts to head back to the ocean but, because of her girth, she can't avoid smashing into some more buildings. A nearby army battalion take this as a sign of her still being hostile and begin firing on her with tanks, which clearly injures her as she starts making a pained scream. Takuya, Masako, and Miki futilely yell for the tanks to stop firing but they continue to do so, with Mothra unable to defend herself as she desperately tries to find cover. Fortunately, Dobashi orders the troops to stop firing, citing that there are still people inside the hotel, and they do. Mothra groans and squeaks in pain and, after looking around for a few seconds, begins heading towards the Diet Building. The military troops follow her there as she smashes into the center of the building and rears her upper body up onto the building's highest point.

While watching the action on a television at the observatory at Mt. Fuji, Prof. Fukazawa is informed that the pressure within the magma has increased dramatically and tells a subordinate to inform the military that they can expect volcanic activity within half an hour. Back at the Diet Building, the military surrounds both it and Mothra, pointing their weapons at her and ready to fire at the slightest hint of hostility. When Midori asks the Cosmos if Mothra is dying, they reply that she's simply completing her larval stage. Mothra then demonstrates what they mean by rearing up and spraying her silk up into the air, allowing it to slowly drift down and gradually land on top of the center of the Diet Building and the other surrounding structures that make it up, creating a cocoon around her that she'll use to metamorphose into her adult form. After a brief scene where Ando and Marutomo, who are watching Mothra spin her web on the news, argue about both her and the Cosmos' real worth and mission, they place suddenly begins to shake. It then cuts to Mt. Fuji, where a massive eruption is now underway, with fire, sparks, and smoke being tossed up into the air, along with some lightning that's sparking in the center of it as well (some of that footage looks like the effects that were done for a similar scene in The Submersion of Japan). This is followed by an awesome matte shot of the entire mountain erupting in the background while a couple of army jeeps drive away from it in the foreground. Fukazawa, who is riding in the jeep up front, tells the driver to stop when he sees a crashed bicycle and an unconscious woman and child lying on the side of the road, surrounded by small patches of fire. They pick the two of them up and drive them off to safety, while an enormous river of lava within Mt. Fuji is being violently churned up by the eruption. After the scene where Ando leaves Marutomo, who proceeds to throw his childlike tantrum once he's gone, we cut back to the Diet Building, where Mothra is now completely encased within her cocoon. As searchlights are trained onto the cocoon, Miki suddenly says something terrifying: she can sense Godzilla. Sure enough, in a scene similar to his first appearance in Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla emerges from the still erupting Mt. Fuji, surrounded by fire, lava, and crackling lightning as he walks out of the crater, roaring as he does so. The Environment Planning Bureau soon becomes aware of his return when they activate their main computer screen and the system not only shows them an infrared image of Godzilla as he continues walking out of Mt. Fuji but it also shows them that his closest possible target is Yokohama. After he makes it out of the crater and into the surrounding countryside, he's spotted by Fukazawa, who is surveying the eruption from a helicopter. When his assistant asks the professor how Godzilla got there, Fukazawa hypothesizes that he swam beneath the Earth's mantle and broke through Mt. Fuji's mantle in order to get out, which is amazing considering that the temperature beneath the mantle is 1,500 degrees. They then fly on, continuing to watch Godzilla, as he walks through the forests and some power-lines, temporarily cutting off power to the bureau's command center, forcing them to switch the emergency reserves.

At the Diet Building, the commander there is told of Godzilla's appearance, while Miki tells Takuya and Masako the same thing and that he's heading for East Tanazawa. Midori then points their attention to Mothra's cocoon, which begins to glow and flash rapidly before the top of it begins to buckle. The Cosmos begin singing again as the head of Mothra's adult form slowly pokes up through the top of the cocoon, sending a shower of golden dust from within the cocoon on everyone and everything around it. The Cosmos, who now appear to be glowing with some sort of golden energy, continue their song, while Mothra's huge wings billow out of the cocoon behind her, straightening out into their normal shape. As everyone around looks, with some reporters taking photos as well, Mothra begins to slowly flap her wings and then gracefully lifts off of the cocoon, flying off into the distance. The Cosmos then explain that she's going out to battle Battra once more, revealing that he's also still alive. In the nearby ocean, Battra explodes out of the water and, in a brilliant display of power and energy, instantly transforms into his adult form before heading back for Japan to intercept Mothra. Meanwhile, the bureau initiates a plan to steer Godzilla back out to sea. As he walks through the countryside, he's greeted by a squadron of maser cannons, made up of both the single and double-cannon types, that begin firing on him, while another squadron of tanks and missile launchers attack him from the side. This goes about as well as you'd expect. Godzilla fires back on them and completely wipes them out in a mass of explosions. That's when some futuristic fighter jets that are armed with masers all their own (and, I might add, make the distinct sounds of TIE Fighters when they zoom by) rush in and blast him. They manage to score a good number of direct hits, some of which hit their mark right in his face, as they go in for several passes, but Godzilla ultimately fires back, blowing one of them to smithereens. I guess the other one got away while he could because the sequence ends when Godzilla destroys that one and then continues onward. In nearby Yokohama, a crowd of spectators watch in utter amazement as Mothra flies over them, continuing onward to meet Battra. With Godzilla heading that way as well, an evacuation goes into effect within the city, while Mothra comes across Battra up in the sky. The two of them scrape against each other before Battra engages in a chase, pursuing Mothra above the city while shooting his eye-beams at her. At one point, he scores a hit and causes her to crash into the tops of some structures, sending some people running for it. He continues firing at her, hitting her as well as some of the buildings beneath her. After that, we get a shot that's always killed me ever since I was a little kid, which is of a bunch of people running down the sidewalk, along with a couple of guys who are just casually walking with their hands in their pockets. They sure are acting pretty calm, given the situation. After that, we see Godzilla moving into the area from the other side of the city, which really freaks Dobashi out because he wonders what can be done to prevent this calamity. We then get some more shots of Godzilla moving through the city, passing behind some raised train tracks and walking through a smaller building and an overpass as he goes.

A crowd near the Yokohama Cosmo World theme park watch as Mothra and Battra continue battling up in the sky. The two giant moths ram into each other and then continue to do so several more times before Mothra drops down and flies off to the right, with Battra right behind her, again trying to shoot her down with his eye-beams. They fly over the nearby suspension bridge, with Battra inadvertently destroying it when his beams misfire, and continue flying along the side of the park. As they come around to head straight towards it from the side, Battra manages to score several direct hits on Mothra, causing her to crash down in the midst of the park. While she's laying there helpless, Battra takes the opportunity to release a barrage of beams on her, which also blasts and weakens the base of the nearby Ferris wheel. Godzilla, however, is now approaching the site of the battle, leaving a trail of smashed and blown up buildings in his wake as he does so. When Godzilla arrives on the scene, he instantly catches Battra's attention, who again abandons his attack on Mothra in order to fight the more powerful opponent. After circling around for a little bit, Battra flies straight at Godzilla and fires his eye-beams. He not only manages to hit Godzilla many times but he also hits the upper half of the building behind him, which soon breaks loose and crashes down on top of him. Battra then zaps the rubble a couple of times for good measure and heads down to make sure that Godzilla's been finished off. When he gets close to the rubble, Godzilla explodes out of it right in front of him and smacks the side of his head a few times before ultimately grabbing and throwing him off to his left. Once Battra's on the ground, Godzilla gives him a couple of tastes of his atomic blast, hitting him right in the face. Right then, Mothra regains consciousness in time to see Godzilla approach Battra and blast him again. She flies at him from the side and zaps him with some beams from her antennae, catching him off-guard. When he turns to face her, Mothra zaps him again, managing to send him tumbling backwards into what's left of that one building, temporarily incapacitating him. Before Godzilla can attack again, Mothra flies over to the downed Battra, lands in front of him, and engages him in a conversation. Mothra then begins spraying some sort of glowing golden dust out of her antennae and onto Battra, prompting the Cosmos to begin singing again as they themselves to begin to glow very brightly. Whatever Mothra's doing, it causes spikes of energy to streak across her wings towards her abdomen and causes Battra's horns to glow as well. The Cosmos continue singing as purple and red energy now streaks throughout Battra's wings but the scene is then erupted when Godzilla gets back to his feet with an angry roar. Growling, he begins to slowly approach Mothra from behind, trying to sneak up on her. However, Mothra sees him in time and quickly takes to the air and flies at him, ramming into him. Godzilla grabs onto Mothra's head and tries to hold her down but she manages to lift off again and begins spraying him with her golden dust, while simultaneously zapping him with crackles of energy from the underside of her wings. The commotion causes Godzilla to back into and smash a small structure and when he tries to fire his atomic blast, it gets blocked by a barrier created by the dust and bounces around wildly before hitting him. Battra watches from nearby as Mothra appears to have the upper hand but just then, Godzilla uses his pulse attack to create enough energy to send her flying backwards, causing her body to fling upwards before crashing at the base of the Ferris wheel. Godzilla then fires directly at the wheel, breaking it loose and causing it to fall forwards towards Mothra, threatening to crush her. But, before it hits, Battra swoops in and grabs it, then holds it steady, saving Mothra's life. The Cosmos comment that the two giant moths finally have a mutual understanding.

Godzilla angrily snarls at his attempt to kill Mothra having been foiled, while she and Battra both take to the air and go off in opposite directions, with Battra still carrying the Ferris wheel. Godzilla follows after Battra, furious at him for his interference, and that's when Battra turns around and flies at him with the Ferris wheel, ramming it into him (Godzilla didn't even try to counterattack). His head goes right through the top of it and he falls backwards onto the ground, the wheel now stuck on him. While Godzilla lays there, tangled up in the steel beams that make the wheel up, Mothra swoops in and zaps him with her antennae-beams, with Battra coming in and doing the same. Both moths swoop down at Godzilla from either side while continuing to zap him. Godzilla then tears the wheel to shreds and manages to sit up, angrily roaring at them. Both moths zap him again with their beams and Godzilla retaliates by frantically firing up in the air, trying to hit them. He manages to hit them both straight on but it doesn't stop them, prompting Godzilla to get to his feet and attempt to blast Mothra again, although he only manages to blow apart a building that she flies behind. Mothra and Battra both converge on Godzilla and after Battra flies past him, Mothra zaps him from behind to get his attention and when he turns around, she proceeds to use the dust again in combination with her wing energy again. Battra even gets his own licks in by firing his eye-beams at Godzilla, which enter the barrier and bounce around and hit him. The two continue this relentless assault, hitting Godzilla with everything they have and causing him to moan and groan in both anger and pain. After taking the full brunt of this powerful attack for almost a full minute, Godzilla loses his strength and falls backwards onto the ground. The two moths then begin hovering in front of each other in mid-air and have a conversation, droning and chirping at each other for a little bit, leaving the people wondering what they're talking about. Once they're done talking, the two of them head down towards Godzilla and land on top of him in order to carry him out to sea. But, when Battra lands on his torso, Godzilla takes his chance and, thrusting head up towards him, bites the side of his neck. After some chomping, Battra's yellow blood begins bleeding all over Godzilla's face. He continues biting Battra's neck as Mothra swoops down and grabs onto his tail. After Godzilla struggles a little bit and blasts Battra at point blank range in the neck, as well as makes it very difficult for Mothra to maintain her grip on his tail, the two of them take off with him, with Mothra using blasts of energy through her legs to subdue him. They then fly Godzilla out to sea, away from Yokohama and the mainland, prompting everyone to celebrate. Far out at sea, with Battra's blood continuing to leak out onto him (he's now bleeding from both sides of his neck), Godzilla blasts him at point blank range again. This mortally wounds Battra, who dies while still holding onto Godzilla. Mothra, releasing that her former enemy is dead, lets Godzilla go and he and Battra's corpse plummet down to the water, hitting it with an enormous splash. Mothra then forms a symbol above the spot to honor her fallen ally.

The film ends the next day, with Mothra waiting patiently at an airstrip while the Cosmos inform everyone of a meteorite that will hit the Earth in 1999 and that Mothra promised Battra, who had intended to destroy it when it arrived, to do it for him. Mothra then chips, telling them that it's time to go, and the two fairies float up into the air and join together to become a small, glowing speck that becomes one with Mothra's right feeler beside her mouth. Everybody then gets out of her way as she slowly flaps her wings and lifts off into the sky. Everyone there, including the military officials, wave goodbye to Mothra, as she herself chirps at them while turning and flying off into space. As she leaves, the voices of the Cosmos can be heard as they tell the people of Earth to think of them when the next millennium begins in a few years. The film ends with some beautiful shots of Mothra leaving the Earth and heading off deep into space towards the meteorite, leaving a trail of golden dust behind her.

As he did in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Akira Ifukube creates a score that's made up of new orchestrations of his classic themes for not only Godzilla but Mothra as well. Specifically, he recreates his themes for her from Mothra vs. Godzilla, with her main theme being a nice, instrumental version of the song the Shobijin sang by the spring in that film. He orchestrates it a couple of different ways, sometimes making it sound big and grand and other times making it come across as calm and melodic. He employs a lyrical-sounding, plucking string version of it for when Mothra lifts off at the end of the movie that fits very well there and, besides the Cosmos actually singing the song it's derived from, there's also a very beautiful version that's accompanied by the sound of a woman vocalizing, which first plays when Mothra begins spinning her cocoon and is played again in its entirety over the ending credits. It's the reason why I wish they hadn't cut those credits short for the American video release of this film because you don't get to hear the whole thing and it's a shame because it truly is a feast for the ears. Ifukube also reuses his calm theme for Infant Island when Takuya, Masako, and Ando first arrive there, orchestrates a bigger, more majestic instrumental version of the song that Shobijin sang in order to get Mothra's egg to hatch several times throughout the film, and he also creates a new, more mystery-laden theme for Mothra and the Cosmos, which you hear when the explorers find the cave behind the waterfall and when Mothra forms that symbol above the spot where Godzilla and Battra crashed into the ocean at the end of the film. It manages to effortlessly sound beautiful and a little bit eerie at the same time, which isn't that easy to do. Battra has a theme that sounds kind of like Mothra's theme, only much more blaring and bombastic, played by some very loud horns. It fits well with the idea of him being a dark version of Mothra herself. And, of course, Godzilla has his usual theme, with the start of it also played by some loud horns before going into the march part of it (this is when I first noticed the extra note at the beginning of his theme that I noted in my Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah review). The music associated with the three monsters make up the main chunks of the score, with the rest of the music being fairly incidental, like the dramatic, ominous stuff you hear when the meteorite is hurtling towards Earth when the movie starts, when Takuya is digging around in that temple and nearly escapes its traps, and when he, Masako, and Ando are stuck on one side of that bridge after it breaks, as well as some calm music during the brief scene in Manila after Godzilla and Battra have supposedly been killed by the volcano.

As for the Cosmos' singing, I really like two of the three songs that they sing. My favorite is the one they sing in order to call Mothra to come save them. This song was heard in Mothra vs. Godzilla when the Shobijin pray to Mothra have her help the Japanese fight Godzilla but I like the way it's sung, as well as simply the way it sounds, here much better. I especially like the feeling that it gives when you see the shots of the sunset when they first sing it. I also really like the new version of Mothra's main song that the Cosmos sing when she's emerging from her cocoon. Of course, that song is heard many times throughout the film in an instrumental version but the actual one is just indescribably beautiful. It's much different than the version heard back in Mothra vs. Godzilla since that one sounded much more sad, while this one is meant to convey Mothra's beauty and magic and, while I think I like the way the original version sounds just a little bit more, this one also does a great job in conveying what it's trying to. The song I don't care for is the one they sing when Mothra first enters Tokyo and when she's talking to Battra while Godzilla is indisposed for the moment. It's a new version of the one the Shobijin sang to get Mothra's egg to hatch and I just plain don't like the way it sounds here. The two actors who play the Cosmos may have been able to sing those other two songs in a very pleasing manner but this one doesn't sound that good to me. In fact, I cringe at some points during it because their singing gets a little piercing. Oh, well, two out of three isn't bad at all.

Since the American version of Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. The Thing, had been retitled Godzilla vs. Mothra when it was first released on video in the 80's, a title that still stuck by 1998, it caused something of a problem when this film was finally brought over here since that's what its Japanese title is. So as not to confuse people, TriStar changed the title to Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth for its American video release, although I think dropping the Battle for Earth subtitle and just calling it Godzilla and Mothra would have been just fine... or, at the very least, tack that subtitle onto Godzilla vs. Mothra. I think that would have made it different enough. In any case, like the one done for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, the English dub here is one that I'm very mixed on. I like a lot of the voices, such as the ones done for Takuya, Masako, Ando, and Minamino, as well as Miki Saegusa, who is given a much better dubbed voice here, and I also like that there's some consistency with Dobashi having the same dubbed voice he did in the previous film, but, at the same time, there are a fair amount of bad points with the dubbing. While I like the voice for Masako, it gets a little grating during the moments on Infant Island when she's yelling at Takuya, although I still think her comment about the waterfall they run into is pretty funny. When Dobashi is getting freaked out and hysterical, that dub actor goes really over the top and sounds absolutely ridiculous, with the lines given to him not helping one bit: "What is all this?! What's happening to our planet?!" "Where's he going to go now?" "Oh no! What could possibly stop all of them?!" (He sounds like he's about to start crying when he says that last one.) But the absolute worst voice is that of Midori, Takuya and Masako's daughter. Like I said earlier, as they tend to do, they had an adult try to sound like a child and while there are some voice actors who can do that, it doesn't work at all here, with Midori's voice sounding unnatural and awkward. She also whines and cries a lot more in the dub as well. Going back to the actual dialogue, some of it is laughably bad and some of it is just cringe-inducing. One that my step-cousin found hilarious when he and I first watched it is when Godzilla and Battra begin fighting for the first time near the ship and Takuya yells, "Oh, no, they're getting pissed off!" That dub actor must have done a good number of takes to be able to say that without cracking up because to this day, I find that line to be so freaking funny. Another one isn't so much the line itself but the reading of it. After Godzilla cuts off power to the Environment Planning Bureau, Dobashi gets a phone call from Miki and tells her that Godzilla's appeared. However, in the English dub, the way Dobashi answers the phone and says, "Huh? Godzilla! Godzilla's still alive!" makes it sound as if he's shocked to hear this, which confused me for a long time since he and everyone else just saw that Godzilla had emerged from Mt. Fuji on that computer screen. But the most notorious line from this dub is when Mothra completely emerges from her cocoon and Midori says, "Nice!" You have to see it in order to fully grasp how bad it is. In the Japanese version, she came across as cute when she said that Mothra was pretty but that line in the English dub is so cheesy that I shudder just thinking about it. And finally, as I've said, I don't like that they shortened the ending credits for this film because they cut short the beautiful song that plays over them, meaning that you've never heard it if this is the only version of the film you've ever seen. That's why I implore you to seek the original Japanese version out. Ultimately, I don't know if I think this is better or worse than the dub for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. This one has very few English-speaking scenes in the Japanese version so there weren't many of those they had to correct this time but, at the same time, I don't remember there being as many bad lines in that dub so, in that respect, I guess they're kind of half and half. Again, I'd recommend just going for that original Japanese version (I don't know if the one that's now on Blu-Ray over here in a double-feature with King Ghidorah is that complete version or not).

While Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, or Godzilla vs. Mothra, for all you purists, is not a terrible movie, and while I've certainly warmed up to it more in recent viewings, it has a lot of faults, chief among them being a preachy and severely flawed environmental message that, in some ways, defeats its own purpose, as well as the fact that this isn't a Godzilla movie but rather a Mothra movie that Godzilla acts as a co-star in. In addition, Godzilla feels superfluous to the film's overall story, which should never be the case, Kazuki Omori's obsession with now just blatantly copying elements from Hollywood movies is both disconcerting and tiring, a good chunk of the supporting cast of characters just stand around and do nothing except watch the action, including Akira Takarada in his first role in the series in almost 30 years, the human antagonist is so cartoony that he hurts the already flawed theme of the film, and among some really good special effects are some wonky ones that feel like something you'd see from a 70's effects film rather than one made in the 90's. However, on the plus side, you have some leading characters that are both likable and have some meat to them, something we haven't seen much of in this series lately, the monsters once again look great and believable for the most part, I like Battra, especially his larval form, the action scenes involving them are often quite fun and exciting, the miniature effects and pyrotechnics, as well as some of the matting shots, are excellent, and the music score is often quite lovely, with Akira Ifukube providing some great new orchestrations of some classic themes and songs. While I think if I had to choose between the two, I would go with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, despite all of the plotholes that film has, this one is still certainly worth a watch or two, if nothing else than for the more fantastical feel of the original series that permeates it. Just go into it with the knowledge that the monster protagonist here is Mothra, not Godzilla, and you should be fine.

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