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Posts Tagged ‘Mothra’

31 (Japanese) Monsters #30: Mothra

October 30th, 2010 No comments

Okay, okay, this is a repeat from last year’s 31 Monsters, but I don’t see how I could do a month of kaiju without including the queen of them all…

Mothra!

Monster Island Nickname Ma’am
Hails From Infant Island
Movies Appeared In
(not counting stock footage)
12 (!)
Hobbies Needlepoint
Quote “Squeeek! Skwick!”

In lieu of anything new to say about Mothra, please enjoy her song.

Categories: Sci-Fi Tags: ,

31 Monsters #3: Mothra

October 3rd, 2009 No comments

Mothra has long struck me as the most Japanese of Japanese monsters. What other culture would give us a city-destroying behemoth in the form of a massive moth?

Part of the first wave of Toho Studios’ colossal creatures, Mothra was unusual on several counts. A female in a male-dominated field, she usually assumed a protective role, coming into conflict with humans only when they threatened her egg or her native worshippers.

She was also killed with alarming frequency, dying on-screen in five of her film appearances. On three occasions, Mothra fluttered off this mortal coil midway through the story, only to be avenged by her offspring.

You may think that made Mothra a rather fragile monster, but don’t be fooled: Mothra could unleash lepidopteran whoop-ass. In her wormlike, larval form she spit sticky silk to entrap her opponents. As an adult, her wings generated hurricane-force winds and filled the air with poisonous scales. In later films she became an absurdly overpowered mystical creature capable of firing energy blasts, transforming into alternate forms (Aqua Mothra! Light Speed Mothra!) and even time travel. That’s right, Mothra travelled through time.

One can’t discuss Mothra without bringing up the two unnaturally tiny women who followed her around. In the original 1961 film they were presumably byproducts of the Pacific nuclear tests which ravaged their home, Infant Island. The wee priestesses shared a telepathic link with each other, as well as with the moth monster herself. One can only speculate as to the full nature of their relationship. (My guess: food source.) And woe to anyone who kidnapped them. Mothra did not take kindly to that, no sir.

Consider this: outside of cameos and stock footage reuse, Mothra was a major player in twelve movies, and the only giant Japanese monster outside of Godzilla and Gamera to headline her own series. Pretty good for a creature that can’t help being attracted to 60-watt light bulbs.

Categories: Movies Tags: ,

Destroy! All! Monsters!

December 19th, 2006 No comments

Yesterday I received a box full of giant monster goodness courtesy of my favorite Godzilla retailer (yes, there are more than one) Chibi Goji Toys, and while trying to figure out how to work a half dozen more vinyl figures onto my existing display shelf, I was inspired to photograph the assembled horde. Pardon the size of the photos, dial-up users, but Godzilla and his friends beg to be large.

Great gallopin’ Godzillas!

Mothra Squadron ready for takeoff!

Three generations of robot Godzillas.

Evil is on the march!

Earth’s monsters stand ready to defend the planet!

Destroy! All! Monsters!

Angilas finds himself outmatched by Mothra and Godzilla Jr.

All insects attack!

Dueling Godzillas and Ghidorahs!

Go, Godzilla!

December 15th, 2005 No comments

This week saw the US DVD release of what is alleged to be the final entry in the Godzilla series, 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars. I consider it “alleged” because we’ve heard this one before, most recently after Godzilla’s fatal meltdown in 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. (They’ve made six Godzilla films since then, not including the disastrous American remake.)

Like most of the post-Destoroyah films, Godzilla: Final Wars reboots previous continuity. Godzilla has made numerous attacks since his first appearance in ’54, but hasn’t been seen since he was buried in polar ice in a battle with the flying submarine Atragon. (In addition to numerous nods to past Godzilla episodes, Final Wars includes elements from the ’60s Toho Studios sci-fi stories Atragon and Gorath.)

Meanwhile, a variety of mutants, both human and monster, have cropped up. The human mutations have banded into a fighting force against the giant horrors that continue to threaten mankind. This allows for a lot of X-Men meets The Matrix martial arts action that’s strange to find in a Godzila film, but leads to a fun sequence in which humans battle hand-to-claw with the oversized lobster Ebirah.

If anything, Final Wars most resembles the magnum opus of the ’60s Godzilla series, Destroy All Monsters. Both films open with a worldwide series of attacks by an entire menagerie of Toho’s classic kaiju. However, this time humanity is saved by the intervention of aliens from Planet X. Soon, the Xiliens have ingratiated themselves upon the Earthlings, and the UN is redubbed “The Space Nations.” Of course, it wouldn’t be a Godzilla film if their intentions were truly peaceful…

This film is a loopy love letter to the ’60s/’70s Toho monster fests, and much of the action recalls the rubber-suit wrestling matches common to them. One of the highlights is a four-way scrap in which Godzilla, Rodan and King Seesar use the armadillo-like Anguirus as a makeshift soccer ball.

In other respects, Final Wars is something entirely new to the series, with its rock-music soundtrack, fast-paced editing and Adam Ant alien leader (Kazuki Kitamura in one of the great scenery-chewing performances). And for the first time, Toho ventures outside Japan with brief location sequences in Sydney and New York.

The monster roll call is a treat for old-school kaiju fans, with nearly the entire roster of classic Godzilla friends and foes: Minya, Godzilla’s offspring; Rodan the supersonic pterodactyl; Mothra the (what else?) giant moth; the aforementioned Anguirus and King Seesar (the latter a humanoid foo-dog last seen in ’74’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla); Manda the sea serpent (from Atragon); the crustacean Ebirah (Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster); cyborg whatzit Gigan (who once teamed with the cockroach-like Megalon); Hedorah, the walking pile of sludge (Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster); Kumonga the spider and Kamacuras the mantis (both from Son of Godzilla).

The most amusing inclusion is that of the American Godzilla, now downgraded to another Xilien pawn and renamed “Zilla.” The fight between Godzilla and the pretender to his throne is kept deliberately short.

One of the most common complaints is that the majority of Godzilla’s opponents are dispatched too quickly, but given that there are seven distinct battles, not to mention numerous other scenes of mayhem, it’s probably for the best that they weren’t dragged out. After all, the real showdown is the final four-way tag team match with Godzilla and Mothra against Gigan and the mysterious Monster X.

It’s all giddy, nonsensical fun, not to be taken seriously for even a moment.