After a shaky start, the 90s took a turn for the better with 1992s Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth. Well, that’s the American title as it was just known as Godzilla vs. Mothra in Japan. However, the 1964 Mothra film was still using an alternate title, so the 1992 film title was changed to avoid confusion between the two. Whatever the title, this was a sequel to the previous years’ Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Thankfully, we’ve left the cheesy running effects and crazy time travel plot behind.
Our story begins with a meteor headed towards Earth and, naturally, it awakens Godzilla. We cut to Takuya Fujita (Tetsuya Bessho), an adventurer in a scene right out of an Indiana Jones adventure. He is captured for trespassing and theft of an artifact. While in jail, his ex-wife Masako Tezuka (Satomi Kobayashi) offers him a chance to explore an island. He reluctantly accepts and the two travel to the island along with Kenji Andoh (Takehiro Murata), a representative from the Marutomo company. On the island, they discover a giant egg and meet the Cosmos (the revised version of the Shobijin/Twin Fairies from the original Mothra vs. Godzilla). The Cosmos explain how ancient humans once tried to control the Earth’s climate and the Earth responded by creating Battra, a winged beast that honestly looks like Mothra on steroids. Battra turned on the Earth, attempting to destroy it. However, Mothra came to the Earth’s defense and the two engaged in battle. Battra lost, returning to the ocean while Mothra returned to Infant Island. Now that Mothra’s egg has been revealed, the Cosmos fear that Battra will return (which he does). Enter Godzilla into the picture and we have a good old-fashioned triple threat match with the poor people of Tokyo in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The movie carries on a theme that evil corporations are destroying the Earth and the creatures we are seeing are the Earth’s response. Originally, the script had a new creature called Bagan. But, after the disappointing box office of Godzilla vs. Biollante, the decision was made to go back to the original creatures. Once Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah proved successful, the script was revised to bring back Mothra. The tiny twin girls were renamed to the Cosmos but they sang the familiar Mothra song with original music by Akira Ifukube. It immediately brought back feelings of nostalgia. The plot was simple and the battle sequences were great. The special effects may seem dated now but they truly are advanced over what we had seen through the 70s. Mothra has never looked better.
One actress I have failed to mention previously is Megumi Odaka. She plays the recurring character of Miki Saegusa in the last 6 films of this era of the series, possessing ESP powers that stay fairly consistent film to film. However, her employers seem to change (otherwise known as a plot device for some loose continuity). Ultimately, she would appear in more Godzilla films than any other actor/actress. However, I’ve been a little less than impressed with her performances but it is interesting to connect the films, something we really had seen before in the series. Megumi Odaka retired from acting after the 1995 Godzilla movie but remains active today with convention appearances.
Godzilla and Mothra was much easier to enjoy due to a more cohesive plot and some great action sequences. Sure, the full frame and dubbing continues to drive me nuts but I’m setting aside my frustrations with that to enjoy the movie. We get a scene tagged on at the end that indicates Mothra must now defend the Earth from a meteor in 1999 since Battra was originally supposed to do that. Obviously, this was intended to bring Mothra back in a forthcoming film.
The movie is still available on DVD for less than $15, paired up with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Someday, we can only hope that the original widescreen version with Japanese language will become available. Meanwhile, I highly recommend this entry and suggest you check out the trailer.
Next time, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), same daikaiju time, same daikaiju channel!