Mothra - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mothra Reviews

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September 3, 2016
I'm a complete sucker for these old practical effects, where creativity and inventiveness are a necessity to make the action and designs work. Unfortunately, where Mothra thrives in those areas, it laughably fails in character and plot. It's big dumb fun, where the dumb overwhelms the fun.
½ June 11, 2016
Weâ??ve got a slick inversion of King Kong, a somewhat more skillful reprise of the city-smashing scenes from Rodan, and a whole lot of stuff that no one in Hollywood would ever have thought of. Not only that, Mothra features the largest-scale miniatures in the entire Toho canon, making for the most beautifully detailed destruction of Tokyo yet filmed. But somehow the parts donâ??t quite fit together right. The Twin Fairiesâ?? probably the most attention-getting feature of the whole filmâ?? never have much to do. In contrast to their later appearances in Godzilla vs. the Thing and Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster, their role here is entirely passive, and they end up being rather uninteresting. The idea of a basically good monster raining destruction on the innocent because of the actions of a few corrupt men is another brilliant twist on the formula that is never given enough room to operate. Mothra itself just isnâ??t a big enough presence in the movie to allow for a serious exploration of what it represents, but at the same time, the knowledge that weâ??re supposed to be rooting for the monster deprives the rampage scenes of most of their impact. The latter effect is only intensified by the obvious absence of people from the city sets Mothra destroys, an unfortunate side effect of the larger scale on which they were constructed. Another major problem has to do with the way the movieâ??s human characters were handled. Screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa seems to have been unable to settle on any one person to be the main protagonist, but he also failed to create anything that might meaningfully be called an ensemble. Instead, the dramatic emphasis shifts with little apparent regard for the flow of the story between Fukuda, Nakazo, and even Shiro. With this wandering emphasis on the one hand, and the equally indecisive vacillating between 50â??s formula elements and radical departures from them on the other, itâ??s hardly surprising that Ishiro Hondaâ??s direction seems profoundly confused and, frankly, directionless. Nevertheless, Mothra was a hit, both in Japan and in the United States, and after King Kong vs. Godzilla showed just how big a moneymaker a kaiju sequel could be (the earlier Gigantis the Fire Monster/Godzilla Raids Again hadnâ??t done nearly as well), it was inevitable that the giant lepidopterid would be coming back for more. Most of Mothraâ??s subsequent appearances would be more than a little on the lame side, but the monsterâ??s first return engagementâ?? Godzilla vs. the Thingâ?? was everything the original Mothra should have been, but wasnâ??t.
½ March 28, 2016
This a scenes fiction classic. The sequel Godzilla vs Mothra is better. But still this one of the best monster movies from 1962. See it. See all the Mothra movies
½ December 23, 2015
Un kaiju classique, réalisé par le maître Ishiro Honda. Honda est aux studios Toho ce que Terence Fisher était aux studios Hammer : un maître incontesté, celui qui a forgé le genre. Réussir à nous passionner pour une chenille, puis un papillon, géants, ça tient de l'exploit. Le merveilleux côtoie la terreur dans Mothra, un conte de fée qui vire au cauchemar de destruction à cause de l'avarice des hommes. Quand on est rendu à se faire faire la morale par deux lilliputiennes et une chenille géante, c'est que l'humanité a vraiment touché le fond... Comme presque toujours dans les films de monstres japonais, les maquettes sont excellentes, et on prend un malin plaisir à les voir se faire détruire.
August 31, 2015
Quite a funny picture, actually. Some good comedic actors, vivid and colourful cinematography and of course...MOTHRA!
½ June 9, 2015
I got this movie from the mill creek entertainment Sci-fi Creature Classics and Mothra was one of them. Made in 1961 by toho it's about this island that gets attacked by a atomic bomb. A team of Japanese explorers check out the radiated island and are surprised to see life there. Also there are these twin girls called the Ailenas, or the Peanut Sisters as some people call them.
Some guy takes them to exploit them and they're singing voices. A bit later when the Peanut sisters sing it awaking's Mothra which appears about halfway though the movie.
I mostly watched this for the Mothera song which sounds pretty peaceful and beautiful. Also when Mothra finally cocoons into a butterfly or moth it really gets good. If your a monster movie fan check this one out since it's considered a classic Sci-Fi monster movie.
August 9, 2014
its fun to see were she came from but not much good destruction
June 3, 2014
My favorite kaiju besides Godzilla and Otachi from Pacific Rim!
½ May 28, 2014
Strange that a creature that looks little more than a fluffy butterfly has become one of the most famous movie monsters this intro to the giant moth before he would ever encounter Godzilla is an interesting silly monster movie with typical environmentalist leanings common among Japanese cinema it seems
½ May 28, 2014
Giant moth who's best friends are 2 tiny girls who live in a little box. Ludicrous fun. Notable for the chrysalis that forms around the Tokyo Tower. They spent years cleaning that one up!
April 29, 2014
Number 3 in the original pantheon of atomic "Kaiju" monsters--in this case more fantasy than horror. Get this: a giant moth creature "ravishing a universe for love," replete with tiny island luminous fairies who perform songs. Yet it has a good cast, creative fun plot, sense of humor, appeal to children, earthquakes, machine guns, dance scenes, cheesy explosions, and an entertaining quality making it undeniably one of the most unique of the B movie monster era. Truly a classic in this sense. Surprising that of all the monsters, Mothra is the most common recurring character in the Godzilla films. Hmmm... so that makes Mothra yet another flight-themed sidekick ala Robin, Falcon, Buzz Lightyear, Tinker Bell, Hedwig, and Rocky the flying squirrel from Bullwinkle fame. Now THAT would make an interesting super-team...
April 13, 2014
If you're a fan of the Godzilla franchise, you're no doubt familiar with the character of Mothra, but did you know that she actually appeared in her own movie? How does 1961's "Mothra" hold up? The film begins when an expedition to Infant Island lands and finds the place surprisingly untouched by radiation. Despite the fact that the area around the island is a nuclear weapon testing ground, the primitive natives of the island are living their lives as normal and in fact the island is home to a vast jungle full of exotic plants, the likes of which have never been seen before. The expedition, a joint organization between Japanese and Roliscian scientists become divided when they encounters two young women only twelve inches tall. Chujo (Hiroshi Koizumi), who discovered the "Shobijin" or "Small beauties" (played by Yumi and Emi Itou) when they saved him from a carnivorous plant wishes to befriend them, but Nelson (Jerry Itou), sees only a way to make profits. Nelson kidnaps the Shobijin and brings them to Japan as a TV attraction. Despite the efforts of Nelson and his friends, Fukuda (Frankie Sakai) and Hanamura (Kyoko Kagawa), they are unable to rescue the Shobijin and they resort to calling their god, Mothra, a giant moth larva capable of reducing cities to rubble, to come to their rescue.

This movie has enough going on that it is interesting to see, even if you will find that the plot is familiar to aficionados of the Kaiju genre. First of all, we get two monsters for the price of one here, Mothra in her larva stage and in her adult stage. Both forms are quite different from each other and have very different ways of destroying Tokyo. The larva is a large, crawling creature that destroys buildings (including Tokyo Tower) by slamming into them and crushing everything under its weight, while the adult Mothra flies above the city, creating hurricane winds that tear buildings apart and send anything that isn't firmly tied down flying and crashing into anyone caught in its path. Like any good monster movie, you also find yourself cheering for it, just a little bit. Mothra isn't some rampaging monster, it's a vengeful god sent to rescue its apostles, two young women who have been kidnapped and forced to perform tricks at the request of audiences. It becomes not so much a "What weapon will they find to take Mothra down?" story as it is a "how can our heroes rescue the Shobijin and save the day?". That aspect of the film is actually one of its biggest strength. In many monster movies, the human plot just feels like filler. Something to introduce the monster and then tie together the various sequences of destruction before the solution is discovered. Not here. The human characters are actually integral to the plot. They are the ones who discover the Shobijin (and in the case of Chujo, he's the one who names them) and they are the only ones who are able to free them and hopefully save the city. You see, there's a whole other aspect to the film that ties into the kidnapping, which is the relationship between Japan and Roliscia. They're two countries that are working together for the common good of studying radiation poisoning and nuclear testing damage, but when the actions of Nelson brings destruction to Japan, everyone is at a loss as to what to do. He's a foreigner and actions against him could lead to a declaration of war between the two countries. From his point of view, Nelson does not see his actions as wrong and it is only when Mothra begins attacking that he realizes what he has done. He doesn't release the small beauties though because he's just hoping that the military will take care of Mothra. Letting them go would only acknowledge his part in the attack anyway and create an international incident. So overall there's a lot going on with the monsters and the humans. You've actually got some pretty interesting characters featured inbetween the scenes of monster action.

Speaking of monster action/special effects, how do those look? Well, one thing that needs to be mentioned is that there's one recurring special effect that's not convincing at all and is in fact pretty badly done, the Shobijin. When they use camera tricks to make the female actresses look tiny, it's terrific but there are several sequences where they are clearly dolls being handled by the actors and it's actually pretty laughable. Aside from that, the special effects are pretty sweet. There's something about Mothra that makes her oddly compelling. A giant caterpillar and a giant moth wrecking a city? That's something you've never seen before, that's for sure. The puppets used for Mothra are quite convincing (the strings are well hidden and I think the caterpillar is mechanized) and as usual, the miniatures and sets that are to be destroyed are quite good. They actually look better than they have in the previous films in Toho's Kaiju universe and it's all in colour. There are some pretty iconic scenes of destruction, particularly when it comes to the Mothra larval stage, when it attacks Tokyo tower and like I said before, it isn't all just buildings falling down and being crushed, with the sequences of Mothra flapping her wings and destroying the city, it's something you haven't seen before.

"Mothra" is actual a very compelling monster movie that puts enough twists on the formula to make it feel like its own thing. The characters and the monster are interesting, the plots are cleverly interwoven into each other and the special effects are good too. Best of all, it leads into one of the most fun films in the Godzilla series, "Godzilla vs. Mothra". It isn't only for fans of Kaiju movies, it's the kind of film that stands on its own and that you use to introduce people to the genre because it is legitimately good on its own, or as part of a series. (On Dvd, March 29, 2014)
August 30, 2013
Beautiful work of art by Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya. The score by Yuji Koseki has a South Pacific feel to it. Great to listen to and fits very well with the tone of the movie.
½ July 28, 2013
Above average early Japanese monster movie.
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2013
Mothra is always an uncomfortable mix with Godzilla, Rodan and the rest of them. Someone once commented suggested to me that Mothra could do no better than "piss off" Godzilla or Ghidorah in battle. Thankfully we have just Mothra alone in her debut and it is thoroughly entertaining.
November 30, 2012
The original appearance of Godzilla's on/off buddy. Very slow to get started, but the second half gets into gear and makes for a reasonable entry in Toho's kaiju mythology. Probably for completists only.
October 21, 2012
Looking to mimic the stable of monsters found in Universal's horror films of the 1930's, Toho financed this kaiju feature following the success of Godzilla and Rodan. This one showcases a giant caterpillar that winds up going through metamorphosis in Tokyo rather than its proper habitat. This, of course, results in another unfortunate turn of events for the frequently destroyed Japanese metropolis. Although boasting its fair share of monster mayhem, Mothra is more lighthearted than its predecessors; a trait reflected in Toho's later monster mashes. It gets by thanks to an imaginatively designed creature, entertaining direction, and charming performances by Emi and Yumi Ito as Mothra's fairy priestesses.
June 17, 2012
Mothra makes its debut in this film, which launches several films that feature Mothra.
June 15, 2012
the religious & social undertones r unmistakable 4 this off beat sci-fi fantasy.
June 15, 2012
campy fun my own fave monster pic
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