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Godzilla and Mothra:  The Battle for Earth (Region 3)
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Box Front
Japanese Title: Gojira vs. Mosura (“Godzilla vs. Mothra”)
Alternate Titles: Godzilla vs. Mothra (international title)
Director: Takao Okawara (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla 2000)
Original Release Year: 1992
Running Time: 102 minutes

DVD Released By: Universe Laser & Video (Hong Kong)
Video: Widescreen, 1.85:1 OAR
Audio: Japanese 2.0 Dolby stereo, Cantonese 2.0 Dolby stereo
Extras: Trailer
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese & English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Closed Captions: None
Region: 3
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 9
Packaging: Keepcase (clear), in a cardboard slipcover w/ identical box art
MSRP: $45.00 HK
UPC #: 4895024950150
Catalog #: 6760
Status: Available


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The Film: A large meteorite crashes into the Pacific Ocean, initiating a string of natural disasters.  It even awakens Godzilla!  On one of the Indonesian Islands, a landslide uncovers a gigantic egg.  The Marutomo Corporation, in partnership with the Japanese government, had planned to exploit the island.  They recruit a tomb-raiding adventurer named Takuya to investigate the strange object.  He, his ex-wife Masako, and company man Ando make the journey to Infant Island.  There, they make contact with tiny faeries called the Cosmos.  The egg is Mothra’s, and the Cosmos detail their history.  Long ago, they tried to control the Earth’s climate.  Their ancient race was wiped out by this environmental tampering, with their guardian Mothra locked in mortal combat with her dark counterpart Battra.  The current instability of the Earth’s environment mirrors that ancient time.  Battra, a manifestation of the Earth’s life force, has reawakened!  The Battra larva tunnels underground to Japan.  It emerges, and attacks Nagoya.

The Marutomo Corporation orders the egg and the Cosmos brought back to Japan.  En route, both Godzilla and Battra converge on the ship.  Battered by two larger and brutal foes, the newly hatched Mothra larva swims back to Infant Island.  Godzilla and Battra continue their battle underwater, and disappear into a volcano.  In Japan, both Ando, and later Takuya, abduct the Cosmos for commercial exploitation.  Mothra comes to Japan to rescue them.  After battling the military, she makes a cocoon on the Diet Building and matures into her adult form.  Just in time:  Godzilla emerges from Mount Fuji, and Battra erupts from the sea and morphs into a flying form.  While Mothra and Battra battle in the skies above Yokohama, Godzilla lays waste to the city below.  When the three monsters meet, the battling bugs will have to put their differences aside to overcome the power of Godzilla.

Godzilla and Mothra:  The Battle for Earth is a strong entry in the Heisei series.  It has a lighter tone than the previous Heisei films.  There is some blundering by the amateur explorers on Infant Island (Ando even wears a suit and tie in the jungle), and bickering between the estranged couple of Takuya and Masako.  Their daughter, Midori, is the first prominent child character in the Heisei series.  Psychic Miki Saegusa returns, though in a much smaller role.  The film re-uses some plot elements of the original 1961 Mothra, and has a prominent environmental message.  There are some great FX sequences, including Battra’s attack on Nagoya, Godzilla and Battra’s underwater battle, Godzilla emerging from Mt. Fuji, and the aerial dogfight between Mothra and Battra.  Battra is an aggressive and formidable creature; it charges into battle against the larger and stronger Godzilla without hesitation.  Even when airborne, it proves to be a fierce physical fighter, butting heads with Mothra, collapsing a building on Godzilla, and even whacking him with a giant Ferris wheel!  G&M is a visual treat.  Grade:  B+

Video: G&M is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The anamorphic widescreen image is sharp and clear, with good detail.  The colors are bright, and flesh tones are natural.  There is no appreciable print damage.  There is some grain in FX shots, but that’s par for the course.  It looks very good, even when compared to Toho’s own region 2 versionGrade:  A-

Audio: There are two audio options:  The original Japanese language, and a Cantonese dub, both in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.  The Japanese sounds good, with clear dialogue, music, and sound FX.  (Speaking of sound FX, Godzilla’s roar no longer has a cool growling undertone as in the previous two films, and his ray has a chintzy new sound as well.)  The Cantonese track is equivalent in quality.  International fans will no doubt stick with the Japanese.  Grade:  B+

Extras / Menus: The only extra is a trailer for the subsequent Heisei Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.  It’s presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, has Japanese and Cantonese 2.0 audio, with non-removable English and Chinese subtitles.  The menus are fullscreen still images, with no sound.  There are animated film clips in the chapter select windows.  Everything is labeled in both English and Chinese, so navigation is easy.  Grade:  C-

Final Analysis: The English subtitles are decent, and the box says that they’re based on the Japanese version, not the dub.  Like all of Universe’s Heisei releases, the English subs are displayed simultaneously with Chinese text, but it’s easy to get used to.  This is also a complete print that includes the end credits that were cut from Sony’s release.  With better specs than Sony’s R1, and more affordable than Toho’s R2, this is an attractive alternative for U.S. fans.  Highly recommended.  Final Grade:  A-
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