|Godzilla vs. Mothra (CineVu)|
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|Japanese Title: Mosura Tai Gojira (“Mothra vs. Godzilla”)
Alternate Titles: Mothra vs. Godzilla (international title), Godzilla vs. the Thing (original U.S. theatrical release title)
Director: Ishiro Honda (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Rodan)
Original Release Year: 1964
Running Time: 87 minutes
DVD Released By: CineVu; New Media, Beverly Wilshire Filmworks, and Downtown Entertainment are also credited, either on the box or when the film starts.
Video: Fullscreen (The box says “widescreen,” but it’s another lie.)
Audio: Mono (The box says “Dolby Digital.” Right.)
Closed Captions: None
UPC #: 026617882594
Catalog #: BWFD8825-9
Status: Unknown; Amazon.com has stopped selling it.
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|The Film: A hurricane in the South Pacific brings a strange object to the shores of Japan: A gigantic, floating egg. The egg is towed ashore by villagers, who then sell it to a local businessman, Kumayama. A reporter and photographer, Sakai and Yoka, investigate the phenomenon. Their attempted interview with Professor Miura, a scientist who is examining the egg, is cut short when they are ordered to leave the scene by Kumayama. They are distressed to learn that the egg will not be used for scientific study. Instead, Kumayama intends to make it a tourist attraction!
The Shobijin, the tiny twin faeries of Infant Island, come to Japan to ask that the egg be returned. The egg belongs to Mothra, the giant insect god of Infant Island. Kumayama and his boss, Torahata, refuse to listen to the faeries’ plea. Even when Sakai, Yoka, and Professor Miura accompany the diminutive twins, the unscrupulous businessmen flatly refuse. Disgusted with man’s greed, the Shobijin return to their island home.
However, it is soon discovered that the hurricane has brought a far deadlier menace to Japan: Godzilla! Emerging from a mud-plain left by the storm, the radioactive dinosaur resumes his destructive ways. As Japan is being trampled, the tables are turned. Sakai, Yoka, and the professor journey to Infant Island to plead for Mothra’s help in stopping Godzilla’s rampage. Showing more mercy than they had received in Japan, the Shobijin and Mothra agree.
Mothra arrives on the Japanese mainland just as Godzilla approaches her egg. Mothra struggles valiantly, and gains the upper hand against her imposing foe, but is ultimately felled by Godzilla’s atomic breath. As the monster continues his march across Japan, it is up to Mothra’s newly-hatched twin offspring to avenge their parent and stop Godzilla.
Godzilla vs. Mothra is widely regarded as one of the best Godzilla films. The reasons for this are many. The film combines an appealing cast of human characters with the spectacle of the battle between Toho’s two most popular monsters. The special effects are consistently excellent. This was the last film of the Showa series to offer a threatening, unsympathetic portrayal of Godzilla. There is also great contrast between the lumbering, animalistic Godzilla, and the elegant and intelligent Mothra.
The U.S. version presented on this DVD benefits from an excellent dub (notwithstanding Mothra being frequently referred to as “the Thing”), and an additional action sequence. (The scene in which the U.S. military attempts to stop Godzilla using Frontier Missiles is only included in the U.S. release.) No monster movie fan should miss this film. Grade: A
Video: It would be hard to make Classic Media’s original Godzilla vs. Mothra look good, but CineVu has managed to do just that. The movie is presented in fullscreen. The framing and composition appear horribly cramped. Print damage such as speckles and lines are scattered throughout the film. The special effects scenes suffer the most from these problems. While the condition of the print is very similar to the Classic Media version, this version is faded, with very dull colors. The image lacks detail, and objects moving onscreen sometimes cause the image to warp or blur slightly. This looks like a second-generation VHS copy. Grade: D
Audio: Completely dull. The audio is low, and sounds flat. The mono track on the Classic Media disc sounds louder and fuller than this. Grade: D
Extras / Menus: There are no extras. The amateurishly-designed menus include some animated film clips. At least there aren’t numerous screens crediting John Matarazzo and his fly-by-night cronies for putting this stunning package together, as there are on CineVu’s Ghidrah disc. Grade: F
Final Analysis: Here we go again. This is another sub-par DVD-R bootleg from CineVu, the company (“racket” may be a more appropriate term) responsible for the absolutely pathetic Ghidra (sic): The Three-Headed Monster DVD. Their contempt for filmmaker and fan alike is apparent from the opening frames of their Godzilla vs. Mothra. CineVu has truncated the opening credits! All mention of Toho and UPA Productions is gone. New credits are awkwardly looped together, citing Beverly Wilshire Filmworks and CineVu as the film’s producers! (Surprisingly enough, Ishiro Honda’s name has not been obliterated, and directorial talent re-assigned to John Matarazzo.) There is absolutely no good reason for this illegal product to exist. Kaiju fans should not encourage CineVu by buying it. Final Grade: F
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