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Rebirth Of Mothra / Rebirth Of Mothra II
Double Feature
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Japanese Titles: Mosura (“Mothra”) and Mosura 2:  Kaitei No Daikessen (“Mothra 2:  Great Undersea Battle”)
Directors: Okihiro Yoneda (RoM) and Kunio Miyoshi (RoM II)
Original Release Years: 1996 (RoM) and 1997 (RoM II)
Running Times: 104 minutes and 97 minutes, respectively

DVD Released By: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: English 2.0
Extras: None
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French (all dubtitles)
Closed Captions: English
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 28 for each film
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $24.95
UPC #: 043396046917
Catalog #: 04691
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Jen
The Films: After Godzilla’s demise in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Toho made a series of movies featuring their second most popular kaiju, Mothra.  “Even if it is that big, a moth is still a moth.  How can it defeat such a terrible monster?”

Rebirth of Mothra:  While leveling a forest in the mountains of Hokkaido, the Houkoku construction company unearths an ancient medallion.  The medallion is an ancient seal of the Elias, used for millions of years to keep the monster Desghidorah trapped in the mountain.  The seal is stolen by Belvera, evil sister of Moll and Lora, the good Elias.  Belvera uses it to control Desghidorah.  Desghidorah sucks energy from the plant life on Earth.  Trees wither, the oxygen level in the area drops, and Earth may become a wasteland like Mars (which Desghidorah destroyed eons ago) unless Mothra can stop it.  Mothra is assisted by the tiny Elias (who fly around on a mini-Mothra called Fairy), and the two children of the Houkoku Corp. supervisor who started the whole mess.  Mothra is old, however, and weakened after laying an egg.  The egg hatches prematurely, and the larva comes to its mother’s assistance.  After Mothra dies (in a touching scene) the little larva transforms into an adult Mothra.  Can the small but determined Mothra beat the menacing Desghidorah?

Rebirth of Mothra II:  The natives of Ishigaki Island have a legend about the ancient Mu civilization and the lost treasure of Nilai Kanai.  The legend turns out to be true when the Okinawa trench becomes infested with red, aggressive starfish called Barem, and a magical little creature called Ghogo also shows up on land.  Ghogo is helped by a young girl and two good-at-heart bullies to use the treasure of Nilai Kanai to stop the monster Dagarla.  (The back of the box lists the creature’s name as “Dagahra,” but it’s pronounced “Dagarla” in the movie.)  However, Belvera is back and she temps two greedy men with promises of wealth if they help her stop the kids.  The Elias come to the children's aid, and they find the pyramid of Nilai Kanai.  As it rises from the sea, Dagarla attacks the pyramid.  The pyramid fights back, so the monster retreats and instead attacks Ishigaki.  Mothra is called to fight Dagarla, but the combination of Dagarla and the small but numerous Barem is too much and Mothra is overpowered.  It is up to the children and the Elias to find the treasure of Nilai Kanai before Belvera and her crew.  When the treasure is finally discovered, it is used to power up Mothra to be a better match for the aquatic Dagarla.

RoM and RoM II are both fun and entertaining movies.  With children as main characters in both movies, they are clearly aimed at a younger audience.  RoM is more of a traditional kaiju movie, while RoM II has much more of a fantasy / adventure feel to it.  While RoM II has more action and humor than the first movie, RoM has more drama and suspense and is the better of the two movies (except maybe if you are a child).  Neither movie has much city destruction (in fact, there is none in RoM).  If that’s what you are looking for, you will be disappointed.  However, in spite of its lack of massive urban destruction, RoM has something many kaiju eiga lack:  Human tragedy.  People actually suffer as a result of the monster’s attack.  There are consequences to the monster’s actions.  Both movies also benefit from beautiful scenery and a positive environmental message.

The children in both movies are believable and likeable (except for the dubbing, which isn’t too bad, but is still a bit annoying).  The Elias are portrayed well and are distinguishable despite their similar looks.  Moll is practical, Lora is emotional and Belvera is wicked.

There are three Mothra designs in these two films.  The first is the standard Mothra from
Godzilla And Mothra:  The Battle For Earth.  The new Mothra has a fresh color scheme with a black, white, and blue-striped body and green as the prominent color of the wings.  The other Mothra is AquaMothra, which is a creative design and looks cool in spite of the fact that it’s a little too smooth and plastic-looking.

Desghidorah is basically a dark colored Ghidorah with four legs.  It looks good, but it doesn’t do too much.  Dagarla is not too impressive, either.  It looks fine when it flies and when it is under water, but on land it is very awkward.  Overall, it is not a very memorable monster.  The little fuzzy Ghogo isn’t terribly cute, although I assume that was the intention.  It is a white-furred thing, about the size of a cat, with an antenna, a fluffy tail, two flesh-colored birdlike feet, and creepy human eyes.  It moves by hopping around (or by a stagehand bouncing it along on a string, if you want to get technical).  Ghogo’s claim to fame:  Healing pee!

RoMII uses several CGI shots.  They range from bad to pretty cool.  The worst are the shots used for “humor” such as when a caterpillar flies into a child’s open mouth, then drops down a teacher’s blouse; and a scene where Ghogo’s eyes bug out, which looks like a Honeycomb cereal commercial.  The best is a scene where the Nilai Kanai pyramid turns to water and Mothra flies through it as it collapses.  RoM uses more traditional effects, which for the most part make it look better than its sequel.  Some wires are visible in both films, but not in any major way.  Unfortunately, like Tristar’s Heisei Godzilla releases, the end credits have been cut from both RoM films.

Grade for Rebirth of Mothra:  B+
Grade for
Rebirth of Mothra II:  B-

Video: Both films are presented in anamorphic widescreen.  The images on both movies are for the most part very good.  Both movies are colorful and the colors are represented very well.  The only problem is that there is some grain in some of the special effects shots in both movies.  Otherwise the picture is clear, sharp and colorful.  Grade:  B+

Audio: Both movies are presented in Dolby Digital stereo, dubbed in English.  All music, sound effects and dialogue are clear, although the disc is a little on the quiet side.  The downside of the audio is that only the English dub is available.  Dubbing is adequate (it must be hard to dub children, because it always sounds a little grating).  The Elias are dubbed well, unlike in Godzilla And Mothra:  The Battle For Earth, in which the dubbing of Mothra’s twin fairies was horrendous and nearly ruined the whole movie!
Grade:  B-

Extras/Menus: No extras are offered on this disc, not even trailers or sneak peeks at other Tristar releases.  The menus are basic and easy to navigate.  They are still pictures with no sound or music.  The inclusion of 28 chapter stops per movie is convenient, though.  Grade:  D-

Final Analysis: Two fun movies on a bare-bones disc.  Rebirth of Mothra is an all-around good kaiju movie; Rebirth of Mothra II, with its colorful visuals and kid-friendly story, might be a good way to introduce young children to the genre.  The clear transfers, and two movies on one disc, makes up for the lack of extras.  Recommended.  Grade:  B
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