Thursday, May 28, 2009

Born Again: Rebirth Of Mothra(1996)

Now that the classic 1961 Toho film Mothra is about to be released to official R1 DVD(by Sony in August, 2009) I decided to watch again a trio of "Mothra" films produced by Toho in the '90s. The first of them is Rebirth Of Mothra, directed by Okihiro Yoneda, which originally opened in Japanese theaters back in December, 1996.

The film's story: a logging-mining company conducting operations in the north part of Japan inadvertently breaks an underground seal, this seal a lock that keeps a terrible giant monster imprisoned. The monster, called "Death Ghidorah" in the English dubbed version of the movie, is a three headed, dragon like quadripedal monster with an elephantine roar, a very hostile demeanor and possessing an array of blistering, highly destructive oral beams which the monster employs often.

Two small, six inch tall fairies, "Moll"(Megumi Kobayashi) and 'Lora"(Sayaka Yamaguchi), must call on the Earth's guardian, Mothra, to come and prevent Death Ghidorah from laying waste to the Earth. Opposing the two good fairies is their evil sister "Belvera"(Aki Hano), who has disdain for humans and advocates seeing the three headed monster rampage across our planet.

Mothra arrives and does battle with the much larger Death Ghidorah. During the battle Mothra's larva hatches from its egg and joins its "parent" in battle. In the end, and because of the battle(no scene spoilers), the larva is compelled to cocoon itself, in order that it might transform and emerge an adult creature, in order to engage Death Ghidorah and defeat the monster once and for all. (no other spoilers).

Observations: the first thing that grabs me about this film is the score, which is at times quite beautiful and majestic, and befitting a film that features children prominently in the story line to compliment the movie's decided "fantasy" feel. The movie itself is very colorful, from the background cinematography, the colors on Mothra's wings, right down to the colors of the various beam weapons used by the monsters. Fans of Toho "kaiju" films who like seeing beam weapon battles will love those of Rebirth Of Mothra: even the larval Mothra employs a beam weapon!

"Mothra's Song" is done quite well with the two benevolent fairies.

Those fans of giant monster movies who prefer an edgier, more grounded(literally) and serious film may find Rebirth Of Mothra a miss. As for me, the movie has grown on me over the passage of time. I do think it does Mothra a great service, both this movie and the two that would follow.

Rebirth Of Mothra(1996) has been released on R1 DVD as a double feature(paired with the sequel film "Rebirth Of Mothra 2"): both movies on this DVD are in widescreen and in English dubbed language. Here's a link to see the double feature of these "ROM" films at
(you can also access this URL by clicking the title of this blog entry)

The original Toho trailer for Rebirth Of Mothra(1996):