Monday, August 23, 2010

Color me bad: Rebirth Of Mothra 2(1997)

So I decided, and totally at random, to sit down tonight and watch Rebirth Of Mothra 2, the second Heisei Mothra film originally released to theaters in Japan back in late 1997. Like its predecessor "Rebirth Of Mothra" this second installment is a vibrantly colorful film with special effects that, directed by Koichi Kawakita, are quite good at times. I didn't like the score as much as I did for the '96 ROM film but this score is suitable. The second installment also features children prominently in the storyline as we are introduced to a new enemy monster(Dagarah), an aquatic beast capable of polluting the entire planet with toxic, starfish shaped creatures called "barem". Of course it's up to the fairies(the good fairies that is) and Mothra to stop the monster. Unlike the '96 ROM movie there are a few sequences of city destruction. Some observations of this film, some positive and some negative:

What I liked:

1. the rendering of Dagarah: the aquatic monster is well designed and, generally reptilian in appearance, also possesses a menacing, guttural roar which has an almost bear-like quality to it.

2. the battles between Mothra and Dagarah: I believe there's overuse of beams(both kaiju employ a variety of them on each other) but there's also some limited physical battling as well. I also liked the manner in which Mothra attacked Dagarah under water in the final battle(no spoilers)

3. the skirmishes between Moll/Lora and Belvera: rather than find these sequences a distraction I actually believe the conflict between evil Belvera and her good sisters Moll and Lora adds a little tension to the film's story

4. the overall special effects: short of some shaky matte shots and water tank shots that looked too much like a water tank the overall effects are fairly decent. I spotted overhead wires only once while watching the DVD of this movie.

5. the scenes of city destruction were a welcome addition. These were absent from the '96 film where only acres of forest were incinerated(and one dam destroyed) as the monsters battled it out. The JSDF was curiously absent from Dagarah's landfall and brief rampage inland...which was probably a cost cutting measure by Toho.

What I didn't like:

1. the inclusion of the two bumbling thieves in the film's storyline. The trio of children were quite enough for me to tolerate watching this movie without having to also stomach the shenanigans of the pair of cowardly, nefarious buffoons who attempt to repeatedly steal the water spirit creature "Gogo" from the kids.

2. the rendering of the water spirit "Gogo": I wasn't expecting to see much here but I was expecting more than a furry, animatronic creature with no mouth and feet resembling those of a chicken. In the English dubbed version of this film the creature is referred to as "Gorgo", also something I'm not enamored with seeing that this is also the name of a giant monster in a 1961 King Brothers produced film.

2. the interior of the resurrected temple, which has risen up from the depths. The inside of this gigantic temple looked like the inside of a five star hotel with shiny floors and walls...odd considering it has been, according to the film's storyline, submerged for thousands of years.

Overall, well worth a DVD investment. I need to buy the Region 2 DVD(from Yesasia) of this movie. I'll likely do that in early 2011 or whenever money starts growing on trees...whichever is sooner.

The film's original trailer(in Japanese language only):