February 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Godzilla Week Day One: Godzilla Vs. Mothra (1992)

Godzilla, Mothra, and Batra clash in a blatantly obvious environmental warning.

Godzilla first burst onto the screen as an allegory.  The giant lizard who could exhale radioactive fire was meant to stand in for the dangers of nuclear war.  However, time passed and Godzilla became campy, or heroic, or just plain weird as the story required.

But the allegorical power of Godzilla never quite went away, even if the allegory part did, as in the 1992 Godzilla vs. Mothra, a movie with a blatant, spelled-out environmental message.

Toho Studios has been making Godzilla movies off and on for a few decades now, and they have some mainstays on display here.  Godzilla and any other giant monsters present will plow through obvious models, stomp on tanks, and cause things to explode with whatever beams or breath powers they might have.  Crowds of panicking people will be seen running for their lives.  Men in rubber suits will stomp through miniature cityscapes.  Those dreadful notes from the brass section of an orchestra will sound.  You know the drill.

If anything, the movie needs to set up whether or not Godzilla is the bad guy this go-around or not.  Considering Mothra is one of the few giant monsters that is always one of the good guys, I think the title sets up Godzilla’s role, but as explained by the Cosmos (a pair of doll-sized singers that speak in unison), Mothra was originally the defender of the Earth and fought Batra, a rival.  When Mothra’s egg hatches and she is reborn in the modern age, Batra cannot be too far behind.  And though Mothra is a giant moth, Batra is not a giant bat but another winged insect of some kind.  Factor in a recent meteor falling into Godzilla’s trench and waking the big guy up, and you know the city of Tokyo will be rebuilding everything again very soon.

The environmental message isn’t exactly subtle.  Mothra is awoken by a greedy company that doesn’t see destroying the environment as a problem if there’s profit to be had.  It’s a wonder the company’s owner doesn’t twirl his mustache.    Mothra, the Cosmos tell us, had turned on ancient humans when they, much more technologically advanced than we thought, had invented a machine to control the climate.  Godzilla doesn’t seem to care much for the environment, and as for Batra, well, that would be telling.

Seriously, Batra’s storyarc is garbanzo beans-level crazy and stupid to boot.

Not exactly a classic for the character, and not even the first time Godzilla has thrown down with Mothra (Godzilla is a recognized character by the standard forgettable human characters here, but Mothra is not), let’s say seven and a half giant eggs hatching in the middle of the ocean out of ten.