Mothra (1961) Review




When a greedy businessman kidnaps two twin fairies on a remote island, the monster known as Mothra is sent to save them.

Coming up next after Rodan’s debut is Mothra. To which, she delivers a movie that is pretty good and a solid monster flick.

The basic plot itself recycled elements from “King Kong” (1933). Which was what director Ishiro Honda said was a big influence in creating this picture. One can definitely see the similarities between the two. Explorers going to an unknown world, a greedy man wanting to take advantage of that world, and the heroes have to make things right toward the end. But there were differences to distinguish one from the other. Even so, the plot was enjoyable, for it had you invested, and one could follow it well.

Characters in the movie played their parts good. The main protagonist of the movie, Zen-Chan, was a character I thought was going to play the goofball and was always getting into ridiculous trouble. But to my surprise, he was smarter than I thought. I loved the movie didn’t play up that stereotype on him.

There was the evil villain Nelson who was fun to watch due to his mannerisms. The twin fairies were cool to see and one actually cared for them when they were captured and held hostage.

Let me talk about Mothra. At the time, I believed it was a good change a pace to make the main monster a female. She was a cool monster. Even with her silly and puffy appearance, it was still a classic design. Her roars were also memorable. I liked that Mothra was a “peaceful” monster, in that she doesn’t cause “extensive” damage like other Kaiju like Godzilla or Rodan. I liked her role as this God being worshipped and having her own mythology.

The music here was really good. The movie, of course, introduced the iconic Mothra song, which was still being used for many decades. I hope that Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters utilizes the song.

Infant Island was interesting to witness and I wished the movie would have shown more. I wished the film would have explored more of the life of the natives and maybe how Mothra herself came to be. But what the film delivered, it was short but sweet. It left you with that feeling of wanting more.

Like “Rodan,” the pacing was pretty fast as it jumped right into the situation. But as things progressed, it got slow for a bit in terms of the main monster not showing up. Though at the same time, it was a bit of good build-up for when she does finally show up in the middle. The same goes for the narrative structure, but this one took its time establishing the main characters and their specific actions.

The action scenes were pretty good. Even though I liked the action from Rodan, some of them were long and one could get bored with them. The battles presented here were at a fine length. There were some POV shots which showed Mothra (larval form) on the ground which were cool. The destruction scenes were nicely done.

One thing though I had to make note of was the little boy being the brother of the adult Dr. Shin’ichi Chujo. There was no way that little boy was that doctors brother. It could very easily be his son.

“Mothra” reused plot details from “King Kong” (1933), had the stereotypes, and it can be cliche/cheesy at times. But this was a great movie that did its job of showcasing fun characters, delivered classic music, good action, and well-done set-pieces that will surely entertain. This was a classic Kaiju movie that monster fans should definitely see.

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