Mothra: Queen Of The Monsters (Japan 1996)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 7/31/99

Fascinating. A gorgeously filmed monster movie from Toho Studios aimed at the "all ages" audience. A construction site on Hokkaido unearths an ancient seal which an evil nymph steals in order to resurrect Death Ghidorah. Mothra's two nymphs sense trouble and set out to get the seal back. This leads to an amazing dogfight between the good nymphs and the bad nymph in the main characters' living room. Utterly delightful. But things get much more serious once Death Ghidorah shows up, and the nymphs have to call on Mothra to battle the awful beast. Mothra and the newly hatched Mothra grub fight valiantly, but they're no match for the devastating Death Ghidorah. Defeated and badly wounded, Mothra goes out to sea and dies, and the Mothra grub cocoons itself at the Tree Of Life in preparation for its metamorphosis. A new bad-ass Mothra emerges and takes out the hideous Death Ghidorah with a surprising new arsenal of finishing moves. Oddly enough, the Japanese military doesn't even attempt to deal with the monsters. (maybe they only show up if Tokyo is getting stomped) Breathtaking photography, stunning special effects, a stirring musical score, and a lot of heart make this a delightful film to watch. It's so charming and magical that it even moved my bitter and jaded heart to tears on a couple of occasions. Like the previous Mothra films, great importance is placed on the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. There's also a strong ecological theme, but fortunately it doesn't get too heavy-handed. My only complaints are that the color correction on a lot of the composites was way off, and the passage of time during battle scenes was often confusing. Minor issues.