director Ishirō Honda
As a kid, Mothra used to bug me. I think it’s because Godzilla was my favorite monster and he wound up being the bad guy against Mothra. Godzilla was awesome. Mothra was a giant moth.
Watching Mothra for the first time in many, many years, there’s a lot to like. Almost garishly colorful, Mothra is very much lifted from King Kong (1933), featuring an isolated island whose primitive denizen worship some kind of monster. But in Mothra, humans don’t steal the monster to exploit, rather they kidnap the miniature singing fairies (The Peanuts, Yumi, and Emi Itou). The monster is the hero, hatching from a giant egg as a larva, swimming across the sea to New Kirk City, hatching into giant moth and rescuing its little ladies.
Ishirō Honda made Godzilla (1954) and Rodan (1956) and tons of kaiju movies, and really, this is a pretty good one. It’s kind of an interesting twist that the monster is the good guy (or female) moth from the get-go, and all that destruction is vengeance deserved. It’s also quite a critique that it’s the Rolisican (read American) guys that are the real baddies.
I’ve gotten over my Mothra prejudice. But Godzilla is still #1 kaiju.