Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

mothra vs godzilla poster 1964 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Love Mothra and the Shobijin

Takes too long for Mothra and Godzilla to get involved

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Mothra vs. Godzilla

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  April 29, 1964

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

mothra vs godzilla egg kaiju

Hide your sweaters! Mothra and her babies are here!

A hurricane washes a giant egg up on the coast and a legal battle quickly begins when the egg is purchased by Kumayama (Yoshifumi Tajima) who is secretly backed by Shiro Torahata (Kenji Sahara) of Happy Enterprises.  When the Shobijin (Emi and Yumi Ito) show up to reveal that the egg is the spawn of Mothra, their request for the egg is rejected.  When Godzilla is revealed to be washed up in the hurricane, the people of Japan turn to Mothra to help stop him.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, Mothra vs. Godzilla (モスラ対ゴジラ or Mosura tai Gojira aka Godzilla Against Mothra) is the fourth entry in the Godzilla franchise.  It followed King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962.  A remastered version of the film was included by the Criterion Collection as part of Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 boxset (Criterion #1000).

mothra vs godzilla kaiju

I like that Godzilla essentially tore this building down because he tripped into it.

Mothra is inevitably tied to Godzilla.  The stand-alone Mothra film which was released in 1961 is strong in itself in the world of kaiju films, but it never lived up to the Godzilla level in the United States (it is probably a lot harder to market a giant moth to kids than a dinosaur).  Mothra vs. Godzilla gives Mothra the screen-time that Mothra deserves…but that is not necessarily a good thing for Godzilla.

The movie barely has Godzilla and is more of a Mothra movie.  I have to say I love Mothra and her Shobijin.  The idea of the threat of a giant moth is humorous (I liked at the end when the “dust” was Mothra’s dying defense).  It seems like Godzilla could just use his atomic breath to blow a hole in the wings.

Godzilla and Mothra take way too long to show up in the movie.  The legal wrangling over the egg is not very interesting.  Fortunately the Shobijin are there, but I wish they had brought Mothra or Godzilla in earlier…especially since Godzilla was just hidden under a pile of dirt and no one noticed.  I also like that humans are pretty much the bad guys in the movie.  They refuse to return Mothra’s egg then give Mothra’s people the guilt trip about helping them.

mothra vs godzilla shobijin peanuts emi yumi ito

All I want is the Shobijin to sing to me forever!

King Kong vs. Godzilla might have had the big name, but the special effects on Mothra seem a bit more impressive with even more miniature sets (which of course are trashed).  In addition to this they have the Shobijin (played by the musical group called The Peanuts made up of Emi and Yumi Itō).  The Shobijin are fun and the special effects are actually decent on them.  Through the green screen and scale models, the Shobijin are probably the best effects of the movie.  Plus, I can’t get enough of the Mothra song.

Mothra vs. Godzilla is a fun monster movie.  It is goofy fun like most of the Godzilla movies, but Godzilla is more of a side-note when compared to Mothra’s involvement.  Both characters are fun, but at this point, the makers of Godzilla movies have started to realize their moneymaking potential and really began pumping them out.  This is the last time that Godzilla plays an out-and-out “villain”.  Mothra vs. Godzilla was followed by Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (in which both Godzilla and Mothra return…plus Rodan and Ghidorah) later in 1964.

Preceded By:

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

Followed By:

Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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