Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)
The Battle for Earth
Yeah, the name can get long and confusing. In the IMDB link later on, you'll find its Godzilla vs Mosura - as apparently this is one of the few movies that IMDB doesn't have a proper english-version name for. That aside, this movie decides to step it up a notch with three monsters for the price of one, all while playing along with similar aspects as the others. Can these little bugs cause the movie to bloom into a beautiful butterfly, or is it nothing more than a worm in a fancy suit?
If you've been following our journey on the Heisei marathon of Godzilla, this picks up right in pace with the last one. After his battle with Ghidorah, our king monster is taking a bit of a nap in the ocean when chaos is brought to the earth once more. A meteor crashes into the planet, working like a detonator to the time-bomb that is bad events. Water levels rise, causing massive problems on a nearby island and uncovering a humongous egg, as well as waking and agitating Godzilla. A group travels to the island where they meet the Cosmos - two tiny women who serve as the balance for the world, and also for a bit of history on our new monster contenders for the movie - as well as the before mentioned giant egg.
While they are on the island, another giant creature surfaces and attacks Japan, causing massive damage to the city it attacks and proving that (once again) the guns of the military don't seem to do much more than annoy the giant beasts continually attacking Japan. Back on their way home from the island, the humans and their giant egg come under attack from Godzilla, who seems quite enthused with the idea of having himself some breakfast. Before such things can happen however, the egg hatches and out comes a wormy Mothra! A quick skirmish happens, and before long Battra - the other creature, explained as the dark-version of Mothra - shows up to join the party.
The throwdown between Battra and Godzilla is so fierce that it causes an underwater volcanic eruption, submerging both the creatures in red-hot lava. Will this be the end of them? As the human's arrive back at their home, a non-violent battle of greed proceeds to happen over the Cosmos, which causes an angry Mothra to return and seek out its little friends. Will Japan even survive long enough to figure out if the other two monsters are dead? Will we ever stop getting environmental causes crammed into our faces?
The movie does what the others did as well, which is change the format of the human-side of the story to a different style again. It's no long so much horror as it is a feeling of adventure similar to Indiana Jones - a reference that is very heavily swung at us in numerous spots, not that it's a bad thing. The fact each of the movies tries to do something different with each of it's human elements is a nice change of pace from movie to movie, allowing something that otherwise could grow stale fast (giant monsters, evil science) to stay relatively fresh and interesting. They could have toned down the over-abundant "Save the planet!" message that pops up so heavy handedly a little though, I wouldn't have mind.
Musically, things take a step forward as well. The original theme still exists (much to my happiness), but we also now have a set of themes for Mothra (both of which are beautiful). The Japanese defense force theme comes back in a new variation as well, chuck full of hope and vigor about turning back the giant threat (even if they are about as effect as ever). The dubbing doesn't fare as well as the soundtrack unfortunately, but it's still far and away from the worst job I've ever seen. It's all understandable, which is good, but it doesn't alway convey a very good amount of emotion that one sees on the screen.
Effect wise, the monsters are still lovely. The Mothra fur seems to have an unfortunate tendency to light on fire (you'll see it two or three times, trust me), but the details are there on all the creatures and they move (especially in worm-mode) quite amusingly. If I had to make one complaint, it would be that Battra has some very silly-looking feet as a worm that you notice pretty easily during the big underwater skirmish between it and Godzilla. The juxtaposing of images comes of better in most parts than previous, although there are a few moments scattered around where something falls in front of something already juxtaposed on the top "layer" and it ends up looking very out of place. Explosions and toy vehicles, lasers and fire though? As top notch as ever!
All that being said, I'm admittedly not a fan of Mothra (the creature). The movie comes off enjoyable, but the heavy handed in-your-face treatment of "we are ruining the planet" can come off more than a little abrasive (it's not a matter of how right it is, it's a matter of pointing it out every five minutes that could be done without). The music is probably the best so far, as the Mothra themes are wonderfully beautiful and handle dealing emotions in their sound quite finely. If you've watched the others, and enjoyed them, by all means there is no real reason to not watch this one, just be well aware that the "save the planet" is probably going to get on your nerves by the time the credits roll.