For Reel

Mothra (1961)
June 23, 2015, 3:24 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Ishirō Honda
3 Stars
MothraThe reputation of Mothra has grown considerably since she was first introduced to American audiences as part of a double bill with a Three Stooges comedy. Unlike her monster predecessors from Toho Films (including Godzilla and Rodan), she’s not a mindless lizard set on wrecking havoc on an unsuspecting populous. Instead, she’s identified as a protector God, whose path of destruction is incited by her heroic duty to save a pair of fairies (Ito Emi & Ito Umi) who have been taken captive by the humans. Of all of the Toho Creations, she may be the most essentially Japanese–she’s a manifestation of nature’s resistance, with her creation not being a response to the atomic age but rather as a broader defense against the disruption of a natural harmony. Her first feature takes awhile to get going and, once it does, fails to leave a terrific impression as an action spectacle, but it can be appreciated for its inventive visuals. A climactic sequence in which bell towers chime together in order to attract the beast’s attention is rendered as a hallucinatory montage, and even the simple beauty of her lovingly detailed flapping wings is a radical contrast to the destruction that results from them.

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