movie, movie review, Uncategorized

May 30th, 2016 Movie – Rebirth Of Mothra II (a.k.a. Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle)

rebirth of mothra II

It’s funny how certain memories about things will always stick with you. With this movie, the one thing that constantly comes to mind and makes me laugh is something my baby brother Blake said when he first watched this movie. Now way back in the day, I would constantly be watching my two youngest brothers, which was fine as it allowed me to induct them into some of the finer things in life, such as punk and ska music as well as Godzilla movies. Anytime I got a new movie, I would generally watch it with them. So when I first got today’s movie, the three of us wound up watching it and Blake, being the young Blake that he was, busted out laughing and said “The furball peed on that kid” when Gorgo healed Yoji’s wound. Anyways, that’s the memory that always comes to mind whenever I watch today’s movie, Rebirth Of Mothra II (a.k.a. Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle).

The plot: The Elias, Moll and Lora, are watching Mothra Leo fly over the ocean around their island when the wind suddenly picks up and they sense something coming. Deep underneath the ocean, a monster is seen roaring out as two fisherman, who are commenting about the pollution in the ocean, see some strange starfish-shaped creatures called Barem and when one of the fishermen tries to get one of them off the boat, it attacks him with an acidic substance. In a elementary classroom, two boys, Kyohei and Yoji, are trying to use a caterpillar to scare a girl in their class, Shiori Uranai, but it backfires and the caterpillar ends up getting thrown down the teacher’s shirt. As the two kids are about to be punished, a sudden quake starts shaking the school. Meanwhile, , two more fisherman encounter a strange furry creature that leaps out of the water and onto their boat. When one of them knocks it away from him and back into the water, they find a gold bracelet on the boat and wonder if it came off the creature. Shiori returns home after school and her mother, who runs a beachside hotel, has her go an pick flowers for the hotel. While she is picking flowers, she accidentally grabs the strange creature and runs off screaming. As she is hiding behind a tree, she discovers the creature hiding on the other side and, after seeing the gold bracelets on it’s tail and believing it might belong to someone, she places it in her basket. Meanwhile, Kyohei and Yoji are playing in the ocean when their inflatable raft when a Barem punctures the raft. Swimming back to shore, the two bullies see Shiori and chase after her but when they see the creature in her basket, they ask what it is. Suddenly, a voice tells them it is a Gorgo, and the kids look up to see Belvera riding on her rebuilt miniature dragon. Belvera demands gorgo but Shiori hides it before handing the basket to Belvera, then quickly runs away and when Belvera chases after her, with Kyohei and Yoji following. Riding on Fairy, the Elias try to stop Belvera but Belvera is able to knock them away. As Belvera has her dragon fire on Shiori, Shiori throws Gorgo to Kyohei and Yoji and the kids manage to make it to the beach, where Belvera chooses not to follow due to all of the people. As the kids catch their breath, Shiori notices that Yoji’s knee is bleeding and Gorgo urinates on it and the wound instantly heals. As the kids are walking along the beach, they are approached by the Elias, who tell them about Gorgo and Ninai Kanai as well as Dagahra, a monster that was created by the civilization of Ninai Kanai to feed on pollution and is able to create Barem. Meanwhile, the two fishermen are still searching for Gorgo when they run across Belvera, who uses her power to get them to help her capture Gorgo. Shiori, Kyohei, and Yoji head to their school with Gorgo, the Elias, and Fairy. While the kids look up information about Ninai Kanai, Moll and Lora talk about how they must stop Belvera. The children agree to help Gorgo and use their teachers prize canoe to head out towards the civilization once was. Stopping when the see some underwater ruins, Gorgo leaps into the water and swims down into the temple, causing a portal to open and transport the kids into the temple as well. Unknown to them, Belvera and the two fishermen had been folowing them and they see the temple as well. When the children recover from their arrival in the temple, Kyohei sees some Barem approaching them but suddenly, the temple starts to quake as it suddenly surfaces. When the Barem move to attack, the Elias and Fairy appear and manage to blast them away, then warn the kids to be careful as they explore the pyramid they are in. Meanwhile, Belvera sees Dagahra approaching, with a trail of Barem following after him, and has the fishermen hurry inside the temple. When Dagahra starts attacking the pyramid, the temples automated defenses start attacking it and the Elias tell the children that they are going to summon Mothra to defend the pyramid while they go and find the treasure of Ninai Kanai. Chased away from the pyramid, Dagahra begins attacking a nearby island, with Belvera cheering it on in it’s attack on mankind. Back in the Pyramid, Kyohei and Yoji scout ahead but when they hear Shiori scream, they find the two fishermen have grabbed her and taken her to an elevator and they chase after them but are unable to find them in the maze of passageways. Meanwhile, Mothra Leo arrives and Dagahra begins attacking it, then takes to the sky to continue the attack as well as renew it’s attack on the pyramid. Mothra Leo is able to battle it away from the pyramid but the two monsters appear evenly matched. Meanwhile, Shiori and Gorgo manage to get away from the fishermen and end up traveling through the labyrinth of passageways, eventually meeting up with Kyohei and Yoji and they three kids follow Gorgo deeper into the pyramid. Outside, Belvera taunts Mothra Leo as Dagahra, who had dived back into the ocean, begins rapidly spinning and causes a massive waterspout to form around Mothra Leo, covering it in Barem which begin sapping it’s strength. The Elias try blasting the Barem off Mothra Leo but Dagahra quickly takes advantage of the situation and slams into Mothra Leo , knocking her into one of the pyramid’s outer towers and causing her to sink into the ocean. Inside the pyramid, the children come to a giant mural, which seems to depict the history of Ninai Kanai. As the battle continues underwater, the pyramids defenses begin attacking Dagahra again, burying it under some rocks which gives Mothra Leo enough time to get away but as it surfaces and starts to fly away, but ends up crashing onto the roof of the building. Meanwhile, the pyramid starts to close the entrances and the children find themselves facing the two fishermen. The Elias try blasting all the Barem off of Mothra Leo but at it’s urging, the head inside to save the children. Suddenly, a passageway opens up and everyone, including Belvera, head inside to find a massive chamber. Seeing so massive jewels in the foreheads of some statues, one of the fishermen and Belvera grab two of them but don’t notice that the chamber suddenly seals the doors. When a projection of a princess appears asking why they seek the treasure of Ninai Kanai, The Elias say it is to save the Earth from Dagahra but Belvera wants to save the world from humans, arguing that they are destroying the Earth. The princess speaks to the children and tells them about how Ninai Kanai built a secret treasure to defeat Dagahra and gave it a heart but the civilization sank before the treasure was used. Realizing the treasure is Gorgo, Belvera tries to grab it but is knocked away by the energy coming from the princess. The princess tells the children to take Gorgo to Mothra Leo, then helps them as they escape, with the kids helping to save the two fishermen, who in turn end up saving the kids as they all escape. Outside, Dagahra continues attacking Mothra Leo and the pyramid but Mothra Leo adds it’s energy to the pyramids defenses to keep driving Dagahra back. When the kids and fishermen finally reach the outside, Gorgo starts glowing and Shiori hugs it one last time before it jumps into the air above Mothra Leo and explodes, causing a rainbow mist to fall over Mothra. The mist dissolves all the Barem on Mothra Leo and reenergizing it, transforming it into Rainbow Mothra. Rainbow Mothra begins attacking Dagahra again, then flies quickly over the ocean, causing it to split apart in it’s wake and leave a dry path to the mainland for the kids and fishermen to head to safety. Rainbow Mothra then transforms into an aquatic mode, allowing it to continue fighting Dagahra underwater. As the battle between Aqua Mothra and Daghra continues, Aqua Mothra suddenly splits into dozens of smaller versions, which fly into Dagahra’s mouth and begin destroying all the Barem inside Dagahra. Without the Barem, Dagahra loses it’s power and Aqua Mothra uses it’s power to launch Dagahra into the air, and then, after transforming back into Rainbow Mothra, it tosses Dagahra into the Pyramid, where they both are destroyed in a massive explosion. The children and fishermen make it safely back to shore and The Elias tell Shiori not to be sad as Mothra flies off. The children hear the princess’ voice, calling them the future of the planet as Shiori reveals a pearl in her hand that transforms into an image of the Earth, which she says was a gift from Gorgo.

I was kind of sad to hear that this was Tomoyuki Tanaka’s last movie, as he died a few months before this movie was released. Tomoyuki worked on almost, if not every, kaiju film that Toho made, from the original Godzilla all the way to this movie, as well as dozens of other films including 47 Samurai and Yojimbo. While he did not produce the two Heisei Mothra movies, he was the writer/creator for them so in short, Toho’s kaiju movies owe a lot of thanks to his work.

This was a little better than the previous movie but I think they spent a little too much time borrowing from other movies instead of doing a better job being original. The acting was pretty decent but it is always hard to tell with dubbed movies. The story was interesting, feeling somewhat similar to Godzilla Vs Hedorah in the whole speaking out against pollution aspect, though it wasn’t as blatant in this movie. However, I think it was a little weird for the Mothra movies to borrow the Showa era Gamera idea of constantly having kids involved as central to the plot, considering the Heisei Gamera movies had steered away from that and were doing incredibly well. The special effects were very good with the monsters but there were times with the rear screen editing that it looked really out of place or in some cases stupid. A little better than the first one, but there is still room for improvement.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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