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So I Finally Saw.. Rebirth of Mothra III (1998)

Written by Zechs on Tuesday, January 26 2010 and posted in Reviews
Toho Month is almost over with Zechs taking a look at Rebirth of Mothra III (1998) aka the Mothra movie with KING GHIDORAH.


I'm a lover of movies; in fact, I love all kinds of movies. Amongst them all, action movies especially are my passion. However, I also do enjoy sci-fi, drama, comedy, and horror. As for romance? Eh, if the babe is hot it might be deemed possibly watchable for me. Though even then, that so did not help me when I watched The English Patient (1996). Otherwise, I rather watch Batman & Robin (1997) for 24 hours straight than see a cheesy romance flick. Still, I cannot see every movie known to man when they come out, or only hear good stuff about them. Therefore, I'll put my behind down and review the flick. Enter this column, where I finally state was the movie truly worth the price of viewing or not.

So tonight on my plate we have Rebirth of Mothra III (1998) the final part of the Mothra Trilogy that took place when America had their movie that tried being a Godzilla movie. Of course instead, we got the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms of Jurassic Park. But I’m here to review the movie that came out that same year, not that abomination. So how did was I not able to see this until now? Well I did, just that it was the average English dub of it when it was on Comcast On-Demand.  This is about my viewing of it in its original Japanese language, which still hasn’t been officially released in the US.

Why you ask? Somehow Sony, the company that owns the movie totally forgot they haven’t released this yet on DVD yet did with the first two parts of the franchise. Well it was to be released in 2009 with the original Mothra (1961) and another classic Toho movie. Somehow, the movie was delayed further from release until MAYBE this 2010. Me? I have no patience at all and wanted to see the damn movie last year.  So why am I this way? Two words: KING GHIDORAH.

Yep, the final part of the Mothra trilogy is the giant moth vs. the three headed monster. Even more, Toho actually put some effort in this Ghidorah design than Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) (but more on that later). The actual plot has those small pair of Mothra’s priestesses: Moll and Lora, foiling yet another evil scheme of their elder sister, Belvera.  But before she goes she imparts a dire warning to the two that a great evil is approaching.

grandking2.jpgAfter that, a meteor shower hits Earth and any Toho Kaiju fan knows what that means: King Ghidorah has arrived (though called Grand King Ghidorah here) and the entire world is in a heck of a lot of trouble.  Enter Mothra, Earth’s only hope. Oops he just got owned hard by Ghidorah. So Mothra will have to time travel to when Dinosaurs ran around the Earth to fight a younger Ghidorah (yep King Ghidorah killed all the dinosaurs’ kids, not a virus, Ice Age, or an asteroid). Plus there’s conflict and a shocking twist and turns amongst the sisters as well. 

So that’s the plot in a nutshell, without mentioning the usual kid characters who root Mothra on and have the boring subplot of family issues.  Obviously this part of the movie bored me to no end. I know this is light Toho kids’ fair so there was a price to enjoy for my Ghidorah fandom. The plot is tedious and predictable. You know what the end to this will be and just get to the good stuff: mindless violence and destruction.

Still the fairy princesses actually do a lot more here then what they’ve done in previous Mothra movies. It’s a darn shame we never really get any more expansion out these three siblings. Probably the biggest regret I have in watching this series. It could have been so much more, yet Toho goes to the predictable easy route here with them.  Instead of more in-depth look at the relationship of the sisters which we get more here than the previous two films we get said stupid subplot with the kid and his family. However, being that this is one of the few of the trilogy that actually goes more in depth of said relationship that has to be something right? Right?  

grandking1.jpgBut back to the good and that is Grand King Ghidorah. Of all designs Ghidorah has gone through in the many years both past and future of Toho this was probably his best appearance. There’s so much life and detail to the costume of Ghidorah here compared to his first Heisei showing against Godzilla which looked more like the Showa design and no actual effort in a redesign. Here Ghidorah has a heavy revamp and yet retains everything that is so perfect about the character. The wings have actual depth and details, each of the three heads have expression plus the horns on his head are just so damn nicely curved and imposing, and of course Ghidorah retains his trademark roar (which was absence alas in his previous film with Godzilla). So those wishing to see the greatest design of King Ghidorah here’s the movie for you. Everything about Ghidorah here just rules.

About the only question I would have is why the hell does Ghidorah kidnap all the people in Japan? Why not do what he did during his first visit to Earth and eat them flat out as he did with the dinosaurs? Still, you can’t go wrong with the villain choice here. Ghidorah easily surpasses the previous kaiju rogues of the previous two films (he even actually destroys an entire city while the other two barely did much chaos). Here Ghidorah is as he’s proclaimed, a true King of Terror.  So it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that the saving grace of this film for me was Ghidorah. Every scene involving him just oozed fun and was utterly entertaining.

As for Mothra herself, the creature design for her is also very good far superior than the later two Millennium movies (Tokyo S.O.S. and Godzilla: Final Wars) and her previous Heisei showings (Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth and Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla).  There’s an actual insect like design to her found here that isn’t in those films which to me make Mothra just look like a big puppet. Also the final design she uses in her climax of her fight with Grand King Ghidorah, Armor Mothra, I have to admit was VERY pretty to look at. Toho really outdid themselves in designing Armor Mothra with the sleek beauty and very large wingspan.

However, I have to confess that unless you’re a Ghidorah or Mothra fan, please do stay away from this film. Its filled with annoying side characters (aka the child and actual humans in this) and the time it gets to the good stuff is horribly taxing. I found myself fast forwarding to any scene involving the three sisters or King Ghidorah/Mothra fighting it out. About the only reason I say for those not into these characters into getting this would be if you have a kid and want to get them into Kaiju films then by all means this probably be a nice starter to such things. Any adult watching this film would roll their eyes at the performances and hoping at any minute Ghidorah would just come down and slaughter these people.

That said I know my grade is a lot higher than I’m giving it, but the inner King Ghidorah fan in me can’t help but truly appreciate the level of fun and depth Toho for once gave the big bad of Toho Kaiju films.  You can tell the designers here had a lot more with this version of the space monster than previous Godzilla Heisei film did.  So I’m being EXTREMELY kind in giving this film a full two points for King Ghidorah alone. I just hope that whenever the Godzilla franchise returns that they truly give Ghidorah the respect he got here than in previous Toho films, even if it’s just him versus the puny moth.

Later this week or next, I'm going to close out Toho month with a list on my Top 15 all time favorite Toho Kaiju films. Prepare to expect a ton of Godzilla and a few surprises. 

3 out of 5



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About the Author - Zechs

Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Moment of the Week, and Durnkin Reveewz. He's also the official whuppin boy at the Outhouse. So he'll get stuck seeing stuff that no mere mortal should ever see. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. He's also brutally honest. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.


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