Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by JAGzilla »

Just got done with a rewatch after at least six years. This one... it's a mixed bag, for sure. The human cast, while functional, really could've done with more development. The story was paper thin, and Belvera was badly underutilized in the second half. The ending was clunky even by genre standards.

For all that, though, it really is an enjoyable kids' film. It's very bright and colorful on Blu-ray, with a lot of energetic, ambitious effects sequences. The crazy dogfight inside of the house was a very unique action scene for the genre, even if some of it wasn't especially good-looking.

The first battle against Death Ghidorah was, I would argue, one of the best kaiju battles in the entire genre. I'm no fan of beam-spamming, but this movie actually pulls it off quite well, keeping the monsters moving and dynamic to stave off the lethargic 'living gun turrets' feel I dislike about some Heisei Godzilla battles. The moments of brutal melee combat helped a lot, too. Of possibly greater importance, both Mothras were full of personality; they really felt like living characters, not just effects, and you could really root for them and care what happened to them. The heartstring-tugging underdog thing was a big part of that, but still.

The quality of the music deserves reiteration. Leo's heroic theme is one of my overall favorites, and the adult's action theme, while less memorable, accompanied her well. All three Elias songs were enjoyable, too, of course.

There's a lot to like about this film's overall presentation of Mothra and her mythos. It doesn't feel like another run-of-the-mill kaiju adventure, just as Mothra stands out rather starkly from the kaiju crowd. I hope any future Mothra movies take some cues from ROM's high points.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by Gigantis »

Right off the bat i will say that this film is not great. While they have tons of good things going for it, they always fall flat.

The children are rather annoying, and their parents barely even do anything. Belcera is a nice adversion to the fairies but she never gets any character development till ROM3. The fairies themselves are also pretty pointless beypnd singing the Mothra song.

But i will give it credit, the special effects are good! Desghidorah looks astounding and is one of my favorite monsters from the era. Leo looks pretty enough, and they kept the 92 Mothra puppet in good shape. Unfortunately, their battle is kinda dragged down by the beam spamming. Still if you wanna just kick back abd relax and enjoy some dumb monster fun, i'd say watch this one, it delivers!
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by Destorogoji »

It's a decent kid's movie. Some elements are really goofy, but not as annoying as other Toho kaiju eiga for children.
The sfx work is amazing, the puppet work is wonderful and the heavy use of scenography based around natural areas fits with the messages of the movie. The music is another remarkable aspect.

I wouldn't say I love this movie or that I'd watch it before other films, but it's a harmless, wholesome and entertaining movie that I wouldn't mind showing to my kids (when I have children, that is).
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by Terasawa »

The SFX scenes do nothing for me in this movie. :/ The battles are the "monsters spam lasers at each other" variety and -barring the dam sequence- take place in dense but unconvincing model forests. The Fairy and GaruGaru battle would be a highlight if it didn't overstay its welcome: as I think Norman England said in his G-Fan review, it becomes absurd when almost everything of value in the house has to be destroyed in the sequence. That sequence actually reminds me of a similar one executed much better by Tsuburaya and his team in The Lost World of Sinbad.

I think this is my least favorite of the trilogy.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by HedorahIsBestGirl »

Terasawa wrote:The SFX scenes do nothing for me in this movie. :/ The battles are the "monsters spam lasers at each other" variety and -barring the dam sequence- take place in dense but unconvincing model forests. The Fairy and GaruGaru battle would be a highlight if it didn't overstay its welcome: as I think Norman England said in his G-Fan review, it becomes absurd when almost everything of value in the house has to be destroyed in the sequence. That sequence actually reminds me of a similar one executed much better by Tsuburaya and his team in The Lost World of Sinbad.

I think this is my least favorite of the trilogy.
I agree on all your points, but I'd like to ask why you think the film is worse than Rebirth of Mothra 2, which I think is by far the worst of the three. Nilai Kanai is such a bland setting that just screams "movie set". I'll take an unconvincing model forest over that, personally. I also found the CGI effects in that film to be particularly awful and I thought all of the acting was really, really bad.

On a side note, I've never seen The Lost World of Sinbad. How good is it? Is it similar to the Harryhausen Sinbad films?
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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HedorahIsBestGirl wrote:I agree on all your points, but I'd like to ask why you think the film is worse than Rebirth of Mothra 2, which I think is by far the worst of the three. Nilai Kanai is such a bland setting that just screams "movie set". I'll take an unconvincing model forest over that, personally. I also found the CGI effects in that film to be particularly awful and I thought all of the acting was really, really bad.
I think they're pretty comparable overall. ROM2's child characters aren't as grating or annoying as their counterparts in the '96 movie, and they have a larger role in the plot. The Nilai Kanai sets are pretty pathetic, and the "action" (such as it is) inside is pretty stereotypical of lost civilization films, but -I don't know- I think the sense of adventure in ROM2 is more palatable than whatever the hell nothingness goes on in ROM1.
On a side note, I've never seen The Lost World of Sinbad. How good is it? Is it similar to the Harryhausen Sinbad films?
It's actually nothing at all like those movies, although I think AIP hoped unsuspecting American audiences would hope it was, lol. In Japan it was "The Great Thief" and Toho's export title is "Samurai Pirate." Both of those titles are much more fitting and should give you a better idea of what it's like. Toshiro Mifune is a swashbuckling anti-hero of sorts who gets falsely convicted of theft, so he decides to pursue adventure on the high seas. His treasure is stolen by the Black Pirate (Makoto Sato) and he winds up in a strange country where a princess (Mie Hama) entices him to investigate mysterious goings-on in the kingdom involving her absent father (Takashi Shimura in a thankless cameo), a treacherous chancellor (Tadao Nakamura), and a witch (Hideyo Amamoto). It was imported to the U.S. by AIP where it was retitled "The Lost World of Sinbad" and the Japanese elements downplayed in the advertising. All the characters' names are the same except Mifune's, who becomes "Sinbad." Otherwise it's a faithful adaptation.

The SFX takes a back seat to the traditional palace intrigue but there are some great sequences from Tsuburaya's staff. As I mentioned, there's a scene that probably inspired Kawakita's Fairy Mothra and GaruGaru chase, here involving the witch and a perverted wizard (Ichiro "Mr. Tako" Arishima) chasing each other around a prison cell as flies. It's ambitious and quite successful for a 1963 FX sequence.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by HedorahIsBestGirl »

^ Wow, thanks for the in-depth description. I'm a fan of both Ichiro Arishima and Toshiro Mifune so I'll probably check this movie out whenever I get the chance.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by SuperPawnageGigan »

This is my favorite Mothra Leo design of the 3. I love the green wings so much. He looks so cute but he a powerful moth. I just love in some scenes he just bops his head up and down.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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While it may not be the greatest thing ever put to film, it's really cool that this trilogy was made. Since 1989, the Godzilla series has been very squarely centered around Godzilla himself, and Toho doesn't make films about other kaiju anymore, so they really are kind of a major landmark. I was just discovering that the kaiju genre existed when the ROMs came out, and wasn't really aware of them until years later. For anybody who was active in the fandom back then, was there much excitement around them as they were released?
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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JAGzilla wrote:For anybody who was active in the fandom back then, was there much excitement around them as they were released?
I think there was some buzz ahead of the first film, but once it was revealed it would be for little kids (and certainly after it got negative or mixed reviews in G-Fan) the focus shifted back to the production of TriStar's Godzilla. I'll have to check the relevant issues later but my recollection is that the second and third films' coverage was limited to a blurb when production was announced, maybe a few pictures of the monsters once they were revealed in production, and a few negative reviews after they were released. It wasn't like the coverage devoted to the '90s Godzillas (including GINO and G2K) or the Gamera trilogy (especially G2 and G3).
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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Terasawa wrote:
JAGzilla wrote:For anybody who was active in the fandom back then, was there much excitement around them as they were released?
I think there was some buzz ahead of the first film, but once it was revealed it would be for little kids (and certainly after it got negative or mixed reviews in G-Fan) the focus shifted back to the production of TriStar's Godzilla. I'll have to check the relevant issues later but my recollection is that the second and third films' coverage was limited to a blurb when production was announced, maybe a few pictures of the monsters once they were revealed in production, and a few negative reviews after they were released. It wasn't like the coverage devoted to the '90s Godzillas (including GINO and G2K) or the Gamera trilogy (especially G2 and G3).
That's pretty consistent with my memory.

Toho's focus on Godzilla releases over other kaiju may be frustrating to fans sometimes, but ultimately, it's an understandable financial decision, because the truth is that just about everybody - general audiences as well as fans - is more excited by Godzilla than any other kaiju. He is the icon of the genre.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by JAGzilla »

Hm. Kind of sad, but not surprising given that they were kids' movies and not exactly fine art.

And yes, it's definitely understandable that Toho prioritizes the biggest and most marketable name.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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IIRC, datewise Godzilla (1998) was released in American theaters and Godzilla: The Series premiered on American TV before Rebirth of Mothra III was released in Japanese theaters, is that correct?
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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mikelcho wrote:IIRC, datewise Godzilla (1998) was released in American theaters and Godzilla: The Series premiered on American TV before Rebirth of Mothra III was released in Japanese theaters, is that correct?
Correct, like the Toho Godzillas before and after them, the Mothra films were December releases. GINO was Memorial Day weekend (May) and the cartoon was some time in the late summer or early fall.

But obviously coverage of each movie is not limited to when they're released. If we stick to G-Fan for this example, they pretty extensively covered the Tri-Star Godzilla through 1997 (thus taking away coverage of ROM 2) and for a while past its theatrical release in 1998, as there was still quite a lot to discuss. Production began on Gamera 3 in the fall of 1998, and that was a focus instead of ROM 3 as well. Also, at the end of 1998 was when Toho announced it would resume producing Godzilla movies, and that too took away from any kind of interest in the Mothra trilogy.

It's not like it was an anti-Mothra bias either, as the coverage of GXM was minimal compared to the concurrent American release of G2K.

I also think the reaction to the first ROM muted any kind of enthusiasm for the sequels. No one really thought much of the first film, so obviously the sequels weren't going to draw as much attention as the controversial Hollywood Godzilla films or the conclusion to the beloved Gamera trilogy, all of which happened around the same time. And keep in mind that at that time it was much easier to report on goings-on in North America vs. Japan.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

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Terasawa wrote:
mikelcho wrote:IIRC, datewise Godzilla (1998) was released in American theaters and Godzilla: The Series premiered on American TV before Rebirth of Mothra III was released in Japanese theaters, is that correct?
Correct, like the Toho Godzillas before and after them, the Mothra films were December releases. GINO was Memorial Day weekend (May) and the cartoon was some time in the late summer or early fall.

But obviously coverage of each movie is not limited to when they're released. If we stick to G-Fan for this example, they pretty extensively covered the Tri-Star Godzilla through 1997 (thus taking away coverage of ROM 2) and for a while past its theatrical release in 1998, as there was still quite a lot to discuss. Production began on Gamera 3 in the fall of 1998, and that was a focus instead of ROM 3 as well. Also, at the end of 1998 was when Toho announced it would resume producing Godzilla movies, and that too took away from any kind of interest in the Mothra trilogy.

It's not like it was an anti-Mothra bias either, as the coverage of GXM was minimal compared to the concurrent American release of G2K.

I also think the reaction to the first ROM muted any kind of enthusiasm for the sequels. No one really thought much of the first film, so obviously the sequels weren't going to draw as much attention as the controversial Hollywood Godzilla films or the conclusion to the beloved Gamera trilogy, all of which happened around the same time. And keep in mind that at that time it was much easier to report on goings-on in North America vs. Japan.
Thanks, I figured I was right on the releases. The rest of this information is interesting as well.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by Kaiju-King42 »

Tonight's Dungeons and Dragon's session saw me using background music from this movie. :lol: The players were meeting a gloura (a moth fairy) in an underground, moth-themed temple.

Say what you will about Rebirth of Mothra; the movie isn't that great, but the soundtrack is wonderful stuff.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by LSD Jellyfish »

Kaiju-King42 wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:31 pm Tonight's Dungeons and Dragon's session saw me using background music from this movie. :lol: The players were meeting a gloura (a moth fairy) in an underground, moth-themed temple.

Say what you will about Rebirth of Mothra; the movie isn't that great, but the soundtrack is wonderful stuff.
Yes, there's so many triumphant and graceful tunes that I definitely have nostalgia for.


I think the music from the Mothra series offers a nice contrast to the Godzilla series more horrific and militaristic compositions.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by Agent Smith »

Haven't seen these movies yet due to lack of interest and being targeted for kids, but I will say the enemy kaiju are scary. Very scary. Hard to believe this is for children with unironically scary villain kaiju. Then again we had the gruesome moments in Showa Godzilla and Gamera movies. I guess that's just how Japan does their children's entertainment. Anyway the Ghidorahs and Dagahara are memorable even with massive surplus of Ghidorahs running around.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by edgaguirus »

And Grand KG is a well designed kaiju. It's the most evil looking of all the incarnations we've seen.
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Re: Talkback: Rebirth of Mothra (1996)

Post by LegendZilla »

Does anyone know if this trilogy is officially part of the same continuity as the Heisei Godzilla films, or their own?
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