I’ve tried to write this review three times now. Why? Why is this movie so hard to write about? Probably because it’s not very good as a whole. It’s not, it’s really, really not. If someone said “Hey applewood, I’ve never seen a Kaiju film before, do you think I should start with the Rebirth of Mothra Trilogy?” all I could probably muster to say is “Please don’t.” But if someone said “Hey, applewood, what makes the first Rebirth of Mothra stand out for you,” my immediate response would be “Have you ever wondered what a real life fight between a level five Caterpie and a level seventy Charizard might look like?” This movie has that answer. Seriously.
The second battle in this movie features an aged and weakened OG Mothra going up against an ancient and horrible Desighidorah (who looks friggin killer!). Originally, she’s holding her own just fine, taking advantage of her air superiority against a land based opponent, using range attacks and strafing techniques. All is going well until she makes a tactical error, namely, trying a melee attack against a three headed dragon and it goes about as well as you’d expect a melee attack from a giant moth against a three headed dragon would go. Poorly.
Sensing that mom is in trouble, baby Mothra decides to take it upon itself and hatch early to join the fray. This is not surprising at all. In various Godzilla films before, we get to see baby Mothra go up against monsters way outside its weight class and often hold its own, more or less. I’ve always seen this as unrealistic, whether we’re talking Godzilla or King Ghidorah or even a hypothetical battle with a third tier (yet still awesome!) monster like Anguirius, baby Mothra would take a brutal beating. Yet we never see that. Until this film. In short. It goes something like this . . .
Baby Mothra used Stringshot. It’s not very effective. Desighidorah used Bite. It’s super effective. Way too effective. Oh mercy! Baby Mothra is getting messed up! ARE THOSE CATERPILLAR GUTS COMING OUT? WHAT IS GOING ON? THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A CHILDREN’S FILM! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SWEET SOMEONE PLEASE HELP THAT POOR LITTLE CATERPILLAR!
Yeah. I’m not exaggerating. The little guy gets curb stomped. Hard. If that’s not enough, a couple of scenes later you get to watch a slow, agonizing death scene as a weakened and badly injured OG Mothra slowly drowns to death and all anyone can do is watch, powerless to help. This movie is the Old Yeller of the Kaiju world.
Man, that was a sweet battle though and honestly, the film makers did an amazing job. It takes place out in the wilderness, so there’s no buildings being destroyed and the military is nowhere to be seen, so you don’t have those tropes. However, despite being your typical Heisei era beam battle, the production crew went all out with the pyrotechnics. We’re talking real fire, real explosions, real earthquakes (okay, not real real earthquakes), real spectacle, it’s amazing. If someone told me that 50% if the budget on this film was on explosives alone, I’d be half willing to believe them. We’re not talking a short battle either, we’re talking a good fifteen minutes of mayhem. It’s quite the treat.
Are you guys worried about what happens to baby Mothra? Don’t be. It finds an ancient tree, forms a cocoon, and comes out with God Mode enabled. It then proceeds to find Desighidorah and lay down a beating so hard and decisive, that if there was ref the fight would have been stopped in the first round. Unfortunately for Desighidorah, there was no ref and no bell.
This movie gets a two out of five from me. The second and third battle are what save it.