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Copyright 1996 Toho Pictures Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 20 September 2002

The Characters:  

  • Momma Mothra - Not only is it the largest Saturniidae known, but unconfirmed reports suggest the kaiju forms strong family bonds. We do know that, in its adult form, this insect cannot swim.
  • Baby Mothra - A regular chip off the old cocoon.
  • Mona and Lora - The giant moth is always accompanied by a pair of singing fairies. For some reason they wear their high school tassels as earrings. Did I mention that their job is singing for Mothra?
  • Taiki - The useless (and mildly annoying) boy hero. His main contribution to the film is watering a plant. Wait, not true, the fairies keep giving him the sacred seal. He loses it each time, but they continue trusting him to guard the artifact.
  • Wakaba - What could be more useless than Taiki? His kid sister, of course.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Goto - The parents. The thing that this family needs is extensive counseling, because they have issues.
  • Belvera - The black sheep of the fairy family who rides a miniature dragon.
  • Desghidorah - A space monster that was imprisoned in a mountain by Mona and Lora's ancestors. It ate the dinosaurs, but never learned to swim.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

The only warning about "Rebirth of Mothra" is that it is a kiddie movie. The title monster is a huge moth and the attending fairies wear bright colors. They also sing a lot; many thanks to Walt Disney and Roy Rogers for that addition. The main human characters are a pair of children, but we are spared the aggravating kid heroes evident in films like "Godzilla's Revenge" and Gamera vs. Gaos. Do not get me wrong, they are brats. However, they are not all-knowing, mysteriously beloved by the title monster, and neither child wears tight shorts. Thank goodness.

Mr. Goto works for a logging company. While bulldozing a section of land denuded by operations, the loggers uncover a strange stone foundation. Set in the center is a metallic seal, which Mr. Goto happily pries free. He takes it home and turns the artifact into a pendant for Wakaba. The intent is to mollify his wife, who hates the fact that Mr. Goto's job keeps him away for long periods. She also nags him about drinking a beer. The movie drives home the fact that the Gotos marriage could dissolve before their silver anniversary.

You might think that the main problem here is irresponsible individuals vandalizing priceless archeological finds. Nope, the real problem is that the seal was preventing Desghidorah from breaking free of its prison. In time lost to memory, the magical people that once inhabited Earth sealed the space monster away. Unfortunately, all it takes is one unhappy husband with a screwdriver to set loose Armageddon. Well, that and a couple of cases of dynamite (explanation en route).

Belvera notices when the seal is removed. The evil fairy possesses Wakaba and makes the little girl do all sorts of impressions, most of them from the movies "Firestarter" and "Carrie." Taiki has a rough time of it. The situation degenerates into total chaos when Mona and Lora arrive. Riding a tiny part of Mothra's life essence ("Fairy Mothra"), the benevolent pixies engage in an aerial battle with Belvera. Flashing rays and explosions demolish the Goto's living room as the tiny opponents zip through the air. The dogfight goes badly for Fairy Mothra, leaving the twins stranded as Belvera wings away. The hateful fairy is intent on freeing Desghidorah.

The Gotos (Mom, Taiki, and Wakaba) take the first flight available and pass the fairies off as finely made dolls. They arrive just in time to see Mr. Goto, under Belvera's control, ram a bulldozer into the mountain tomb of Desghidorah. Several cases of dynamite were strapped to the blade. Belvera's mount hits the explosives with a blast and the dynamite explodes, freeing Desghidorah. The terrible monster is extremely grumpy after all those millennium. It is cramped, hungry, and feeling a little inadequate in the vertical lift department (its wings atrophied during the ages of dark imprisonment).

The situation is grim. Momma Mothra can challenge the evil monster, but she is close to her natural end. Mona and Lora summon the defender of Earth and watch as Desghidorah unloads some serious whompage. The unborn child of Mothra hears its mother's distress. Back at the fairies' island, the egg hatches prematurely and a glistening larva rushes to help mom. The icky factor involved (a baby forcibly birthing itself to defend its mother sounds disgusting) does not trouble Desghidorah; the evil monster commences to stomping on both bugs. The battle becomes a game of tag, the good monsters attacking, then quickly running away.

After numerous poundings and heinous injury, Momma Mothra picks up the larva and carries it to safety in the open ocean. There, drained of her strength, the huge moth sinks beneath the waves. Moths and caterpillars lack lips, so mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is out of the question. All that Baby Mothra can do is watch mommy drown. I guess that she will be seeing the same psychiatrist as the Gotos.

Baby Mothra swims to a secluded island, finds a tree the size of the Sears building, and reveals its true nature: a tent caterpillar! The guardian of Earth and all living things is a huge version of a pest insect! Oh well... ...the fairies visit the hallowed mass of silk and sing to the cocoon. I guess that music helps both digestion and metamorphosis.

By the way, when the larva is swimming it makes a huge wake. So, logging is bad, but accelerated beach erosion is okay? Japan is an island; these people had better get their priorities straight or else evolve gills.

The new Mothra hatches and immediately flies to stop Desghidorah's rampage. Between all the glitter, flashing auras, and rainbow swarms of Fairy Mothras, I would not have been surprised if Olivia Newton John appeared. The evil monster is no match for the new and improved Mothra. A rock prison encloses Desghidorah, leaving the kids to contemplate their father's wheelchair. Several miles of rough terrain between you and the clinic. Who wants to push daddy?

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Sometimes being a squirrel sucks.
  • Gremlins are actually fairies having a domestic dispute.
  • Clapping does not work on wounded moths.
  • Dynamite is useless without a bulldozer.
  • The Earth was once covered with enormous moths.
  • Neckties make handy splints.
  • Caterpillars are filled with boiling egg yolk.
  • Miracle Grow is just normal soil mixed with pixie dust.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 16 mins - Mom, are you and dad playing a game again?
  • 32 mins - I have seen worse; chunks of rotting whale blubber could be raining out of the sky.
  • 37 mins - Keep the seal. Do not give it to the kids, they will just lose it again.
  • 53 mins - Smokey says: "Only you can prevent Desghidorah."
  • 68 mins - Oops.
  • 78 mins - I sure hope that Kong was expecting you.
  • 92 mins - The little dragon was a robot? She must know Dr. Phibes.
  • 95 mins - She wants to wipe out all life on Earth! That is a little different than arguing over a toy.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note rebirthmothra1.wav Lora: "Desghidorah?"
Wakaba: "What is that?"
Mona: "It's a mythical creature from our ancient legends. A terrible space monster that came to Earth sixty-five million years ago."
Green Music Note rebirthmothra2.wav Wakaba: "Hey, does Desghidorah eat people too?"
Mona: "No, there's more energy in the Earth and plants. It's not interested in the smaller things."
Taiki: "Wow, that makes me feel a whole lot better!"
Green Music Note rebirthmothra3.wav Wakaba: "Well, why not use it? Go ahead. It might make Mothra recover her strength. Who knows?"
Green Music Note rebirthmothra4.wav Desghidorah roaring.
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliprebirthmothra1.mpg - 2.4m
Mommy Mothra and her baby valiantly try to stop Desghidorah, but the terrible monster is too much for them. They quickly adopt the kids' suggested strategy.

If the enemy was a white rabbit...

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