Over the weekend I was dying of something flu-like, and the only cure for that is wine and monster movies. My boyfriend, fearful for my life, fired up Netflix and handed me the controller. And then, saint that he is, spent the rest of his evening watching Godzilla vs. The Thing, aka Godzilla vs. Mothra with his sneezy, snotty, wine-drunk girlfriend.
Fortunately, he was cracking up the entire time. This is such a fantastically bad movie, it’s great fun.
Godzilla vs The Thing is a kaiju classic. It’s goofy and doesn’t take itself very seriously, except of course when the monsters are fighting. There is some great Godzilla-smash to enjoy, from stepping on factories to people panicking in the streets. Mothra really dishes it out to Godzilla as she fights to protect her offspring. The plot is fun, following two newspaper reporters and a scientist as they try to expose the corruption of a local power hungry businessmen whose greed nearly dooms Japan to Godzilla’s wrath.
The suit took a serious beating in this film. In a scene exclusive to the US cut, the suit head is literally set on fire:
Then, the suit gets drug across some mountains, inevitably birthing a famous gif decades later:
Apparently (according to Wikipedia) when Godzilla smashes his way into Nagoya Castle, the suit’s lower jaw was damaged and had a bit of a wobble for the rest of the film. It didn’t get fixed because the SFX director Eiji Tsubaraya loved the look of the jaw wobble and decided to leave it alone.
The English dub translation is kind of weird. There’s a confusing switch back and forth between referring to Mothra as either Mothra or ‘The Thing,’ with zero consistency. Reed made it halfway through the film before he figured out that The Thing and Mothra were the same monster. It’s a weird production choice, and it gets weirder when looking at the marketing for the US release.
The film was originally called Mothra vs Godzilla, but they renamed it for the US release (but not the UK release), and the bizarre trailer hinted at some kind of mysterious monster it called ‘The Thing,’ which may or may not have had tentacles, or might have been created by humans to kill Godzilla. Mothra never actually appears in any US promotional material. They treated it like Mothra was some kind of new thing, rather than a monster that already had her own film with a well-received US release two years earlier. Very weird. Kind of fascinating.
Bad 60’s marketing or not, I personally have loved this movie since I was a kid, begging my parents to rent it on VHS on a regular basis. I really was pretty sick over the weekend, and this solid kaiju movie is good comfort.