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Film / Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth

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"There isn't a job that's too tough for me... except for this one time, when I was married to a real stubborn woman."
Takuya Fujito

Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth, referred to in Japan as Godzilla vs. Mothra is the 1992 sequel to Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, the nineteenth Godzilla film and the fourth in the Heisei series. It is directed by Takao Okawara and written by Kazuki Omori.

After the success of the previous film, Toho decided to bring back another familiar monster. While there are similarities to Mothra vs. Godzilla, such as greedy businessmen and kidnapped fairies, the film is its own animal. The film sold well and became the most popular entry in the Heisei series.

A meteor hits the ocean, causing many natural disasters. Repenting tomb raider Takuya Fujito (Tetsuya Bessho), his ex-wife Masako Tezuka (Satomi Kobayashi), and Marutomo secretary Kenji Ando (Takehiro Murata) are sent to investigate the effects on Infant Island. There, they find a giant egg and the Cosmos (Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa), a pair of tiny twin girls whose role is to watch over the balance of nature and who are the Last of Their Kind.

They tell of an ancient civilization who worshiped Mothra and were scientifically advanced. When they created a weather machine, the Earth was angered so much that it created a dark version of their god called Battra. Battra proved to be so bloodthirsty that Mothra was forced into a battle with him. After the fierce clash, Mothra managed to sink Battra in the Arctic ice. Mothra is once again having to become active because of the environmental problems plagueing the Earth.

The Cosmos agree to go to Japan with the giant egg, but Godzilla intercepts them. Mothra hatches and gets saved from Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) when a revived Battra clashes with the King of the Monsters. They are sucked into the earth by a underwater eruption and Mothra leaves.

The Cosmos are kidnapped by the company secretary, whose CEO plans to exploit them for all they are worth. But Mothra won't stand for this and is heading for Tokyo. Can our heroes rescue the Cosmos before Mothra does too much damage? And how would they deal with Godzilla and Battra, who have survived being swallowed by lava and are converging on the area?

The film also features Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa, Shiori Yonezawa as Midori Tezuka, Makoto Otake as Takeshi Tomokane, Akiji Kobayashi as Ryuzo Dobashi, Koichi Ueda as Minoru Omae, Shinya Owada as a ship captain, Saburo Shinoda as Shigeki Fukazawa and Akira Takarada as Joji Minamino.

It was followed by Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.

This film contains examples of

  • '90s Anti-Hero: Battra is sworn to protect the Earth, and that includes saving it from its own inhabitants. He's clad in black and gold, has lots and lots of spikes, and plenty of powerful abilities to boot.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Takahashi Tomokane is a middle-aged man in the film. In the manga, he's a younger handsome man.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While Takahashi Tomokane is a crooked and greedy CEO in the film, nothing suggests that he's also a murderer. His manga counterpart is a different story, as he guns down Masaeko with sadistic glee.
  • Action Girl: Mothra, once she obtains her more mature form.
  • Asshole Victim: Takeshi Tomokane in the manga adaptation, due to him being much more villainous compared to the film and getting killed by Godzilla.
  • Badass Adorable: Once again, Mothra.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Three antagonists for the price of one. The Marutomo CEO, Battra and Godzilla.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Courtesy of Battra, who abandons his quarrel with Mothra to save her life after Godzilla arrives and nearly kills her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Godzilla has been subdued, but at the cost of Battra’s life. Furthermore, an asteroid is threatening the Earth, and without Battra, it is now up to Mothra to intercept it, leaving Earth without its guardian.
  • City Shout Outs: If you look closely as Mothra charges through Tokyo to save the Cosmos Twins, you can see that she passes by the headquarters of Bandai Namco (back then simply called "Namco") on her way to Yokohama.
  • Conflict Killer: Godzilla shows up in the movie to do the usual Godzilla thing, forcing Mothra and Battra to team up to stop him.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Battra isn't an evil or malicious monster, but his role as protector of Earth itself can put him against its inhabitants, who are under Mothra's protection.
  • Death by Adaptation: Masaeko (Masako) dies from her wounds in the manga adaptation. Takeshi crashes into Godzilla's foot.
  • Determinator: Even after he's been fatally wounded by Godzilla, Battra nonetheless continues to help Mothra carry The Big G out to the sea to get rid of him, finally dying seconds before Mothra lets Godzilla fall.
  • Enemy Mine: Mothra and Battra ultimately team up in order to stop Godzilla and throw him back to the sea. Once Battra gets fatally wounded by the Big G and is ultimately Killed Off for Real, Mothra decides to take his place as a more benevolent protector of the Earth and flies away to space at the end of the film to destroy an asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth.
  • Evil Counterpart/Spear Counterpart: Battra to Mothra, though he's more of an Anti-Heroic Conterpart as far as the Earth is concerned. He's dedicated to defending the Earth, but is far less concerned with intelligent inhabitants.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Battra may be an antagonistic force himself, but he also opposses Godzilla as well, perceiving him to be the embodiment of mankind's disregard and callousness toward nature. Takeshi getting screwed over by Battra also counts, particularly with his much more villainous manga counterpart who Godzilla ends up unintentionally killing.
  • Eye Beams: Battra in his adult form.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Godzilla kills Battra by biting out his throat, then firing his atomic breath into the wound.
  • Fallen Hero: Battra is meant to protect Earth, but sees humanity to be the enemy of Earth rather than something worth protecting.
  • Flying Firepower: Battra and Mothra can both fire blasts of energy from their antennae while flying.
  • Gaia's Vengeance:
    • The weather machine of the Cosmos civilization angered the Earth, producing Battra.
    • The series of events that happen to Takeshi Tomokane due to natural disasters are outright said to be the Earth getting its revenge on his company for their reckless destruction of it.
  • Expy: The Marutomo CEO is Mr. Tako meets Torahata.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As the previous film shows the state of the future, Mothra was successful on her mission.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Just because Battra is technically a good guy, doesn't mean he gives a damn about humanity.
  • Green Aesop: All over the place.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Battra, as well as the Marutomo Company secretary, Kenji Andoh.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Battra, in the course of helping Mothra drop Godzilla into the ocean.
  • Killed Off for Real: Battra ultimately succumbs to the injuries he obtained while helping Mothra get rid of Godzilla.
  • Knight Templar: Battra's ultimate goal is to protect the Earth.... even if that means annihilating most of humanity.
  • Large Ham: Mr. Tomokane's breakdown at the end proves even hammier with Rik Thomas' voice in the dub.
    *voice becomes progressively higher* The Earth wants its revenge, does it? Fine with me! I don't care! I don't care... I don't caaaaaare!!!
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Takeshi Tomokane has 2 (negatively): In the film, all of his accomplishments and project are utterly destroyed ever since he kidnapped the Cosmos. In the manga adaptation, killing Masaeko, crash into Godzilla's foot.
  • Lethally Stupid: Takeshi Tomokane, the Marutomo CEO is clearly a danger to himself as well as everyone else. First, he has the bright idea to kidnap and exploit the Cosmos, and if that wasn't bad enough, he insists on killing Mothra when she inevitably comes to rescue them. Incompetence doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Lighter and Softer: Battle For Earth is definitely lighter among the Heisei series. With its overall themes of evironmentalism and Black-and-White Morality. Mothra is also the central protagonist in the film.
  • Mama Bear: Mothra is pretty damn determined to save the fairies.
    • Once the song to summon Mothra is sung, you know you've screwed up monumentally somehow.
  • Market-Based Title:
    • The film's original and international title was Godzilla vs. Mothra, but when Tristar picked it up, it was retitled Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth to avoid confusion with the then-current home video title of the 1964 version.
    • The last German Godzilla release to change the title. Was released as Godzilla - Kampf der Sauriermutanten.
    • Was also released on video in Argentina as Godzilla - El Dinosaurio Mutante.
    • The Taiwanese Mandarin dubbed theatrical version is entitled "蝶龍魔斯拉", or Butterfly Dragon Mothra.
  • Monumental Damage: The Diet Building, where Japan holds parliament, becomes the location where Mothra creates her cocoon.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Godzilla and Battra come out of being swallowed by magma pretty well.
  • Outside-Context Problem: In this story about environmental degradation and ancient magical forces involved with Mothra and Battra, the giant radioactive dinosaur who's in the title just kinda walks into the plot.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Battra ultimately teams up with Mothra to help her defeat Godzilla, but he's fatally wounded by the King of the Monsters and perishes.
  • Shout-Out: Both the booby-trapped temple at the start, as well as the rope-bridge scene, are lifted straight from the first two Indiana Jones movies.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't screw up the environment or else a giant bug monster with laser vision will rise from the ocean to blow up everything and fight a fire-breathing radioactive dinosaur.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Battra sports these, moreso in his larva form.
  • Take Up My Sword: Mothra takes Battra's place in stopping the meteor that would destroy Earth in 1999.
  • Temple of Doom: We are introduced to Fujito int he process of escaping a bog-standard Collapsing Lair.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the manga adaptation, Takeshi Tomokane drives away after fatally shooting Masako, and for whatever reason decides to drive right towards Godzilla instead of going in any other direction. He promptly gets crushed by Godzilla's foot.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Godzilla is considerably more villainous in this movie than in other films. He doesn't attack because of a grudge against humanity or even neutral. He attacks the completely helpless Mothra Egg more or less because he can.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The Cosmos don't waste their singing talents in powering up Mothra. They even do a little healing of Battra.
  • Villain Ball: The Marutomo CEO. Yes, please by all means exploit the Cosmos for your business. Yes, by all means refuse to give them up when the giant indestructable Moth creature comes to rescue them. It certainly won't turn out badly for you.
  • Vocal Evolution: Godzilla goes back to his higher-pitched screeches from the Showa era in this film, combined with a few new moans and growls which would later be used as well for his Millenium incarnations. If one listes closely, however, Goji briefly utters one of his 84-91 roars in the climatic battle just as Battra is about to slam the ferris wheel onto the mutant dinosaur.
  • Waist-Deep Ocean: Partway through the film, Godzilla and Mothra's caterpillar form are shown duking it out in the middle of the ocean, with the water only coming up to Godzilla's waist. Mothra even chomps down on the tip of Godzilla's tail and gets flailed around.


Video Example(s):


Battra Rescues Mothra

As Godzilla prepares to kill Mothra by toppling the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel on top of her, her former arch-rival Battra manages to heal from his injuries just in time to save her, catching the wheel with his legs. To say Godzilla's pissed off by this development is quite the understatement. Though Battra previously saw humanity as the one enemy to Earth's continued existence, he's realised that Godzilla is the bigger threat, and thus has teamed up with Mothra to subdue the rampaging King of the Monsters.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / BigDamnHeroes

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