Following reports of human life on Infant Island, the supposedly deserted site of atomic bomb tests, an international expedition to the heavily-radiated island discovers a native tribe and tiny twin female fairies called “Shobijin” who guard a sacred egg. The overzealous expedition leader kidnaps the Shobijin to exhibit in a Tokyo stage show but soon they summon their protector, hatching the egg and releasing a giant caterpillar. When Mothra arrives in Japan and finally transforms into the ultimate beast, impervious to modern weapons, the nation and its people face their destruction.
What We Thought:
With this new SteelBook Blu-ray release Mothra has never looked better. The movie didn’t look great decades ago when it was released yet looks very good with its North American Blu-ray debut. The film itself is a Kaiju classic and fans will want to eat up this new SteelBook release.
The film checkmarks everything you want in a creature feature. There are bad guys who want to do their own thing. There’s an island that deals with atomic power. There is the government knowing more than they let on. There are laughable special effects that I have a soft spot for. It takes forever to actually see the creature. There is more story than necessary. There are kids for some reason (seriously, there are always kids getting in the way!).
But my favorite part of these movies is the use of models. Mothra is a larva before it cocoons and becomes a flying moth and seeing it slither through model city streets is hilarious. Then I loved seeing it flapping its wings and making tanks, cars and trucks fly through the streets all with use of models. Sure it’s a joke by today’s CGI standards, but there’s something to be said for practical effects. There is a scene with soldiers and tanks that is clearly shot separately and superimposed over a background that makes me laugh.
Speaking of laughing, I chuckle every time the fairies appear on screen. There are two small fairy women associated with Mothra and every time a human picks them up, they are clearly picking up dolls that look like Barbie dolls. Again by today’s standards it’s horrendous, but at the time it was a cool effect.
On top of this classic looking the best it’s ever looked, this new package some some great bonus features. This special edition release includes both the U.S. theatrical cut as well as the original, extended Japanese version of the film. Special features include feature-length commentary with authors and Japanese Sci-Fi historians Steve Ryfle & Ed Godziszewski, trailers, and a photo gallery. The film is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio with DTS-HD Master Audio for both English and Japanese tracks and English Subtitles on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc.
Mill Creek Entertainment has been stepping up its game lately and this new Mothra SteelBook surely helps. Mill Creek has been long known for releases at cheaper prices, but they’ve recently added 4K and SteelBook to go along with their obscure flicks and TV series products. This Mothra release is THE best version of the film and could rival anything Shout Factory and Criterion are putting out. If you are a fan, this is a must own.
Mothra stars Emi Ito and Yumi Ito (known as the popular singing duo “The Peanuts”), Hiroshi Koizumi (Mothra vs. Godzilla), Kyoko Kagawa (High and Low), Jerry Ito (The Manster) and Frankie Sakai (Shogun). Musical numbers by Emi and Yumi Ito highlight this film as they sing “Mosura No Uta (The Mothra Song),” “Daughters of Infant Island” and “Mosura ya Mosura.”