Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle (1997, Miyoshi Kunio)

Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle is incredibly disappointing. It should be glorious in its stupidity–Mothra at one point turns into a giant fish-moth. Or is it moth-fish? There’s an underwater city raised up. There’s a furry E.T. or Gizmo-type creature and it’s got magical piss. Mothra 2 should be entertaining at the very least and it’s not. It’s never entertaining. Not even on the rare occasion something competent is going on.

There are numerous problems, but director Miyoshi plays the biggest part in the film’s badness. He’s not good with actors, he’s not inventive with special effects, either he doesn’t pace action sequences well or he doesn’t know how to cut corners well. Mothra 2 is incredibly cheap. There’s one miniature city and it’s this pyramid thing from a lost city a la Atlantis. It’s real boring looking, even though it’s got to be enormous because Mothra and the evil kaiju fight on it.

Oh, the evil kaiju. It’s a really dumb looking flying thing with four legs. It’s a bad suit. It’s a very, very bad suit. Mothra’s nothing great this time out either, but at least there’s something going on with it effects-wise–the flapping of the wings alone give it some personality. The bad kaiju has none. It’s a terrible design and a dumb story.

The fairies are boring–their subplot with the evil third sister is way too underdeveloped, with Miyoshi instead doing these terrible chase sequences. Mothra 2 is full of lousy composite shots and even lousier CG backdrops. Most of the movie is the three obnoxious little kid leads running around the interior of the pyramid in a mix of sets and CG and it’s just poorly done. There’s no sense of scale, for the visuals or for the story. The giant monsters attack Japan and no one cares except these little kids. And the human villains are these two guys who know the little girl lead’s mom.

But nothing can prepare for the last reveal in the film, because Mothra 2 is all about the future. It’s a kid’s movie, it’s “environmentally conscious,” it’s really weird and it’s a bad weird.

Watanabe Toshiyuki’s awful music doesn’t help matters, though I am going to skip listing the bad performances. It’s not the actors’ faults, it’s this movie. Mothra 2 just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work at all.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Miyoshi Kunio; written by Suetani Masumi; director of photography, Sekiguchi Yoshinori; music by Watanabe Toshiyuki; produced by Kitayama Hiroaki; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Kobayashi Megumi (Moll), Yamaguchi Sayaka (Lora), Hano Aki (Belvera), Mitsushima Hikari (Uranai), Otake Masaki (Kyohei), Maganao Shimada (Yoji), Okuno Atsushi (Kotani), Okayama Hajime (Nagase) and Nonami Maho (Princess Yuna).


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