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1961 is the year in which the moth takes off, bringing with her disasters, poetry and messages to save the planet and the others, which unfortunately, almost sixty years later, are more current than ever.
Mothra is a kaiju (in short, a monster) of the legendary production company Toho, the one of of Godzilla and his infinite friend who has amused us all these years.
It all comes from Takehiko Fukunaga, Shinichiro Nakamura and Yoshie Hotta, authors of Toho, who write the story "The Luminous Fairies and Mothra", then serialized and which is the basis for Toho, which in 1961 wanted to enlarge the monster park, to create a film version.
The production company entrusts the script to Shin'ichi Sekizawa, who also writes some episodes of Godzilla and the direction to Ishirô Honda, that is the father of Godzilla, director of "Rodan" of 1964 and a great friend of Akira Kurosawa.
A perfect couple that can't go wrong. And, in fact, they not fail and create a beautiful film that mixes the various things I wrote at the beginning and to which must be added some singing moments. Mothra creates her legend from here, becoming over the years one of the most loved monsters of Japanese cinema and also a friend of Godzilla.
What is so special about this being that looks like an ugly larva here? Mothra is a benevolent monster, who has a good relationship with humanity or as in this case defends the fairy tales oppressed by the usual unscrupulous people. And yes ok, here she destroys a city, but what matters are her noble goals.
The direction of Honda may please Tim Burton's more romantic side and the famous Japanese director, uses delicious and handcrafted special effects, including city models and manual movements of objects not to mention the miniature effects. Everything looks decidedly fake but has a vintage charm, which goes well with a perfect story from every point of view.
The beginning seems to indicate the clear and classic way. A ship wrecks in the middle of a storm and here, you think, the monster wakes up from natural causes. Instead, the castaways end up on an island considered uninhabited and are quickly recovered. But, from their analysis they are slightly radioactive, because of the fault, they say, of the drink that the inhabitants of the island have given them.
Thus starts a research team that finds the inhabitants of this island who escape the usual cliché because they are hospitable, nice and even save the life of one of them. But the villain on duty, a certain Nelson (Jerry Itô) decides to return to the island and kidnap two Shobijin, that is, two tiny fairies, played by the twins Emi and Yumi Itō who composed a very famous musical duo at the time: Za Pînattsu. Nelson takes them with him and uses them in a circus show. They, helpless and always very kind, begin to invoke the god of their island, Mothra, with songs. The monster wakes up, goes to the city and saves the two girls after killing the bad guys and destroying them.
A great cast of Toho actors that includes among others the comedy actor Furankî Sakai, Hiroshi Koizumi and Jerry Itô in the role of the villain, frames a great film of the monster kingdom.