Today’s selection: Rebirth of Mothra 3 (1998, dir. Okihiro Yoneda)
Available from: Fansub-only (though a dub has aired on Syfy)
The third entry is the best of the 1990s’ Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, though that’s not saying a whole lot. Mothra was already pretty broken in the previous installment with the ability to split into thousands of little copies and destroying an enemy from within, but the third film gives her an even more broken power: going back in time to assassinate an enemy when they’re still young, Terminator-style. Granted, Mothra was up against what’s probably the best incarnation of King Ghidorah since the Showa period, so even trying to play fair was silly. I can honestly say that it’s not the worst use of time travel in a movie featuring Ghidorah, to boot!
In a plot development likely cribbed from Dark Horse’s Godzilla #16, Ghidorah was the one who killed the dinosaurs way back when, so Mothra can go back to fight him then, and also give the audience a look at prehistoric Mothra ancestors. The movie also features Armored Mothra (buy more toys!) and probably the coolest-looking incarnation of GaruGaru, the little dragon ridden by the Shobijin’s sister Belvera.
The film is perhaps not the best way to end the Heisei Godzilla reboot continuity (unless you want to count Godzilla Generations: Maximum Impact), but like I said earlier, it’s a substantial improvement on the previous Mothra flicks. It’s baffling that Mothra 3 eludes even a dub-only home video release stateside (the other films in the trilogy got VHS and DVD release), but I guess Mothra’s not much of a draw for mainstream audiences, and the movies seldom appear in the children’s section where they belong.