You know what time it is! It’s time for Rifftrax! (Rifftrax!)
And this quarter’s cinematic meatball-over-the-plate is the wonderfully bizarre and bizarrely wonderful Mothra. It’s a far cry from being terrorized by radioactive T-Rex like Gojira, or a pterodactyl like Rodan, or even a three-headed dragon like King Ghidorah. The Kaiju for most of Mothra isn’t even a moth, but more a lethargic (if overlarge) caterpillar.
Cribbing shamelessly from King Kong, the story goes that after an uninhabited island is used for atomic bomb tests, it turns out actually to have been rather heavily populated by a tribe of regular-sized people who—and I may have this wrong—worship a couple of tiny (foot tall) little singing girls. The Japanese Carl Denham goes to this little island along with, I don’t know, some scientists or something, and discovers the little girls but is prevented from capturing them to bring back to Japan (or some other country that isn’t exactly America) by the rest of the group.
Flash forward a few years (without even the courtesy of a calendar flipping montage, so you don’t realize it’s much later) and Denham-san has secretly gone back to the island and captured the girls and brought them back as a novelty act, like a less creepy Lemon Sisters. Problem is, they’re psychically linked to Mothra who hatches from his egg on the island and makes his way toward Japan. Before you know it—and I mean, like, well over an hour into the movie—this caterpillar is doing kaiju stuff and generally just wrecking up the place.
Until killed by the military.
Killed? Or just cocooned?
Well, I think you know the answer to that. So the last few minutes is more traditional Rodan-esque mayhem until the good guys figure out how to get the girls safely to their beloved giant moth. The climactic scene takes place in not-quite-America which is worth it just for the not-quite-English signs everywhere.
It’s a pretty wild movie.
It also confirms our suspicion that the old, cheesy movies are best for riffing. This is not exactly a movie jam-packed with action or, well, much of anything but its bizarre premise. Even the special effects are kind of sleepy, kind of goofy, but also kind of fun. (And, in fairness to the technology of the day, some of them are pretty decent as well.)
All this adds up to room for quality riffing, and the boys do not disappoint. Definitely worth checking out.
The pre-show riff was about soap and it was as delightful as you can imagine. Four out of five stars. Would recommend. Would riff.