After the success of King Kong vs. Godzilla, TOHO wanted to do a direct sequel to it where Godzilla and Kong would have a rematch, but the idea was scrapped and wanted to pit the Frankenstein monster against Godzilla. The idea for this turned into Frankenstein Conquers The World, which is about the Frankenstein monster fighting a monster that causes earthquakes called Baragon. Ultimately, TOHO decided to have Godzilla and Mothra fight each other instead and became both a sequel to King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963) and Mothra (1961).
Mothra vs. Godzilla is the last Godzilla movie in the showa era where Godzilla is the villain. He wouldn't play the villain again until Godzilla1985. The Godzilla suit used in this movie is heavily favored by fans and the suit was used again in the next movie, Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster, which came out the same year as Mothra vs. Godzilla. During one of the takes of Godzilla being firebombed, the liquid fire splashed Godzilla's head and caught on fire. The fire quickly burned the fuel and the flames went out, but Nakajima was unaware that the suit was on fire because Nakajima's head was below the head of the suit. It was an unplanned bonus to the special effects and it was added into the final cut.
After the movie was released in Japan on April 29, 1964, the American release made only minor changes to the movie, but renamed the movie as Godzilla vs. The Thing. Through out the whole movie, none of the characters even calls Mothra by her name. They just call her the thing with the exception of when the twin fairies are summoning her with a song. The only added scene that was made for the American version is when American military officials came to aide Japan in fighting Godzilla.
After a powerful typhoon, a large egg was discovered off the shore of Kurada Beach and a greedy entrepreneur of Happy Enterprises buys the egg from the village and builds an incubator around the egg planning to turn it into a tourist attraction. News reporter, Ichiro Sakai, and his photographer, Junko Nakanishi and professor Miura investigate the egg and were confronted by the twin tiny fairies called the Shobijin. They explain that the egg belongs to Mothra and if they don't return it then the baby would cause trouble for people while searching for food despite not meaning any harm to them. Sakai, Nakanishi, and Miura agree to help the twins, but failed when the entrepreneurs refused to give it up and the fairies returned to Infant Island with Mothra disappointed. Suddenly, Godzilla appears after being buried in the mud from the typhoon. Godzilla makes a B line for the egg and Sakai, Nakanishi, and Miura head to Birth Island to ask for Mothra's help.
Mothra vs. Godzilla is one of the more popular movies in the franchise and the second movie where Godzilla has a cross-over with another movie monster. This is where Mothra starts becoming a regular in the Godzilla franchise showing up in every single era. The movie is sort of silly, but the silliness has a charm to it where it is fun to watch. Godzilla looks less intimidating and more child friendly and his clumsy nature just adds to the charm of the movie. There is one scene that always reoccurs at least once in every era is the scene where Godzilla's tail is bitten by one of the Mothra larva and Godzilla freaks out trying to shake it off. It's so goofy that you can't help, but laugh. The only differences made in the American release are that most of characters kept calling Mothra, "The Thing," despite hearing the fairies calling her Mothra a few times and the scene where the American military helps Japan fight Godzilla. Despite these changes, it didn't affect the movie's story at all and nothing was cut out of the film. The English dubbing has certainly improved. It isn't distracting at all like in Godzilla Raids Again. The only problem I have with it is that it has a slow build up and the first fight between Mothra and Godzilla doesn't happen until an hour and ten minutes into the movie.
Mothra vs. Godzilla is a lot of fun to watch with family no matter which version to watch. It has a slow build up to the first fight and another slow build up to the second fight, but it is worth watching all the way through. This is one movie that you can sit down and watch with your kids with. Pop some popcorn too because it is a long hour and a half movie.