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How the ‘Mothra’ Trilogy Learned From Its Own Mistakes

Butterfly in the skyyyyyyyyyy I can go twice as hiiiiiiiiiiigh.
Godzilla And Mothra The Battle For Earth
By  · Published on September 5th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at the story behind the Mothra trilogy.


What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! It’s Mothra, the fuzzy flying kaiju who makes frequent appearances in Toho’s Godzilla franchise! Frequently accompanied by two tiny fairy twins who speak on her behalf (when are we going to see that Adam Wingard), Mothra is a queen and she deserves our respect! Toho certainly seemed to think so …. that’s why she got her own standalone trilogy in the late 1990s!

Comprised of Rebirth of Mothra (1996), Rebirth of Mothra II, and the predictably-named Rebirth of Mothra III (1998), the trilogy portrays the massive moth as the last member of a species tasked with safeguarding an ancient civilization. Over the course of the three films, Mothra does battle with her ancient enemy, the dragon Desghidorah, and has a son who carries on her noble legacy. (Did we mention that her son, whose name is Leo, travels backward in time to retroactively murder King Ghidorah? Because that happens, and it rules).

As the video essay below details, the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy was explicitly made with kids in mind. And if you take a step back and look at the three films, each one represents a different approach to how to make movies for a younger audience. From the superficial and condescending tone of the inaugural entry to the final film’s efforts not to look down on its own audience, here’s a look at why the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy is a great case study in how to make a good kids’ movie.

Watch “Mothra Trilogy: Making a Children’s Film”:


Who made this?

This video essay on how the Mothra trilogy learned from its own mistakes is by Accented Cinema, a Canadian-based YouTube video essay series with a focus on foreign cinema. You can subscribe to Accented Cinema for bi-weekly uploads here. You can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).