GODZILLA VS. SPACE GODZILLA / GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
Reviewed July 24th, 2000 by Chuck Arrington
Gojira, King of the Monsters has returned, & in a big way with a full 90’s version, effects laden suitmation fest! Now, I already know what you’re thinking…”Godzilla what!” Trust me, there are those of us who are tried & true G-fans however, you don’t have to be as dedicated as we are to enjoy these films. Back in the 70’s Godzilla could be seen just about every weekend from coast to coast on someone’s UHF channels! Since then there’s been something of a “Zilla” drought on American airwaves. Sure, you could always pick up a tape or two at your local rental place but there was nothing new to be seen. That is until now! Toho & Columbia Tri-Star have united to bring Godzilla back to America in the best way possible…on DVD!
Feature #1 Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla
Godzilla squares off against a crystalline copy of himself known as Space Godzilla! Space Godzilla has come to Earth not only to destroy Godzilla but all life on the planet as well! As a sub-plot if you will, Japan’s super secret military bureau believes it can control Godzilla by implanting a telepathic amplifier in Godzilla’s brain. This would in theory, make him extremely susceptible to suggestions from the “psychics” the bureau employs. As I’m sure you already know, any plan devised to “control” Godzilla will fail miserably, and so it does! The resultant carnage is absolutely wonderful! I’ll not ruin it by telling you who wins but, rest assured, this was not Godzilla’s last film!
Feature #2 Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah (Destroyer)
In what has to be one of the all time best Godzilla movies to date, Godzilla faces a foe from his past. In 1954, Godzilla was “destroyed” by a device known as the “Oxygen Destroyer”. Essentially, it removed all of the oxygen from the waters surrounding Godzilla & he was dissolved. Here we are 41 years later & the Oxygen Destroyer & Godzilla have returned! Evidently, the core elements of the destroyer lay dormant in a sub strata of land that used to be underwater. When a tunnel is constructed in that location, the combination of electricity & oxygen in a previously “oxygen-less” area bring about something of a resurrection for the destroyer. If that wasn’t problem enough, Godzilla is essentially, overheating. The nuclear reactor that sustains him is in a state of severe meltdown. While the residents of Tokyo might be glad to see him go, the resultant inundation of radiation will devastate Japan & lay waste to the rest of the planet! So Now the Japanese Defense Force has to not only deal with Destroyer but, also try to stave off the meltdown before it’s too late!
The Audio soundstage as presented is incredible. The digitally re-mastered audio for the films score/soundtrack wise is totally engrossing & creates an aural atmosphere that truly sets the stage for each feature. My only gripe is that the original Japanese language track is missing from each feature. The English dubbing stays pretty close to the actual dialogue for each film however, there is just something lacking in their presentation. You really have to see Godzilla in it’s original Japanese to appreciate all of the nuances the film carries. If you’ve only seen Godzilla dubbed, then your missing the best part!
The Video presentation for each feature is crystalline! Anamorphic widescreen treats for each title! Really what more could you ask for! I have these titles on video from a laserdisc master & they don’t look as good as the DVD rendering (naturally). In any event these titles received first class treatment & have never looked as good as they do now! That does not however mean, that there are no problems with the transfer. In the opening title sequence of G Vs. Space G the titles are cropped too low & it results in the cutting off of the tops of the title. Additionally, when Space G makes his first appearance landing on Infant Island, the same cropping problem returns & the top of his head is cut off just a bit. With G Vs. Destroyer there are no cropping problems just the omission of one of the better portions if the film. At the close of the movie, a video montage is played showing Godzilla in all of his films, beginning with Gojira 1954 & ending with G Vs. Destroyer in 1995. The montage is very cool & has Akira Ifukube’s tremendous score playing over the whole of the vignette. This is curiously absent from the Tri-Star release. Having noted those problems that balance of the discs are beautifully rendered.
Now for the bad news. The Japanese laserdiscs for each of these films are loaded with extras. From behind the scenes info to interviews to miniature model making. Not too mention trailers for each title as well as trailers for all sorts of affiliated materials. Nothing from that information made it to the disc. Maybe it’s a contractual thing between Toho & Columbia but from a fan’s point of view…this sucks!
Overall, I am a huge fan of Godzilla & have loved seeing the guys in the rubber suits tearing down the model buildings & fighting with other guys in suits since I was a child. Now for the 90’s Godzilla has been re-tooled & he’s bigger & badder than ever! While Godzilla Vs. Destroyer may have been the swan song for the “original” Godzilla, Godzilla 2000 millennium looms on the horizon! Scheduled for an American release on August 18th of this year. Hopefully, they’ll pepper that release with all the extras that were missing for these two features. In any event, if you are fan of this kind of movie or are just looking for something cool to check out on a Sunday afternoon, these two films have your name written all over them.
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