- Menus (English)
- Chapters (16/16)
- Trailers: Godzilla 2000:Millennium
- Contains full Japanese and US versions
- Behind the Scenes (2 minutes)
- Audio Commentary by Michael Schlesinger, Michael Mahoney and Darren Paskal
- Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy
Many wondered why Sony skipped over Godzilla 2000: Millennium for their original group of Godzilla Blu-rays, since the company had selected it for a theatrical release compared to the other titles it issued on the format. As it turns out, the Millennium film got the red carpet treatment, issued by itself on a Blu-ray release that contains the American version and also the US debut of the original Japanese cut. The film is presented very well too, with a nice video track and a robust audio presentation... for the US version. Sadly, the Japanese version fares much worse, while the extras are a slight rehash of what was seen on the Tristar DVD.
This disc contains both the full US and Japanese versions of the film. The two cuts aren't as drastically different as, say, the US/Japanese versions for The Return of Godzilla (1984) or King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). In total there is about eight minutes of footage that was removed from the American version, with no footage added either. Most of these are smaller edits, aimed at improving the movie's pacing, although the whole Millennium Kingdom (Toho Kingdom shout out?) angle was dropped. While I try not to editorialize much on movie quality in these reviews, I will say that the US cut was a vast improvement over the original Japanese one. Nothing of value was really lost, and the movie flows much better with the eight minutes shaken out. Still, the movie's fans should enjoy being able to watch both cuts.
As for the actual video quality, I wish I could say that both versions were about equal but that couldn't be further from the truth. The Japanese
version is lacking a bit, featuring the worst video quality of the Toho films that Sony has released to Blu-ray so far. The print is dark, a common complaint with the Sony releases but this one also has a weak black level too. The biggest fault is the colors, though. The tinting is dramatic while the saturation is sometimes set too high. This leaves a print that looks dull and at times murky in its color range, plus one that is washed out in terms of detail. On the plus side, the print fares okay in the sharpness area... which doesn't mean it's good, but also not bad. Also on the plus side, the original Japanese title card is left, compared to the other Millennium films released which had white English text super imposed on top of the Japanese titles.
Thankfully, the US version fares so much better. The colors are more vibrant and distinct, while the brightness is set at a satisfactory level. The black levels are also done better. All told, it's the best color management of the Sony Toho titles on the format, which contrasts a lot with the Japanese cut included. Pictures speak larger then words, though, and this contrast between the two should define the large discrepancy in quality between them. That said, neither is particularly sharp and both fare only okay in that regard, though.
In terms of giving a star rating for the video quality, if I had to break them apart would give two stars to the Japanese cut and four stars to the US cut. Fans of the Japanese cut might be disappointed, but those who favor the American version should be pleased.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium is presented in its
original aspect ratios of 2.35:1. The US version is very slightly cropped in contrast to the Japanese version, putting it more at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The difference is minor between them, but can be noticed in side-by-side comparisons.
Two versions of the film, two audio options. The first is a DTS-HD stereo version of the original Japanese audio to go with the Japanese cut. The track is nicely balanced, without any discrepancies to note. It would have been nice to have gotten the 5.1 surround mix for the film, which has been included on the DVD and Blu-ray releases in Japan. Heck, would have been neat to get Toho's international dub for this version as well, although that's more of a completest request.
The other audio track included with this Blu-ray is the English dub associated with the American cut of the film. This one features really dynamic audio. Some might say its overdone, but I love the added directionality the crew tried to bring to the movie's soundscape. Things like Godzilla swinging his tail to destroy buildings in a 360 degree turn pack so much more punch here. In terms of audio quality, this track is devoid of hiss or distortion and sounds stellar.
The two cuts of the film each contain three subtitle options: two English (one SDH for the hearing impaired which subtitles sound effects with a black background on text) and one French. The English subtitle tracks are different for each, thankfully. There are no "dubtitles" here, with the Japanese version getting a faithful translation of the dialogue. Similarly, the same subtitle track is not used for the American version, but rather it correctly subtitles the English dialogue that was written for that version.
This disc is a repeat mostly of the extras found on the Tristar Godzilla 2000 DVD, with the exception of having both cuts of the movie as mentioned elsewhere in this review. These extras include the same two minute Behind the Scenes feature that was found on the region 1 DVD. This feature, which is in standard definition, is lacking as is. It really feels like it needed a voice over or something rather than a random two minutes of them using the suits, calling action, and then cut before moving to the next scene.
The best feature on this disc, not counting the alternate film versions, is the audio commentary from Michael Schlesinger (producer/writer of the US version), Michael Mahoney (editor of the US version), and Darren Paskal (supervising sound editor on the US version). While Schlesinger has the most insightful things to say, the trio as a whole provide a rare view into what goes into creating an alternate cut of a film. Much of this does include even the minor edits, such as overlapping dialogue with scenes to quicken the pace. They also give insight into dubbing choices and shine light on a rarely explored aspect of the fandom.
The disc also contains one trailer, which is one of the final Japanese trailers. Sadly, the US trailer, which was contained on the earlier DVD release, is absent here.
Beyond this the disc also contains a Digital HD Ultraviolet copy the film.
The menu on this release continues the generic trend of the entries so far, with this having a shot of Godzilla from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) with a blue city background.
This is a nice upgrade from the earlier DVD edition, although its unfortunate the video quality on the Japanese cut falters so badly. Fans who grew up with the US version should enjoy this release a lot, as it excels in most regards. Purists who prefer the Japanese cut will be disappointed, especially as the best extra on this disc is an audio commentary track tied to the US cut.