Aliens & SDF
Staff of Toho
|| DVD Title
| Godzilla King of the Monsters
| DVD Length
|| Original Length
| 78 Minutes
|| 96 Minutes
|| Year of Manufacture
| Classic Media
|| Number of Discs
| Aspect Ratio
|| 2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround
The US version of the classic 1954 film Godzilla
is the best of Classic Media's 2002 releases,
although mostly on account of limitations set
by the film's original presentation, such as
the full screen aspect ratio and the black and
white coloring. Still, Simitar had previously
released a Godzilla
King of the Monsters DVD back in 1998,
so, naturally, Classic Media's release will
unavoidably be stacked up to its predecessor.
So how does it fare? A mixed bag, really, even
considering that the Simitar disc was largely
lacking in a number of areas. For example, the
video presentation here has its noticeable faults,
while the audio presentation is nothing extraordinary,
and it's all topped off with a bare bones collection
of added content.
As far as the video presentation is concerned,
this is a fairly poor release of the Raymond
Burr version of the movie. In contrast to Simitar's
release, though, this disc has its ups and downs.
The brightness level is one of the areas were
both discs are handled reasonably well, although
the main title is washed out on both releases.
Digital inconstancies, though, is clearly an
area where this disc has an advantage over the
1998 release. Both artifacting and edge enhancement
are handled superbly here, while the entire
movie looks very sharp, a stark contrast over
Simitar's blurred release. However, shimmering,
a rainbow like band of colors on fine details,
is very noticeable, and is made more apparent
by the black and white presentation of the film.
Sadly, the shape of the print itself is where
the disc sinks far lower than the Simitar release.
The quality here ranges pretty dramatically,
from the good,
to the bad,
to the ugly.
Overall, the film contains a heavy abundance
of scratches, several of which are fairly hard
to ignore while watching the movie. Light shimmer,
a unnatural fading from light to dark often
appearing on the edge of films, also rears its
ugly head here on occasion. The image isn't
always stable either, and often shakes dramatically
during scenes that feature a fade out. On the
bright side, the amount of grain present on
the print is fairly minimal for a film this
old, although it's not constant and gets bad
in a couple of scenes. The film's original aspect
ratio of 1.33:1, or full screen, is maintained
on this release.
So, overall, how does the video stack up to
the Simitar release? Hard to gauge, as opinions
tend to drift in either direction, and both
have their share of unique faults. Several scenes
look notably better here when directly compared
to the 1998 release, while vice-a-versa could
be said on numerous occasions as well. It really
comes down to if the blurred presentation of
Simitar's disc bothers one more than the huge
amount of print damage present during some scenes
here, and people tend to be divided in regards
While the video comparison to Simitar's version
of Godzilla King of the Monsters is
more of a back and forth battle, comparing the
two audio presentations has a more clear victor.
Overall, the audio quality isn't horrible here,
but it doesn't really deserve any high marks
either and is a notable grade below Simitar's
Godzilla King of the Monsters is presented
here with two audio tracks. The first is a 2.0
mono track, staying true to the film's original
mono presentation. The track has its faults,
although it's generally acceptable. There are
a few pops in the audio track that can be heard,
while some of the Japanese dialogue sounds very
"rough", and is almost inaudible.
Some of the sound effects sound pretty harsh
here as well when they reach a certain pitch,
although this rarely occurs during the course
of the movie.
The second track is a 5.1 surround that, like
other Classic Media releases, is horrendous.
All that has been done here is that the mono
track has been duplicated and then pushed out
of all five speakers, while the only speaker
distinction to speak of is caused by an annoying
echo effect that's a byproduct of the lazy transfer
to 5.1. It's really hard to express how bad
this track is, as it would have been preferable
had this simply been left off the DVD altogether
instead of included in its present form.
Nothing note worthy here in the least. The
only supplementary content to be found on this
release is a short trailer for the Gamecube
version of Godzilla:
Destroy All Monsters Melee. Otherwise,
nothing. Although, I suppose, it should be worth
mentioning that the menus on the disc look rather
nice, even if they are, more or less, mirrored
on the other Classic Media titles with minor
Bottom line, the Simitar release is simply
better, although both are severally lacking.
Still, the fact that this DVD retails for dirt
cheap, while the Simitar disc has long been
out of print, would likely give this disc a
strong recommendation over its 1998 counterpart
for most casual fans.
This disc is also featured in the DVD box set,
Ultimate Godzilla DVD Collection.
- Anthony Romeros