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DVD Title
Godzilla King of the Monsters
International Title
Godzilla
DVD Length Original Length
78 Minutes 96 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Classic Media 2002
Language Subtitles
English None
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.33:1 2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (9)
. Trailer: Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (Gamecube)
Captures
Review

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.


 Video:

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 to it.


 Audio:

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 disc.

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.


 Extras:

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 changes.


 Overview:

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, The Ultimate Godzilla DVD Collection.

- Anthony Romeros
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