DVD Title
 Godzilla Raids Again
International Title
 Godzilla Raids Again
Movie Length: 82/79 minutes Original Length: 82 minutes
Company: Classic Media Release: 2006
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Anamorphic: No
Region: 1Discs: 1
  
Language/Sound: Order
Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
Subtitles:
English
Extras
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (12/12)
· Commentary on the US version with Steve Ryfle (English)
· The Art of Suit Acting (14 Minutes)
· Poster Slide Show (1 Minute)
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

Unavailable to Godzilla fans for years and years in the United States, Classic Media finally releases Godzilla's second outing to DVD. The fact that this disc contains both the Japanese and US cuts give it an edge over previous releases, and allow younger fans of the character to catch up on both in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, the video quality on this release is marred by numerous problems with both versions, some on account of trying to cram the two cuts on the same disc. The audio fares much better thankfully, as do the extras, but the overall package leaves some to be desired from the first title in the self dubbed "Toho Master Collection" line.


 Video: Star Rating

To be honest, I was hoping that the blemishes found on the video presentation of Classic Media's Gojira - Godzilla would be some rare early problems as the company worked toward turning over a new leaf as a firm one could expect for solid releases. Unfortunately, with this title, that doesn't seem to be the case. To be totally honest too, the video quality here is actually even worse than the company's second release of the 1954 classic, as the DVD displays a wide range of problems in its video presentation. Chief among these is simply the print damage present, including tons of grain during a number of scenes, scratches and some annoying light flickering. The English version is also plagued by some of these, although features far more scratches than the Japanese version does. Suffice to say, I'm not sure where Classic Media is getting some of these prints from, but if they are coming from Toho perhaps they should just opt to use the video feeds on the previously done region 2 DVDs from the company?

Anyway, the problems don't stop there, as the Japanese version also features an unstable frame on a few occasions along with a brightness level that's too high and washes out some details. There is also a huge dilemma in the transfer process that occurs a little past the hour mark due to interlacing, causing details to look incredibly jarring in motion as seen here. Thankfully it only lasts a few minutes, although it's none too pleasant to experience all the same. To follow up on this, some have told me that the problem has been fixed for later issues of this disc, however, comparing my copy from 2006 with the one I recieved in February of 2007 generates the same results: 2006 vs. 2007. Reportedly, I just had some bad luck in the second copy, though, as apparently this has been fixed on the majority of releases.

In regards to the US version, it fares even worse, as it was obviously heavily compressed in order to fit on the same DVD with the original Japanese version. This means one can expect a much softer look, as details are more blurred, while shimmering and other overt signs of compression are apparent. According to the audio commentary on this release, it seems that the DVD was originally going to be double sided, with each version on a different side. That plan seems to have fallen through, but at least the company had the foresight to heavily compress the US version as opposed to the original Japanese cut. As an interesting side note, if anyone is wondering how the title screen for the film is handled, it removes the "Gigantis the Fire Monster" part in favor of a new title card that displays "Godzilla Raids Again", as seen here.

On the bright side, at least Godzilla Raids Again is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 in both versions, without any cropping as occurred for Gojira - Godzilla.


 Audio:

Godzilla Raids Again features two different mono audio tracks, one in Japanese and the other in English, both of which are attached their respective versions of the film. The quality of both isn't bad, although not perfect. The Japanese audio tends to fare much better, while the English dub isn't as clear as it could have been, but both are more than serviceable without much to raise complaint about.

The Japanese version can be accompanied with, removable, English subtitles.


 Extras: Star Rating

After a lot of extras were withheld from the company's Gojira - Godzilla release, they finally make their way to the public via these later titles from Classic Media. As it turns out, it was a pretty good thing many of these features were delayed, as titles like this would have seemed very barebones without them (unless one wants to count the US version as an extra), considering even a trailer for the production is lacking. In terms of the added video content here, it's a short 14 minute documentary on suitmation for numerous Toho science fiction films done in the Showa era. The short provides a great deal of background on the actors behind the costumes, and is overall a very recommended feature. Next up is a short "Poster Slide Show", which isn't bad although the quick editing and close up pans get to be a little annoying. A feature that would have let the viewer browse through them at their own pace, instead of seeing them quickly shown over a minute's time, would have been much more preferable in this case.

Finally, the last extra on this disc is an audio commentary for the US version of the film done by Steve Ryfle "and friends." The billing for the commentary might seem a little odd, but after hearing the track it's quite clear that nearly 70% of this is Ryfle talking, as he will ever so often "pass the mike" to another commentator like Ed Godziszewski who will throw in some more background information. Sadly, this commentary isn't nearly as good as the ones found on Gojira - Godzilla. Not to discredit it completely, of course, as it's still very informative. The problem is simply that Ryfle's attempts to riff the movie, sometimes in a style reminiscent to Mystery Science Theater 3000, tend to fall flat in their bid for humor. Still, due to the wealth of information present, this is still suggested listening for anyone with more than a passing interest in the title character.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, I'm sure many fans of the franchise are thrilled to finally see this movie, which has been out of print in the US for more than decade, but this certainly isn't the best release all the same. Thankfully, their Mothra vs. Godzilla disc fares much better than this release.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set: The Godzilla Collection.