In terms of supplemental content, this set
is packed with features for more dedicated fans
of the title character to mill over. The first
of these is a commentary done by Steve Ryfle and
Ed Godziszewski for the feature film. The commentary
is very insightful overall, going into the background
on several of the people involved in the production
including composer Akira
Ifukube and his methods for creating the trademark
sound effects and music heard during the movie.
The two also briefly talk about how the kaiju
genre has changed over the years after this groundbreaking
movie, and how this film differs from those that
followed both in the Godzilla series and other
monster movies done by Toho. The pair also debunk
some long standing rumors about the film, which
is also nice to hear.
The first disc in the set also has two other
features related to the film, both of which are
very similar, although not identical, to ones
that appeared on the earlier BFI release on region
2. The first is an excellent 13 minute documentary
on the making of the story behind the film, which
goes into great depth in relation to the cut scenes
of the movie and concepts that were drafted but
never made filmed. The next short is another 13
minute documentary, this time focusing on the
hurdles and challenges facing the staff behind
creating the Godzilla suit. Both documentaries
are loaded with rare shots and stills related
to the narration, which is done by Ed Godziszewski.
The movie's original trailer is also present,
although not in the best condition. Overall, the
advert is very dark and hard to make out with
noticeable print damage, but far from unwatchable
all the same.
The most stand out feature of this set, though,
is easily the inclusion of the US version of Godzilla,
which makes an excellent side companion to the
original. The set has the full US cut on the second
disc, complete with 9 chapter stops for easier
navigation. In terms of quality, it's comparable
to the previous Classic Media release: Godzilla
King of the Monsters, which isn't great
but it's more than watchable. The audio also gets
a little harsh in parts, but nothing too severe.
Thankfully, the aspect ratio problem found on
the Japanese version is not present on the US
cut. In contrast to the Simitar version, with
a shot from this
version versus the 1998
release, the handling of digital inconsistencies
is still a large improvement with the movie looking
far sharper and without obvious signs of shimmering.
The real surprising thing about this presentation,
though, is the inclusion of the original
English credits. Now the quality during this
segment is much worse than any other part of the
movie, with the audio becoming very soft and there
being noticeable print damage, but it's so rare
that it's great to see it included regardless.
A commentary track for the US version is also
available in this set, again from Ryfle and Godziszewski.
For this track, the pair go into generous detail
on how this version came to be made and general
observations about the techniques utilized to
try and blend actor Raymond Burr into the movie.
The commentary also contains excerpts from earlier
interviews with Edmund Goldman, who purchased
the North American rights to the film from Toho.
The pair's conversation even touches briefly on
the infamous Americanization of the later Toho
(1958) too. Overall, the commentary is very well
done, one of the more enjoyable I have heard in
fact, and is a highly recommended feature.
Something else worth mentioning here is the menu
layout of this release, which is simply breathtaking
when first witnessed. Without any reservation,
I would say that this is the most thought out
and well done menu presentation of a Toho film
that I have seen to date. For this set, Classic
Media has gone for a look that recreates a newspaper
style of layout that is excellently complimented
by stills and adverts for the film. This look
to the menus is also found on both the first and
disc, while each sub-section has its own distinct
menu while the view "pans" over to that
Finally, the release also contains a 12 page
essay by author Steve Ryfle that includes two
nice promotional stills and even more background
information on the feature film, most of which
comes from his book Japan's Favorite Mon-Star.
It should be noted that the wealth of extras
present easily merit a full score; however, it
doesn't necessarily mean that this is the most
supplemental filled presentation of the movie
to date, as this disc lacks the galleries and
the "The Japanese Fishermen" documentary
that were present on the BFI release. The interview
with composer Akira
Ifukube, present on Toho's region 2, is also
missing. Furthermore, there were some other features
planned for this release, that were intended to
be unique to the Classic Media set, but for various
reasons were dropped back in July of this year
and are not present.