DVD Title
 Invasion of Astro-Monster
International Title
 Invasion of Astro-Monster
Movie Length: 94/93 minutes Original Length: 94 minutes
Company: Classic Media Release: 2007
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic: Yes
Region: 1Discs: 1
  
Language/Sound: Order
Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
Subtitles:
English
Extras
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (12/12)
· Trailers: Invasion of Astro-Monster
· Commentary on the US version with Stuart Galbraith (English)
· Tomoyuki Tanaka Biography (8 Minutes)
· Poster Slide Show
· Image Gallery
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

Out of print for almost a decade in the United States, Classic Media has finally released another of Godzilla's more highly regarded productions to DVD with their best release yet. Sporting a great video presentation, a solid audio offering, and a familiar variety of extras, there is a lot to praise about this particular disc that leaves high hopes for future offerings from the company.


 Video: Star Rating

Quite simply the best video quality from Classic Media to date, this disc offers a great presentation of the movie. From the minute the Toho logo appeared on the screen, with a wonderful array of colors and with a good level of detail, I knew I was in for a treat. This impression stuck through most of the feature as well, as the source was devoid of scratches, featured little grain and boasted a very distinct level of colors. To be fair, there are moments in the movie where the color is a little off, typically tinted slightly brown or yellow which was a common trait on Toho's earlier region 2 releases, but it's fairly minor problem when all is said and done.

In terms of the US release, there are some mixed things to note. First off, like the firm's Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster DVD, the US version here has primarily been reconstructed from the restored Japanese print already available on this release. Classic Media has done the right thing, though, in including sequences which differ from that print from the original US version, such as: the opening titles, the riot sequences with overlapping English headlines and "The End". Unfortunately, the US print used appears to be in fairly awful condition, as it's discolored, has a lot of print damage and the frame is also sometimes unstable. Still, it's preferable that it try to keep with the presentation of the original cut as much as possible, and in that regard they succeeded, even editing the movie to directly match the removed scenes from the US version.

As for the quality, it's, expectantly on par with the Japanese version already present, sans the few scenes taken from a US version source. The main difference is the level of compression apparent in the two, as the US one looks very soft in contrast:

Japanese - US

It's not a deal breaker, although just the same it's still clear that of the two the Japanese one found in this set is clearly superior.

Invasion of Astro-Monster is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 across the two versions, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

The disc boasts two different audio tracks, both tied to their respective versions. The first is the Japanese track, which is also available in its original mono format. The quality is more or less superb, given the limitations of the format, as the dialogue is clear while there are no overt inconsistencies. The track can also be accompanied with, removable, English subtitles. Unfortunately, the subtitles are a little "iffy" in places, and could certainly have done with another proof reading before release, as it features things like: "Plane X" and "Deploy Monster Zero and mount strongest attack". Thankfully, the errors are generally of the typo variety, so they shouldn't interfere with the enjoyment of the movie too much.

As for the English dub track, it also gets fairly high marks, again taking into consideration the limitations of a mono track. Overall, dialogue is clear while nothing stands out as being particularly off in the track, which is a solid improvement over the dubbed track available on the company's Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster release.


 Extras:

This disc continues with the variety of supplemental content found on previous releases from Classic Media. This includes a short video feature biography, this time of producer and one time Toho president Tomoyuki Tanaka. Like before, this feature is voiced by Ed Godziszewski, who covers a lot of detail on the life and career of Tanaka leading up to his death in 1997. Also, like with previous biographies in this line, the feature is complimented with a number of production stills, poster and other images.

Next up are a pair of galleries, the first of which focuses on posters, both from initial and re-releases, and the other on various production stills and promotional images. Both of these features also come with a brief amount of text to explain the current picture, which is navigated with the remote.

The disc also has the movie's trailer in its 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Unfortunately, the quality of the trailer is pretty lacking. Apparently, they decided to go with a trailer for the movie's re-release, as the advert sports the "King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla" subtitle that was added later. In terms of what's off with the trailer, well a multitude of things, including a noticeable brown tint, a ton of print damage and a very apparent blue line to the left of the image. For whatever reason, the trailer is also not anamorphic.

Anyway, the last supplement on this DVD is an audio commentary track, again attached to the US version of the movie. This time, the commentary is done by author Stuart Galbraith, who provides a great deal of insight into the production with a good paced delivery through out. My only problem with the audio track was a fairly awkward minute plus break, which starts around the 23 minute mark and takes awhile to pick back up again. At first I thought it might have been a mistake, but it seems to be intentional.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, this release is the best from the company to date for the Godzilla films. Something that can be attributed largely to the superior video quality compared to other offerings from the firm, and one that easily blows the Simitar Godzilla Versus Monster Zero release out of the water. Hopefully, the four remaining Toho titles from Classic Media maintain this level of quality.

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