DVD Title
King Kong vs. Godzilla
International Title
King Kong vs. Godzilla
DVD Length Original Length
91 Minutes 98 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Goodtimes 1998
Language Subtitles
English English, Spanish, French
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.33:1 2.0 Mono
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (18)
. Production Notes (English)
Captures
Review

Goodtimes, a company generally known for its budget VHS releases of public domain material, doesn't change its standards here with a well below average release of the American version of King Kong vs. Godzilla. I assume most are familiar with the travesties the US version commits to the film, but for those who aren't: the US edit cuts a great deal of footage from the movie, rearranges the order of events, adds scenes with American actors and removes Akira Ifukube's score (minus the native dance) in favor of stock music from other Universal films. Beyond the faults of the subject matter, this disc makes no effort at showing what the DVD format is capable of; in fact, there are superior releases of the American version available on VHS. Overall, this DVD is poor across the board with a wretched video presentation, a lackluster audio track, and practically no extras.


 Video:

The video quality found on King Kong vs. Godzilla is severally lacking. There are some scenes, for example parts of the end battle, that look acceptable with strong colors; however, these sequences are few and far between. One problem that is consistent is the artifacting present, which causes noticeable pixilation and a slight blurriness to the film. The coloring is off in a lot scenes too and appears overly yellow, which is most noticeable during the stock footage lifted from The Mysterians (1957) for the US release. The biggest concern on the disc, though, is the shape of the print used for the transfer. To be more precise, the DVD contains a wide gambit of scratches while is also accompanied by a thick layer of grain. As mentioned before, this is also the US version of the film, so there is going to be a lot of footage missing from the original Japanese cut.

King Kong vs. Godzilla is presented in a cropped 1.33:1 aspect ratio, or full screen, which is rather depressing, but was a more common occurrence with DVDs released back at this early juncture in the medium's popularity.


 Audio: Star Rating

The audio presentation on this disc leaves some to be desired, although thankfully it's no where near as bad as the video quality. The film is presented with a 2.0 mono English track, which is the US version's original audio format. Thankfully, there are no pops in the audio track, but hisses can be heard on occasion. Some small echo type distortion occurs ever so often as well, although it's generally hard to notice. Of course, needless to say, the lack of the Japanese audio track is dissapointing as well.

The movie can be accompanied by, removable, English, Spanish, or French subtitles.


 Extras:

The sole extra to be found on this disc are some production notes that focus on director Ishiro Honda. The notes are correct in terms of the information, but it's very generic and not really worth even looking over.

In the disc's defense, though, the cover and menus are rather nice for a DVD made back in 1998, although they show shots from other King Kong and Godzilla movies which doesn't give a fair representation of the actual content. It should be mentioned that this disc comes in a cardboard "snap case" as opposed to a plastic Amaray case, which is standard among DVDs now.


 Overview:

Bottom line, it's a poor release of one of the more infamous Americanization's of a Toho film. Even in the disc's heyday it wasn't very good, and it pales in comparison to how far Toho's movies have come on the format. It's amazing, though, that the title fetched a wide range of prices since it went out of print, going anywhere from $40-100. Thankfully, Universal has released a new, vastly superior, King Kong vs. Godzilla DVD for a very reasonable price, which makes this relic completely obsolete, except to collectors.

-Anthony Romero  
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