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DVD Title
 Rodan and War of the Gargantuas
International Title
 Rodan / The War of the Gargantuas
Movie Length: 82-72/90-92 minutes Original Length: 82/90 minutes
Company: Classic Media Release: 2008
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1/2.35:1 Anamorphic: Yes
Region: 1 Discs: 2
  
Language/Sound:
Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
Subtitles:
English
Extras
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (12/12)
· Bringing Godzilla Down to Size (69 Minutes)
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

This release presents the long awaited debut of The War of the Gargantuas on DVD outside of Japan along with the first occurrence of the Japanese version of the movie Rodan seen in the States. The set is a bargain too, considering its cheap retail price for what is essentially two movies and two different edits of each. Sadly, in terms of video and audio quality the set could have been better, although is somewhat salvaged as a whole by a very nice 69 minute documentary included on Godzilla.


 Video:

Mixed would be my single word description for what's to be found from the video presentations here. There is so much content though, with four different versions of two different films, that it's a little overwhelming to try and hit all the points. It's best to start from the top, though, and tackle what's available for the Rodan disc. First off, this disc contains both the uncut Japanese version of the movie and the edited US version. Sadly, the quality on the Japanese one is lacking in several respects, including a presentation that's too dark and one that's slightly discolored with it appearing with a slight magenta shade. Light flickering and scratches can also be seen, although the latter isn't too bad considering the movie's age. Unfortunately, Classic Media really dropped the ball on the US version included here. In fact, it's pretty much the exact same video track that was found on their earlier 2002 release, and includes all of the same problems. These pitfalls run the gamut too, with everything from massive discoloration, a ton of grain present, scratches galore and a presentation that's too bright.

Rodan is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 across the two versions.

In regards to the War of the Gargantuas disc, it fares better. The Japanese video track has problems of its own, though. The foremost of these is that the brightness level is turned way down, making the whole movie look slightly murky and far too dark, which is problematic during the many night sequences. The track also shows some overt signs of compression, appearing slightly blurred and with signs of artifacting. The same can not be said for the US version, though, which surprisingly turns out to be the best video presentation found across the two discs. While still slightly too dark, the presentation here is acceptable while it appears fairly sharper in terms of visible detail and with a good spectrum of colors. The best way to note the differences though is by directly comparing the tracks, and when one does so the superiority of the US version track included is apparent:

Japanese - US

War of the Gargantuas is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 across the two versions, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

The two discs boast a total of four different audio tracks, each of which is tied to a respective version of their film. For the Rodan disc, first is the Japanese track, which is also available in its original mono format. The quality here is passable. It sounds a little rough, but given the age of the production there isn't anything too bad about its presentation. The track can also be accompanied with, removable, English subtitles. The second track on this disc is for the English dub track. Like the video, this track mirrors what Classic Media released back in 2002 and suffers the same pitfalls of a scratchy and poorly maintained presentation.

Now for the War of the Gargantuas disc, the release passes with flying colors. Both tracks, again available in its original Japanese presentation and English dubbed, are superb in terms of quality. The former is, expectedly, available with removable English subtitles as well.


 Extras:

This set is light in terms of the breadth of extras, and it's slightly disheartening to see all the lost potential in regards to the lack of trailers and other things. However, it does make up for it with a very lengthy and well produced documentary on the King of the Monsters, although it's a slightly odd fit in this set since neither movie features the character. The supplement is pretty extraordinary, though. Narrated very nicely by actor Alex Cox, the short cover numerous aspects of the character, Toho and Japanese science fiction in general. The feature is littered with interview after interview, and provides a generous amount of information for diehard fans to mill over. Granted, there are a couple of slightly cheesy moments to it, but nothing too drastic. The ending, which speaks out against the use of CGI, is a little heavy handed though in its approach. Regardless, it's a highly recommended feature.


 Overview:

Bottom line, the quality here is disappointing in some respects, but the price for what one gets is very reasonable. In the end, despite some disappointing aspects, it's a recommended purchase for the housing both the US and Japanese version of War of the Gargantuas, a decent presentation of Rodan in Japanese and a good documentary on the side all for the price of a regular retail DVD.