Blu-ray: Battle in Outer Space (Columbia Pictures)


Battle in Outer Space

English Blu-ray Title (Region A)

Battle in Outer Space


Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)

Aspect Ratio:

90 minutes
Columbia Pictures
2.35:1 Anamorphic


Battle in Outer Space



  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (11)
  • Audio Commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski



By: Anthony Romero

Sony, under their Columbia Pictures label, gives a stealth release for the 1959 space opera by Ishiro Honda. Probably not too shocking, the Blu-ray is similar in many ways to what was available on the Icons of Sci-fi: Toho Collection DVD set, although in high definition. This overall presents something with lackluster but serviceable video and audio quality that is pared with a single extra: an audio commentary track.

 Video: Star Rating

Sadly the image here is a little on the lackluster side. This is mostly due to print damage from the source that was used, as there area lot of scratches. While these scratches are more common during scenes with superimposition, like with ray effects, they frequent the entire movie. During some scenes, the edges appear light as well, as the print was likely worn here. This is most overt during the space scenes, as the darkness in the frame is interrupted by this. There is also a ton of noise in the frame, possibly the way the compression is playing with the film grain or something else is the culprit but it's distracting on occasion. As for the colors, versus the earlier DVD release by Sony the saturation is turned down a bit. This means the colors don't look quite as vibrant, but it avoids some of the issues caused on that earlier edition such as color bleeding.

As a side note, unlike the DVD release, this Blu-ray only contains one video track which is the American version of the film.

Battle in Outer Space is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

Two audio tracks are found on this Blu-ray. The first is the Japanese audio track, presented in its original mono format. Quality wise, this track is merely okay. There aren't overt inconsistences, but aspects sound muddled, in particular with the score. For example, Akira Ifukube's riveting music during the climatic space battle, probably even more familiar now thanks to its use in Shin Godzilla (2016), feels drowned out.

The other audio track is for the original American version that was released by Columbia Pictures, which means Ifukube's music during the Moon battle scene and the ending has been replaced with stock music. Clarity is a notable step below the Japanese audio track on this one, as the music in particular sounds even more murky, although it's serviceable.

The release contains removable, English subtitles. However, these are for the English dubbed version rather than the Japanese version. This causes several inconsistencies when watching with the Japanese audio, on top of not accurately captioning the dialogue. For example, there are scenes with subtitles but no dialogue, as some lines were added for the dub in these sequences.


 Extras: Star Rating

This disc contains a lone extra, which is an audio commentary track from authors and Japanese film experts Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski. To be clear, this is the same commentary track that was found on the Icons of Sci-fi: Toho Collection DVD set. As before, it contains a fountain of information on both this production and Japanese cinema in general from this era and is a very worthwhile extra. For clarification, although the video track is the same, technically the commentary track is aligned with the US dubbed version of the movie.

Another note worth bringing up is the packaging, which is lacking. While the cover is on the boring side, the Blu-ray disc itself is totally white with just the title in black and a variety of logos, such as the Sony and Blu-ray logo, slapped on.


 Overview: Star Rating

Overall, it's hard to tout this as a stellar release of the 1959 movie or give it a strong recommendation. However, given the relative slow trickle of Toho science fiction titles on the Blu-ray format it's at least nice to see this one available in high definition, faults and all.