Blu-ray: Godzilla (Criterion)

Order

Godzilla


English Blu-ray Title (Region A)

Godzilla - Directed by Ishiro Honda

Sound:

Japanese (1.0 Mono), English (1.0 Mono)

Subtitles:
Length:
Release:
Company
:
Discs:
Aspect Ratio:

English
96 minutes
2011
Criterion
1
1.37:1 Anamorphic

Movie:

Godzilla

Blu-ray

Extras

  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (23)
  • Trailers: Godzilla (Japanese, US)
  • Full US cut: Godzilla King of the Monsters (78 minutes)
  • Interviews: Akira Ifukube (50 minutes), Akira Takarada  (13 minutes), Haruo Nakajima (10 minutes), Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai (30 minutes), Tadao Sato (14 minutes)
  • Audio commentary by David Kalat (English)
  • Audio commentary by David Kalat for Godzilla King of the Monsters (English)
  • Godzilla Photography Featurette (9 minutes)
  • "The Unluckiest Dragon" Illustrated Essay (9 minutes)

Captures


Review

By: Chris Mirjahangi‚Äčr

The pristine high def transfer of both Gojira and Godzilla King of the Monsters fans thought would NEVER happen is finally here! Both films look and sound better than they ever have. The love and care that went into the transfer of both of these classic films is prevalent here making this disk (or disks if you chose to buy the DVD set) a must have for any Godzilla fan or film buff. How does it fare as a whole? Read on!


 Video: Star Rating


This is the best transfer of both Gojira and Godzilla King of the Monsters to date and this release does not disappoint. The level of detail is stunning and you’ll notice little things you never have before while watching.  The level of detail change is very noticeable with Godzilla King of the Monsters' Raymond Burr footage shot by director Terry Morse. It's almost entirely free of scratches and you can see a great amount of detail. Screenshots DO NOT do these transfers justice as they must be seen to be believed and it'll be something you'll be watching over and over again. The subtitles can be hard to read at times however, since rather than yellow subtitles, Criterion went with white which doesn't really work with some scenes like some on Odo Island.

Godzilla is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1.

 

 Audio: Star Rating


Godzilla's roar has never sounded so clean and menacing while Akira Ifukube’s score is far more powerful that it’s ever been thanks to the uncompressed LPCM 1.0 audio for both films. You can almost hear every instrument being played as if it were recorded yesterday. It sounds great and if you have a pair of nice headphones or a good sound system. The audio is very clean with no hissing or popping and is beautiful to hear.

 

 Extras: Star Rating


-Trailers: The trailers for Gojira and Godzilla are both here and the results are uneven. Godzilla’s trailer looks to be in far better shape and is easier on the eyes brightness wise than Gojira.But, they're the best there is and the fact that they even exist at all is nothing short of a miracle due to how trailers were thrown away after they outlived their usefulness. 

-Commentaries: While David Kalat is a fountain of information, I personally like it when the commentator actually pays attention to what going on on screen. Instances of this are few and far between. That’s not to say that what Kalat has to say isn’t interesting; it just that it has nothing to do what’s on screen which is offputting. I do admire his enthusiasm and love of his subject however. If you have the Classic Media version of Gojira, put on that commentary and listen to it while you watch the film would be my advice if you want to learn more about the film as you watch it.

-Interviews: The interviews are a great highlight. New interviews with Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima are interesting as always. The same goes for the interview about the photographic effects with Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai which runs for a good 30 minutes. At about 2 and a half minutes in, some lighting problems occurred while filming the interview. This is not your TV/monitor. It’s fairly brief and gets fixed. Another highlight is the Akira Ifukube interview which clocks in at 50 minutes!

-Featurettes: The featurettes on the disk include “The Unluckiest Dragon”, a very interesting featurette about the fishing boat the “Diago Fukuryu Maru”’s history and impact on the film, and another featurette about the photographic effects that were used in the making of Godzilla. There’s a wealth of content on this disk totaling 7 ½ hours of content!

-Cover artwork: The box cover artwork done by artist Bill Sienkiewicz is…ok. It’ll do what it's supposed to do which is be eye catching on the store shelf. The pose for Godzilla is interesting even though the tail looks likes it’s separate from the body. The colors are a mix of white, brown, and yellow and it's not the most attractive color scheme.  I personally feel that there are artists more suitable like Bob Eggleton or Matt Frank to design a cover for Godzilla.

-Packaging: Godzilla is packaged in a cardboard case with a foldout inlay. It’s an interesting design and confusing at the same time. The Godzilla depicted in the artwork on the back of the inlay, the popup design, and on the disk itself is not the version of Godzilla in which this release celebrates-it’s from a film that was made almost 50 years later: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002). It’s a mysterious choice and one that has angered and confused many fans.  The package also includes a booklet with info on the transfer process and has an essay on the film written by critic J.Hoberman. Overall though, it’s what’s on the disk that matters. It just doesn’t make it the “perfect package”.

 

 Overview: Star Rating


This is not the “perfect” release that it could have been which is a shame. A better commentary and even an image gallery showing set photos, movie posters and the like (regardless of the reasoning behind not including an image gallery, this is supposed to be the definitive version and an image gallery is needed to help show the history of the film) was a missed opportunity to show fans new and old the history of such a landmark film. Does this mean this release isn’t worth picking up? NO! Having both Gojira and Godzilla King of the Monsters in restored HD is a dream come true for many fans and it would be a great introduction to the franchise for new comers. The supplemental material is top notch but what drags the score down from 5 out of 5 is the poor choice in artwork on the inlay and disk itself, the commentaries, and the lack of a simple image gallery.  When all is said and done, I can’t recommend this enough if only for the beautiful transfers of both films. Getting it on blu-ray is highly recommended.  Hold on to your Classic Media copy of Gojira if you have it though. The featurettes on that set contain additional information on the film that the Criterion version doesn’t.