DVD Title
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
91 Minutes
91 Minutes
Company
Year of Manufacture
Tristar
2004
Language
Subtitles
English, Japanese
English
Region
Aspect Ratio
1
2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
Color
Sound
Color
5.1 Surround
Extras
- Menus (English)
-
Chapters (28)
- Trailers: Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (Teaser), Godzilla the Series - Monster Wars, Kaena: The Prophecy (US), Steamboy (US), Godzilla Compilation DVD Trailer, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
- Behind the Scenes Featurette (22 minutes)
Captures
Comments

One of two Godzilla DVDs released by Tristar in December of 2004, the region 1 Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. DVD sadly falls short of what one has come to expect from Tristar's more recent Toho releases. The video quality found on the disc presents a combination of minor problems, while the audio presentation is generally good, save for the subtitle work; fortunately, the disc's extras are its saving grace when compared with other region 1 Godzilla titles.

Video:
After some excellent Godzilla DVDs of three of the films from the 1970s, one was likely expecting Tristar to do an amazing job when it came to a movie that was hardly a year old. Sadly, that's not the case. The film's video presentation is marred by a lot of minor problems that, when scene as a whole, leave some to be desired in the end. The colors in the film, an aspect for which Tristar is often so good with, are slightly off here. Yes, they do appear vibrant on this release, as with other titles from the company, with deep reds and blues coming in wonderfully; however, this is offset by the fact that the magenta level in the color scheme is too high here, giving the film a slight purple tint throughout. It's only a small discoloring, nothing like the blatant discoloring on ADV's Destroy All Monsters release though, but it does offset what would have been an amazing color presentation otherwise. As for the brightness level, it's set just right here, with the numerous night scenes being easy to spot details during; something which I suppose Tristar deserves praise for, as this was a problem on their three October releases. In regards to digital inconstancies, like artifacting or shimmering, they are minimal during the film itself, as it looks sharp with very little pixilation.

The print used in the transfer is the International version of Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., and if Tristar were up for any immediate suggestions for their titles it would be to skip Toho's own International version altogether, or at least use the Japanese footage for the title sequence and simply subtitle the English title at the bottom. As usual, Toho's International department has ruined the excellent title sequence to this film by placing English text directly over the Japanese text (as seen here) with the end result being that both are hardly legible. As for the shape of the print used, it's definitely not what one would expect for a film of this age. Scratches do appear on occasion during the film, while a thick layer of grain (most obvious in certain shots, like this one) plagues most of the movie. Thankfully, most of the film takes place at night, which manages to mask this rather well. In a bit of good news, the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is maintained on this DVD and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.

Audio:
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. contains two audio tracks: a 5.1 surround presentation of the original Japanese audio track along with a 5.1 surround presentation of the film's International English dubbed track. Ignoring the awful voice readings for the dubbed track, both sound great here. There is a great sound distinction for the multi-speaker presentation during the movie, as explosions and roars appear to come from all directions. It's what one has come to expect from Tristar in this department. The dubbed track is recorded a little low here, at least when compared with the Japanese audio track, but otherwise it's a faithful recreation.

Sadly, despite the exceptional quality of the audio tracks themselves, a old problem with the subtitles rears its ugly head here once more. Instead of translating the Japanese track for the removable English subtitles, Tristar instead opted to simply subtitle the dubbed track. It's more or less word for word too, even down to calling Kiryu "Mecha G" or "Mechagodzilla" depending on how it's stated in the dubbed track. This causes numerous problems, as Toho's international department loves to deviate from the source material on occasion when dubbing films. Even for people who have no understanding of the language itself, or have never seen another subtitled print of the film, they should be able to spot that Tristar is subtitling the English track here. In fact, there are moments in the film when dialogue was added in for the International version, which causes subtitles to appear on screen while no one is talking (seen during this scene, which has no dialogue in the Japanese version). It's sad to see this problem appear once again, as they seemed to realize their mistake starting with their release of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla only to repeat it here once again. The only good thing I can say about the subtitle job on this disc is that they actually translated the dialogue for the film's final scene, in the DNA chamber, which is silent on the dubbed track.

Extras:
The extras on this disc are what allow it to stand apart from previous Tristar Godzilla releases, although it still falls very short of their excellent Returner DVD. As with all of Tristar's releases, there are a varied number of trailers here. Most notable is the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. teaser trailer, but since that appeared on all three of Tristar's October Godzilla DVDs it doesn't stand out much here. Beyond some questionable trailer picks, like Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, there is also a "Godzilla Compilation Trailer". The "Compilation Trailer" is a two minute advertisement for the other Godzilla titles currently available from Tristar, excluding those from the Heisei series, while footage from Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. plays. Beyond the fact that it's nice to hear the Millennium series mentioned by name (although it likely still won't stop some fans from incorrectly calling it the "Shinsei" series), the Compilation Trailer features a very unenthusiastic voice-over and is better left forgotten.

Beyond the trailers, though, the disc also feature a lengthy (22 minutes long, in fact) behind the scenes look at the film. It's a nice feature, showing the techniques of the special effects staff and ending with footage from the movie itself of that particular scene to give an idea of what the final product ended up looking like. As for the quality of the footage, it's about what one would expect for a Behind the Scenes documentary. There is more artifacting noticeable, which makes the feature look blurry, while shimmering (a rainbow band of colors) appears on finer details. The brightness in general is turned up a little too high as well. Overall though, it's not enough to distract from the viewing experience much. The feature does have minimal (removable) English subtitles, which appear on screen to subtitle the Japanese text.

Overview:
Bottom line, it's the first time that Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. has been available on DVD in the United States, so fans will likely gobble up the disc regardless of quality. Overall, though, it's far from a bad DVD, but falls short in comparison with other Tristar releases this year. The Behind the Scenes feature is nice, though, and does compensate for some of the disc's other shortcomings in the end.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set(s): Godzilla DVD Collection (3 pack)

-Anthony Romero