DVD Title
Godzilla: Final Wars
International Title
Godzilla: Final Wars
DVD Length Original Length
125 Minutes 125 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Sony Pictures 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English English, French
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.40:1 (Anamorphic) 5.1 Surround
Extras
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Menus (English)
.
Chapters (28)
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Trailers: Steamboy (US), Godzilla Compilation DVD Trailer, Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, Dust to Glory, Madison, MirrorMask
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B-Roll Featurette (18 minutes)
Captures
Review

In what looks to be the last Godzilla title from the company, and the only one not released under the Tristar label, Godzilla: Final Wars is, sadly, not up to par with Sony's better efforts. Their results on the video presentation, for example, are notably mixed, and a far cry from what was seen on their Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster DVDs. Thankfully, the audio is top notch, while the disc does have some sparse supplemental content, so at least its not bare bones like other DVDs from the firm.


 Video:

Godzilla: Final Wars is a very difficult film to analyze the video quality of. To those who have never seen the movie before, the film utilizes a ton of color filters, differing from yellow for Anguirus in China to green for Kamacuras in Paris, and has sequences with intentional grain added, such as the Gotengo taking off (why this was done, I haven't a clue).

Keeping these aspects in mind, how does this DVD fare? Unfortunately, its results are extremely mixed. The largest problem with this release is that someone went out of control with the brightness and contrast settings. The end result is that some sequences, such as night scenes, look good with a nice level of black as details are clearly visible. On the other hand, this also washes out a large number of scenes and makes bright light sources overpowering, such as here, here and here.

Thankfully, the other aspects of the video are handled much better. In fact, digital inconsistencies are handled perfectly, as artifacting is unnoticeable while the movie looks sharp with hardly any signs of edge enhancement. The brightness level kind of overpowers the colors, as do the movie's own filters, but sometimes they do look vibrant. The print used for the transfer, which is the International dubbed version (so the Chinese is not subtitled into Japanese on screen, and the end credits are in English), is in good shape with no scratches. However, there does appear to be a good deal of grain through out.

In the end, the video presentation is a trade off. Some might be ok with the fact that the bulk of the movie looks fine and only some sequences look horrendous (as in three examples above), while others simply won't.

The movie is presented in its original original aspect ratio of 2.40:1, which is even wider than the normal Toho Scope ratio, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

The audio presentation on this disc is, without question, its most solid feature. Sony has packed this release with two audio tracks: the first is a 5.1 surround presentation of the international version (so Don Frye is not dubbed as he was for the Japanese release), and the second is Toho's English dub that is also presented in 5.1 surround. Overall, the two tracks fare very well, with no noticeable audio distortions. Speaker distinction is also great, particularly on the dubbed track, although it makes the voice acting seem even more timid as a result.

The audio tracks are accompanied by, removable, English or French subtitles. Thankfully, unlike some other discs from the company, these subtitles do not correspond with the dubbed version, although the translations are a little loose at times (seems someone thought that they were saying phaser instead of maser too).


 Extras:
Star Rating

There are two extras to be found here. The first is a series of previews, none of which are the original Japanese but ones that were created to promote Sony's DVD releases. Unfortunately, three of these play automatically when the disc is inserted into a player, which makes their inclusion more intrusive than anything of interest.

The second extra is a "B-Roll", or behind the scenes, feature on the film. Essentially this 18 minute video documents a couple of the monster sequences, showing before and after's. Unfortunately, there is no narration or any other sort of guide to add more insight into what the viewer is watching. Overall, I actually found it rather boring, but I'm sure others will find the behind the scenes look at the segments covered (which include the battle at Mt. Fuji, the battle with Kumonga, the battle with Gigan and Monster-X, and scenes of Godzilla swimming after the Gotengo) to be more interesting.


 Overview:
Bottom line, Godzilla: Final Wars is a mixed blessing with some aspects coming together well, while others leave some to be desired. It's certainly not one of the company's better releases, and the extras do pale in contrast to the region 2 discs. However, chances are that this DVD will find its way into the collections of nearly all US Godzilla fans, regardless.
-Anthony Romeros
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