DVD Title
GODZILLA
International Title
GODZILLA
DVD Length Original Length
140 Minutes 140 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Tristar 1998
Language Subtitles
English English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 2.0 Stereo, 5.1 Surround
Extras
.
Menus (English)
.
Chapters (28)
.
Trailers: GODZILLA (Teaser 1), GODZILLA (Teaser 2), GODZILLA, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Mothra
.
Featurette on GODZILLA (7 minutes)
.
Godzilla takes New York (before and after CGI shots)
.
Bios: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin
.
Cast Filmographies: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria
.
Photo Gallery (15)
.
Music Video: Heroes - The Wallflowers (4 minutes)
.
Audio Commentary by Volker Engel, Karen Goulekas, and Patrick Tatopoulos
Captures
Review

Generally regarded as the best done Godzilla DVD release of the 1990's, a title which, unfortunately, doesn't mean a great deal based on the lackluster releases that hit the foramt in its early days. Still, one can't discount that this disc excels in most regards, with good video quality (especially for a disc this old), a flawless audio presentation, and a large amount of extras to look over.


 Video:

A great video presentation for this early stage in the medium's life, although some of its faults are more apparent by today's standards. The colors, for example, look good on this release, but they don't sport the rich contrast that makes DVDs such a vast improvement over VHS. The brightness level is also set a little low here, making some of the sequences a little hard to make out. Digital inconsistencies also appear on this release, although aren't overt. Generally speaking, some artifacting from the compression methods can be noticed, while some edge enhancement looks like it might have been utilized as well; however, these are masked pretty well by the dark nature of the movie.

In regards to the shape of the print used for the transfer: excellent, as one could only hope for a film that wasn't even a year old at this stage. There is some slight grain to be noticed, but it's very minor, while there are no scratches to be seen during the course of the movie, save the intentional segments like that introduction. To make matters even better, GODZILLA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, or widescreen.


 Audio:

Tristar shows people how it's done with this early, and generally outstanding, audio presentation for GODZILLA. The disc includes two audio tracks, one is a 2.0 stereo presentation while the other is a 5.1 surround presentation. Both tracks are flawless, in terms of inconsistencies, while they both boast a rich array of speaker distinction that is sure to give even the most elaborate audio setups a workout.

The audio tracks can be accompanied by English subtitles, which can be toggled on or off.


 Extras:

For a 1998 release, Tristar should be commended for their efforts, as there is an array of supplemental content. The quality of them is a little shaky at times, though. A good example of this would be the "Godzilla takes New York" feature, which sports heavy amounts of edge enhancement and it would have been far more useful had the shots been much larger to examine, as seen here. This also apply's for the pictures found in the filmographies, bios, and the photo gallery, although all of them are still generally worth looking over for those interested.

As for the video based extras, there are a couple to entertain people here. Leading the pack would be the nice collection of trailers, which includes two teasers for GODZILLA, the regular theatrical trailer, and two more trailers for: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) and Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). The latter two are a little iffy in terms of quality, as both sport a thick layer of grain and also have some rather loose, and what looks to be made intentionally cheesy, subtitling for them.

Also included on this disc is a "Featurette" for the movie, which is a kind of "mockumentary", in the vein of Spinal Tap. Unfortunately, the laughs are nonexistent, although some might be interested to hear the movie crew's ego on parade as they triumphantly brag about how much better their rendering of the character was compared with the Japanese offerings (general hint: if you ever remake a movie, don't go off and call the inspiration(s) inferior, as you will likely only anger your movie's target audience). The last video extra here is a music video, Heroes, done by the Wallflowers. In regards to the quality of both of them, they appear to be heavily compressed, both sporting artifacting and very noticeable shimmering, a rainbow band of colors on fine details as seen here.

Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with Volker Engel (visual effects supervisor), Karen Goulekas (associate visual effects supervisor), and Patrick Tatopoulos (creature designer and supervisor). Sadly, the commentary isn't very good, while the best praise to be awarded it is simply that "it's better than nothing." Karen seems out of place here, and her role as a "associate visual effects supervisor" seems like it might have been an overstatement as her comments tend to be along the lines of: "This is cool right here..." and "I think we added some effects to this scene..."; the latter of which is very aggravating, as one would have hoped that she at least had a slight hint as to what she was talking about. There is one inconsistency to be noted too, which is a odd buzzing noise in the audio commentary track that occurs during the egg hatching scene and the ending; thankfully, they are brief occurrences though.


 Overview:

Bottom line, Tristar did a fantastic job with this release back in the day. The disc also tends to retail for dirt cheap, so it's a hard DVD not to recommend unless one has a large distaste for the movie itself or electing to go for the Blu-ray release. If one is looking for a DVD release to get, though, it's advised to pick up the GODZILLA: Monster Edition DVD. This offers everything this release has along with some concept art and some episodes from Godzilla: The Series as well.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box sets: Starter 4 pack, Godzilla DVD Collection (3 pack), Godzilla DVD Collection (5 pack), 50th Anniversary Godzilla Collection.

- Anthony Romero  
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