DVD Title
 Terror of Mechagodzilla
International Title
 Terror of Mechagodzilla
Movie Length: 84/89 minutes Original Length: 84 minutes
Company: Classic Media Release: 2008
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic: Yes
Region: 1Discs: 1
  
Language/Sound: Order
Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
Subtitles:
English
Extras
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (9/9)
· Commentary on the US version with Keith Aiken and Bob Johnson (English)
· The Women of Godzilla (11 Minutes)
· Image Gallery
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

The last of Classic Media's Godzilla releases is also, fittingly, the final Godzilla film to be helmed by director Ishiro Honda. For this disc, the company turns in another fine effort that sports a nice video presentation, although the audio is lacking in some respects but this is a little easier to overlook thanks to a nice assortment of supplemental material.


 Video: Star Rating

This DVD marks another good achievement from Classic Media for their more recent Godzilla titles, although it does have some slight flaws just the same. Now the DVD itself contains two different version of the movie, the first of which is the original Japanese cut. As expected, this video track is pretty much a direct transfer from the region 2 release that Toho created around the time Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) was to be released. The quality on this track is overall fairly good, featuring distinct colors, although they could have been a shade more vibrant. There are also hardly any signs of print damage and very little grain to be seen on the video track. The movie does look a little soft, though, but I guess this can be somewhat expected with so much content packed onto one DVD.

Now the second video track present on this release is the "extended" US version. Now the "extended" edition of the film is the one that aired on TV in the late 1970's and while containing nearly all of the original cut, besides some of the operating scene, it also features a lot of stock footage from Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) and All Monsters Attack (1969) to pad out a segment at the start that, loosely, goes over the history of Godzilla. Sadly, although not unexpectedly, the quality on this "history" segment is a little lacking. Besides the fact that it's a 1.33:1 aspect ratio that has been cropped to 1.85:1, as seen here, there is also noticeable discoloring and a ton of grain. Thankfully, Classic Media, after the opening credits, reverts to the same source used for the Japanese version for the reminder of the duration, which has about the same level of quality. In fact, in this case, the level of compression committed to both looks about on par, although, for whatever reason, the US version is ever so slightly darker. This is only really apparent on side-by-side comparisons, though, such as this:

Japanese - US

Overall, both are pretty well persevered, and even though the added footage for the TV version is in poor condition it's great to see it included on an official release, since so many fans have never seen it before.

Terror of Mechagodzilla is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 across the two versions, save the opening of the US which is 1.85:1, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

There are two audio tracks to be found on this release, each of which is tied to a specific version of the movie. Both of these are mono presentations, with the first being the Japanese audio which is, naturally, attached to the Japanese version of the film. The quality found on this track is pretty solid all around, with dialogue being clear and no noticeable pops or crackles heard during its duration. Unfortunately, the same praise can not be said of the English track, which is attached to the US version. Now, as previously stated, this release contains the extended version of the movie that aired on TV in 1978. Due to the back story segment added to the start, English narration is present to explain the character. This narration runs through the early stock footage and up through the opening credits. Understandably, the source found for this was quite poor and the dialogue is noticeably harsh and muffled sounding. What makes this worse, though, is that this audio track runs for the entire feature, meaning that the quality suffers through out. A more ideal choice would have been to switch to a better maintained version of the International dub once the opening credits were finished, but, sadly, such a measure was not taken.

The Japanese version can be accompanied with, removable, English subtitles.


 Extras:

This disc features a decent mix of supplemental content, ranging from a short documentary to an image gallery and finally a commentary track. Now the video short, titled "The Women of Godzilla", is written and narrated by Steve Ryfle for this DVD. The short covers a lot of ground for the actresses of the Showa era Toho sci-fi films, including those outside of the Godzilla series such as Tetsuko Kobayashi from Atragon (1963). Following this is a gallery for the movie that features both production stills, largely black and white, and posters created for the film.

Lastly, this DVD also has an audio commentary track, which is attached to the US version, and is provided by Keith Aiken and Bob Johnson. Those familiar with the work of the two should have high hopes for the amount of information packed into the track here, and the two certainly don't disappoint. The way additional content is integrated in, such as promotional audio material for Terror of Mechagodzilla created for the English markets, is an especially nice touch. The voice work in this particular commentary track is also good, although of the two Aiken clearly has a greater sense of vitality in his delivery. The main draw, though, of this track is the wealth information available, which is also well connected with the events going on screen, unlike some of the other commentators who have contributed to Classic Media's "Toho Master Collection".

Unfortunately, such as with the All Monsters Attack DVD, despite what the back of the box says this disc does not have the movie's original trailer.


 Overview:

Bottom line, while not the best effort from Classic Media, which arguably goes to their Invasion of Astro-Monster DVD, this release is still fairly commendable and easily the best offering of this particular film on region 1 DVD without question.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set: The Godzilla Collection.