DVD: Varan the Unbelievable (Reel Vault)


Varan the Unbelievable

English DVD Title (Region 1)

Varan the Unbelievable


English (2.0 Mono)

Aspect Ratio:

68 minutes
Reel Vault
1.33:1 Anamorphic





  • Chapters (8)



By: Anthony Romero

This disc contains the American version of Varan, released as Varan the Unbelievable. Before Tokyo Shock released their DVD version of the 1958 movie, the American version was the only way to see this film inside the US. While some might have hoped that this version would drift into obscurity, that's not the case. For those not familiar with the US edit, it slashes the runtime, removes a lot of scenes, changes the narrative and inserts a lot of additional scenes with new characters. It's one of the most drastic edits that has been done to a Toho movie. As for how it's presented on this DVD, it's an abysmal release, with poor video and audio quality and no extras at all.

As a side note, the legality of this release is in question. The packaging is suspect, making no mention of the company behind it or any copyright related to Toho. Furthermore, the DVD itself is actually a DVD-R. This release is, however, being made available through Amazon Prime by the company who released this DVD, Reel Vault. In reality, this is probably an unlicensed release and as a result the "order" button has been removed from the review. Instead, I would encourage fans to seek out the Tokyo Shock Varan the Unbelievable DVD instead.

 Video: Star Rating

The video quality is pretty awful on this. The best praise I can give is that I have seen worse on the format. Overall, the video track is very compressed, showing a lot of signs of artifacting in the form of pixilation while the image itself is very blurred, lacking sharpness. The contrast has also been bumped up a lot, causing the day scenes to be overly bright and obscuring out details. Source damage is also apparent, with a number of scratches, wear at the edges and more.

Varan is presented in a cropped ratio of 1.33:1. A good chunk of the frame is missing, as is overt on the opening movie title card when "The Unbelievable" part of the title is cropped a little.


 Audio: Star Rating

This disc offers an English audio track that lines up with the American version of the movie. The quality here is pretty lacking. Right off the bat, the movie starts with a series of pops and crackles in the audio, and while this level of damage in the audio source isn't constant it does appear from time to time. Clarity is also low with the sound coming through quite muddled. This is very overt during the musical segments, which sadly are not the themes done by Akira Ifukube but were replaced for the US version of the movie.


 Extras: Star Rating

This release has no supplemental content at all. In fact, it even lacks a menu, although there are 8 chapters that can be skipped to.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, ignore this release. Unless one has an undying curosity for the American version, it's best to skip this DVD and focus on finding earlier releases that contain the original Japanese version of the production and feature much better picture, audio and extra quality as well.