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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Gojira Mosura Kingu Gidora: Daikaiju soukougeki) (2001)

"Godzilla will return. We don't have much time left....You must wake the Thousand-Year-Old Dragon before it's too late, and maybe together they can stop him."
- Hirotoshi Isayama (Eisei Amamoto)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: January 25, 2004

Stars: Chiharu Niyama, Ryudo Uzaki, Masahiro Kobayashi, Shiro Sano, Kaho Minami
Other Stars: Takashi Nishima, Shinya Owada, Kunio Murai, Mizuho Yoshida, Akria Ohashi, Rie Ota, Eisei Amamoto
Director: Shusuke Kaneko

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (giant monster mayhem, brief cruelty to animals)
Run Time: 01h:45m:14s
Release Date: January 27, 2004
UPC: 043396100145
Genre: fantasy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B+D+A D

DVD Review

Shusuke Kaneko no doubt attracted the attention of Toho Studios when he revitalized the completely moribund Gamera series in the late 1990s. Offered the chance to play in the world of Gojira, Kaneko jumped at it, and the result is an affectionate homage to the completely overloaded Destroy All Monsters (1971). But the story here, while not any more plausible than that unforgettable guilty pleasure, does have some deeper resonances that make it an interesting picture in its own right.

Even though the series was just completely rebooted two movies ago, once again complete amnesia is feigned by Toho, with only the 1954 attack by Godzilla having happened in this picture. Now nearly fifty years later, there are strange occurrences (all identified as being Godzilla) around Japan. Reporter Yuri Tachibana (Chiharu Niyama) is investigating the case when she stumbles onto an old book called The Guardian Monsters, which seems to have some connection to the places where these sightings have occurred. An aged prophet (Eisei Amamoto), who may or may not actually be alive, warns her that Godzilla (Mizuho Yoshida) is about to return and that his traditional enemies Mothra, Barugon (Rie Ota) and three-headed gold dragon King Ghidorah (Akira Ohashi) must be revived from their ancient slumbers. Before long, it's monster battle after monster battle as the Japanese Special Defense Forces can mostly only stand and watch.

It's because of this lack of human involvement that things tend to get less interesting in the second half. While I love battles of guys in rubber suits as much as anyone, this does get a little repetitive. In particular, Mothra is highly ineffective. I've never quite understood the character at all, and his tiny companions are nowhere to be seen here. The best fight is the multi-round battle between Godzilla and Ghidorah, which features some entertainingly wild stunt work. But more intriguing are hints in the first half that explain Godzilla's motivations for attacking Japan: he may be a container of the restless souls of the dead killed during World War II, primarily victims of the Japanese, and determined to wreak vengeance. This somewhat surprising theme of war-guilt being expressed through Godzilla, instead of just fear over nuclear weapons and power, fuels this installment of the Godzilla saga with a historical resonance that lifts it far above many of its forebears.

The cast is adequate for what they're called upon to do, but few of the human characters are memorably portrayed. Niyama isn't able to command onscreen attention as well as Misato Tanaka in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, but she manages a few decent moments. The rest of the characters are instantly forgettable; indeed, I'm looking at a list of characters I wrote down while watching the film and can't remember who most of them were. The focus is all on the monsters, and while that notion definitely has some merit, a more solid set of human characters could have lifted this up to being much better than it was.

But it's very nice indeed to finally get a Japanese Godzilla film in the original language, uncut, with English subtitles, for the first time ever. Since this is the 25th screen appearance of Godzilla (I don't count the American one; the opening scene features a very funny slap at the disastrous American CGI Godzilla), and his fiftieth anniversary, that somehow seems fitting.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic 'scope frame features some good color and black levels. But that's the extent of the praise I can lavish. This disc features terrible amounts of edge enhancement that create great rings around high contrast items. The lettering on the credits is unreadable as a result. Fine detail is substantially lost in all the artificial oversharpening. This is unsightly and reprehensible, especially for a movie that's barely two years old.

Image Transfer Grade: D+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Japanese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Luckily, the sound doesn't suffer as badly as the video. There's a highly enveloping soundstage that makes excellent use of the surrounds. Everything is quite clean, and there's a ton of bass, particularly when the giant monsters go on the, um, all-out attack.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Alien Hunter, Godzilla (1998), The Medallion, Returner, So Close
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than five unrelated widescreen trailers, some of which are not anamorphic, there are no extras whatsoever. Chaptering is the usual 28 stops mandated by Columbia, which allows for plenty of ability to find the monster rumpuses.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Get your scorecards! Can't tell the monsters without a scorecard! The joy of a Japanese Godzilla film with a bit more substance than usual, not to mention a ton of monster fights, is tempered a little by the slipshod video transfer work and lack of extras.

 


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