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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (Gojira-Ebira-Mosura: Nankai no daiketto) (1966)

"Let's wake Godzilla up!"
- Ichino (Chotaro Togin)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: February 17, 2005

Stars: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Akihiko Hirata, Jun Tazaki, Hideo Sunazuka, Chotaro Togin, Toru Watanabe
Other Stars: Toru Iubki, Hideko Amamoto, Ikio Sawamura, Hisaya Ito, Chieko Nakakita
Director: Jun Fukuda

MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi monster violence
Run Time: 01h:27m:11s
Release Date: February 08, 2005
UPC: 043396076259
Genre: fantasy


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

DVD Review

Those who dislike the Godzilla series frequently point to a certain predictability in the stories and situations. Godzilla or some other monster stomps Tokyo, the humans are unable to stop the mayhem and usually make matters worse, and another monster (or Godzilla himself) comes to save the day. But the formula went completely out the window in this most unusual episode in the long-running series.

A young man, Ryota (Toru Watanabe) is obsessed with finding out what happened to his brother Yata (Toru Ibuki), who was on a boat lost with all hands in a storm. With friends Nita (Hideo Sunazaka) and comic relief Ichino (Chotaro Togin), Ryota swipes a yacht and heads for the South Seas to try and find Yata, whom Ryota is convinced is still alive. Along for the ride is burglar Yoshimura (Kumi Mizuno), who had posed as the owner of the yacht. During a storm, this hapless foursome runs into Ebirah, the title sea monster and gets shipwrecked on a desert island. But it's not quite deserted, since a paramilitary group, the Red Bamboo, is enslaving the native population there to produce chemicals for nefarious purposes. The fugitive group may have hope, however, when they discover Godzilla lies sleeping underneath the surface of the island.

Since nearly all the action takes place on an island, Godzilla doesn't get to smash buildings as much as usual (though there are some convenient military installations). He has two significant run-ins with Ebirah, which is described in the subtitles as a giant lobster, but it looks more like a giant crayfish to me. It's some kind of gigantic crustacean, in any event. Added to the mix is Mothra, dwelling on the nearby Infant Island, and worshipped by its natives, who seem to do nothing but sing Mothra's praises and dance festive dances for the giant moth, which seems pretty happy to accept them. Nice work if you can get it.

This picture is full of oddities, starting with Godzilla's behavior. This is the only film I can recall where Godzilla picks up rocks and throws them. On one occasion, he even sits down, which I can't remember seeing anywhere else either. The lengthy dance sequences on Infant Island are a bit much, but the chant to Mothra is catchy enough that it's not too irritating. Weird pop culture items, such as a dance marathon, are injected into the picture too, and the goals and motives of the Red Bamboo are never quite set forth with clarity, at least in the English subtitles. The monster battles are certainly entertaining, with a fairly nasty climax to the final Godzilla/Ebirah fight.

Even the human cast is more entertaining than usual, with more than the cardboard characters that we've come to expect from lesser titles in the series. All of the human leads are interesting, even the odious comic relief, Ichino. You could do a lot worse than this entertaining set of exploits, even if the Big Green himself doesn't wake up until nearly two-thirds through the picture.

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 Tohoscope image looks quite good, with very nice color and reasonably good black levels. There's a bit of digital edge enhancement and artificial sharpening that's noticeable from time to time. There's hardly any frame damage, however, so most viewers will be satisfied.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoJapanese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono mixes have vivid sound quality. This is a first-rate mono mix, with little hiss and no extraneous noise. The English dubbing is atrocious, which is no big surprise. Masaru Sato's jazzy score, on the other hand, sounds quite good, with excellent presence and decent enough range for the mid-'60s.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Steamboy, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Mirror Mask, Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S.
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Once again, there are no significant extras other than some extraneous trailers (and no trailer for the feature is included). The subtitles seem to be translations rather than dubtitles, since they frequently don't match precisely.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

A surprisingly inventive outing for Gojira and Mosura, with a different setting and some unusually intriguing character work.

 


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