Saturday, February 11, 2012


During the years of the classic monster movies, King Kong was the 8th Wonder of the World. In post-war modern times the legendary Gojira (Godzilla in English) can lay claim to the most spectacular giant monster. The japanese even coined a phrase for this and subsequently unleashed giant beasts from Tokyo -- "Kaiju".

The 1954 Toho Productions flick has enjoyed numerous releases throughout the years on home video. Now, The Criterion Collection may have gifted us Kaiju lovers with the definitive and best-ever version in Blu-ray.

The the disc contains these features:

•New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

•New high-definition digital restoration of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Terry Morse’s 1956 reworking of the original (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

•Audio commentary for both movies by film historian David Kalat

•New interviews with actors Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima and special effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai

•Interview with legendary Godzilla score composer Akira Ifukube

•Featurette detailing Godzilla’s photographic effects, introduced by special effects director Koichi Kawakita and special effects photographer Motoyoshi Tomioka

•New interview with Japanese-film critic Tadao Sato

•The Unluckiest Dragon, an illustrated audio essay featuring historian Greg Pflugfelder describing the tragic fate of the fishing vessel Daigo Fukuryu Maru, a real-life event that inspired Godzilla

•Trailers for Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters

•New English subtitle translation

•PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman

Sympathy for a monster? For Time, critic Steven James Snyder writes, “As I became immersed in the new Criterion Collection release of Ishiro Honda’s original Godzilla this past weekend, I found myself moved to tears—mourning for a doomed dino.” Snyder, who finds some “serious intellectual heft behind all that monster stomping, and some searing things to say about human nature,” wasn’t the only one surprised when revisiting the monster-movie classic. For Home Theater Forum, Matt Hough reminds us that it’s “far more than a popcorn thriller. It’s in many ways a thoughtful and touching piece of popular entertainment with a serious theme at its core.” And San Francisco Weekly’s Casey Burchby exclaims, “Watching Godzilla for the godzillionth time was even more rewarding than I had anticipated. It’s one of those movies that is far better than its iconography and countless parodies might suggest.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Utterly brilliant film and well deserving the Criterion treatment. Has to be viewed in its original Japanese form to really appreciate it.


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