ROBERT W. SAINTJOHN | San Francisco, CA | 09/23/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Part of me is really pleased that these classics are available on the market again (and Rodan on DVD for the first time!). And the box design is truly nice, the best that kaiju films have ever seen in the U.S.But Classic Media (and Toho, and Sony) should be ashamed of themselves for the really poor quality of the transfer itself. Others have written plenty here about it, and I couldn't agree more. For the first time, I will actually be holding onto my VHS versions as the sound and image quality of some of my VHS is far better than what was presented here. Of course, what do we expect for [money] But I think many of us would *gladly* pay twice as much for just *one* of these movies presented with a clean image, widescreen if available, subtitled original available, and decent extras (well, maybe not for Godzilla's Revenge ;-)I had really hoped for so much more, especially as these might preceed some release from Sony/CTHE of the more recent (and excellent) films "Godzilla vs Megagairus" and "Godzilla|Mothra|King Ghidorah". But disasters like this set, the American GINO film, and the general treatment of Godzilla movies over the years leads me to believe that those who control this market just don't care about the property, or those who love it.So I'd like to see the set sell well so that Godzilla continues to get the exposure deserved, and perhaps to encourage the studios involved to provide us with better quality product..."
Israel Jovanovich | Seattle, WA USA | 11/24/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I've waited for years for someone to do the original Godzilla series justice but obviously I'll have to wait longer. This is an unusual selection, probably due to copyright laws; two of the most dismal episodes in the series, "Terror of Mechagodzilla" & "Godzilla's Revenge", make it into what is called the 'Ultimate Collection'. Terrible transfers, video-quality sound and no widescreen presentations. It pains me that American distributors continue to treat these classic films as unworthy of serious attention. Anyone who has experienced the pure joy of "Son of Godzilla", "Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster", "Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster", "Ghidrah the Tree-Headed Monster" or "Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster" will share my disappointment in this DVD box set. I would love to get the entire series in widescreen and especially with the option to view the films as they appeared in the original Japanese as well as the English dubs. Special features? I'd even sacrifice those for a clean transfer and 5.1 surround sound. This isn't to suggest that this box set contains any special features, just the occasional trailer and the ubiquitous advertisement for a Godzilla-themed video game. What I wouldn't give for the chance to see "Godzilla King of the Monsters" in the original Japanese and without the Raymond Burr scenes! Someday..."
A Few Shortcomings, But Still Fun
Robert I. Hedges | 06/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of people are dwelling on the negatives of this box set, but I want to talk about the positives. Maybe it isn't truly the ultimate collection, but it's enjoyable, and the quality is far better than was available on video, and unbelievably better than watching it on late night UHF television in the 1960s and 1970s. I too, subtracted a star for the lack of widescreen format, although, to me that is largely irrelevant, as this is the way I remember these films from when I saw them on TV as a kid. I have seen a lot of complaints about dirty and abused transfers, but, honestly, I think the DVD quality looks reasonable for films of this age, certainly better than many films of this vintage that are currently available on DVD. All told, my assessment of the prints is that they aren't perfect, but they are still very enjoyable to watch, and more than adequate.As far as the collection itself goes, I might have made other choices for the five movies, likely leaving out 'Terror of Mechagodzilla', and 'Godzilla's Revenge' (although if you have kids, 'Revenge' is a good way to initially expose them the Godzilla.) It is wonderful to see 'Rodan' in the collection. To my recollection, this is the first time 'Rodan' has been on DVD, so for that alone, the set is worth the money.It is easy to pick these movies apart from a technical point of view, or to endlessly argue about which movies would be better included in an "ultimate" collection, but until someone releases the entire series in widescreen, with tons of extras, you can't make everybody happy, and even then, people will be complaining about the $200 price tag. Take this set for what it is: five fun monster movies. With that in mind, sit back, relax, and enjoy."
Alexander E. Paulsen | Jacksonville, Fl United States | 09/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You spend a lot of money for education, read scholarly books and see interesting movies and watch Jeopardy. But hiding secretly in the back of my DVD colection away from prying yes.... GODZILLA!
I remember as a kid staying up late at night to watch the movies on TV. The stations in NY played them all the time on Saturdays and late night. The local theaters would play double and triple features and we'd wait in line, pay our 35 cents and stay for all of them. Sometimes twice. Imagine watching Godzilla movies from 10 am until midnight! Popcorn was dime and the drinks a nickel. Rocking!
I still love the movies but now I understand them a little better. They're not just monster movies. Well, they are monster movies, but like the Japanese, not everything is visible on the surface.
First of all this is great collection. I think the quality is just fine, I am happy with the video and the sound, no complaints. The movies, oh the movies.
The first is still the best. Yeah, the old boy strolls through Tokyo like he has arthritis, yeah the models look like, well, models, yeah you can almost see the zipper on the back of the monster suit. But the quality of the acting is suprisingly good. Not only that but it was scary. It has suspense and in some scenes you actually felt the fear and the horror of being chased and stalked by a 400 foot fire breathing radioactive monster. Not bad really.
After watching the movies again ( and again ) I realized that they are realy more than just monster movies. Godzilla is a Japanese icon. He went from destroyer in the first movie and eventually morphed into Japans protector and hero.
I see a parallel to postwar Japanese cultural history, I can all be really summed up in Godzilla movies. In the first movie he was killer radioactive beast bent of destruction. People died. Raymond Burr starred as an Amercan jouralist and if you watch the role here you see a microcosm of Japans relationship with the US in the interactions. The Japanese being the only nation ever nuked, were understandably afraid of things radioactive. Yet the US sort of played the role of big brother and guide and protector while they showed their humility in front of the US. This can be seen quite clearly in this move. Later, when the Japanese accepted things nuclear, Godzilla became less of a threat and more of a partner or at least one with concurrent ends. Hey, if the old boy kicks Ghidras ass, then that gets Ghidra off Tokyo's case. Later the Japanese could actualy summon the old boy to helkp out in a fix.
With Mecha-Godzilla, the Japanese examined their relationship with advanced technology and the implications of getting too technological and forgetting their roots. Godzilla wins - the real one, the natural one.
The films all had detectable themes relating to Japans cultural and technological standing. From Japans embracing of technology, to their interest in spaceflight, concern for the environment and desire to take their place in world commerce and culture. It's all here.
Anyone wanting to study Japanese cultural history from the end of WWII I would say the these movies would as valuable as any reference material on the subject. Not to mention the girls are all pretty, the acting quality is acceptable and the movies are fun as hell!
I just hope my friends don't catch me watching them. Uncultured louts all of them! They will just never understand.
I can't wait to share these with my granddaughter.
A collection of classic Godzilla films
Ryan Clark | Missouri | 04/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While the set itself looks nice in the artbox, and is at a good value price, skip this release. On September 5, 2006 Classic Media will be re-releasing these same films, plus Godzilla Raids Again and Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster (but minus Rodan, which is rumored for re-release later). The new releases will feature both American and Japanese versions of the movies, and in their original aspect ratios (and with great extras!). Bottom line, only get this set if you're a casual movie viewer and don't care if your films are hacked up to be formatted to the screen. If you're a hardcore G-fan, I'm sure you already knew all this. (I would like to add, the rating I gave reflects the film presentation, not the actual films themselves.)"