This package contains: * Godzilla (1954 Japanese Edition-english subtitles) — * King of the Monsters (1956 U.S. Release Edtion-english v/o dub) Featuring: — * Audio commentaries — * Original trailers — *"Making of the Suite"... more » Featurette
"If you are like most Americans, you have probably never seen the original, unadulterated "Godzilla" (Original title "Gojira." the name being a mix of the Japanese words for "gorilla" and "whale.") More familiar with the campy, badly dubbed and edited version that graced TV screens in the 70s, we have seen Raymond Burr awkwardly inserted into the plot, anti-American political sentiments removed, and a horde of mismatched dialogs and ridiculous translations. Well, we are in for a real treat!
The Japanese "Godzilla" is a serious film, starring Kurosawa veteran Takashi Shimura ("Seven Samurai," "Ikura"). (In fact, two of Shimura's films, "Godzilla" and "Seven Samurai" competed for the 1954 Japanese Academy Award for Best Picture.) Only nine years after the atomic bombs devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat of nuclear power was very much in the minds of the average Japanese citizen. Contamination, mutation, radiation...this was far from science fiction. This is the fire from which sprang the King of Monsters.
In a now-familiar plot, American nuclear testing has given rise to a 150-foot tall engine of destruction, breathing atomic fire and hell-bent on destroying Tokyo before taking on the world. Assembling the army, and all of the modern science Japan can muster, they battle the rampaging monster to the inevitable conclusion.
Standing along side the original 1933 "King Kong," "Godzilla" is a classic monster movie, as well as a fine film in its own right. A suspenseful horror-drama, the acting, filming and special effects are all far above other entries in the genre. The black and white filming is used superbly, with the fire-cast shadows making the monster all the more menacing.
What is great about this set, is that not only do you get a restored and beautiful version of the original classic, you get an additional disk with the American edit complete with the stuffy professor Raymond Burr and the additional footage thought necessary for American audiences. It is a rare chance to compare the two versions, and see how politics in the US affected what audiences were allowed to view in the 1950s.
I have been waiting a long time for the original "Godzilla" to get a DVD release, and it is great to see it finally being treated with the respect it deserves."
Finally, after 52 years
Jason Long | Columbus, OH USA | 05/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After 52 years, the US finally receives an official home release for the original Gojira. Please forget everything you remember about the horrible US butchering and purchase this product.
The film is a scathing political commentary on the United States' practice of nuclear testing (and certainly the previous use) in the Pacific. The film is NOT a silly sci-fi about a giant angry monster attacking cities at random. There is a reason that the doomsday weapon used to kill Gojira is called the "Oxygen Destroyer" in perfect English.
Takashi Shimura, best known for his work with Akira Kurosawa, is terrific as usual. The musical score by Akira Ikifube is my personal favorite of his compositions."
The way Toho intended for Gojira to be seen.
Asian Mack | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 07/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bottom line: If any of you grew up watching or watched recently: "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", the chopped up "U.S." version, take it out of your mind and forget about it. You are in for a cinematic masterpiece when this DVD releases. I had the honor of watching the original "Gojira" at a theater in my town. This is the film that started it all. When it was relased in the U.S., it was butchered, altered and changed into an average science fiction film with Raymond Burr fill-ins. He wasn't even in the original film. The original "Gojira" is a sci-fi/horror masterpiece. The film creates feelings of dread and sorrow. The "original" version is a much darker, sinister film. AWESOME! The film also focuses more on the suffering of the Japanese people during the atomic age. The film makes you feel their tension and suffering. There is one scene where Gojira is staring at a big ben style clock. He is staring at it for no apparent reason. The scene makes you wonder what Gojira is thinking at the time. Then, for no reason, he tries to take a bite out of it. That scene alone changes the feeling of the film to something more than a lumbering beast destroying everything. MUST SEE! MUST BUY!"
Godzilla finally gets a respectable US release, but . . .
P. Carrubba | 09/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I heard about this film finally being made available in its original form, it was immediately placed on my "must buy" list. That said, here are a few things the buyer may want to know when purchasing:
The subtitles are not the same as the ones used in the Rialto Pictures theatrical release of the film from two years ago. Frankly, I liked the Rialto translations better. I get the feeling that they were more accurate. These English translations seem to gloss over certain subjects, the most glaring to me being the train passengers discussing surviving Hiroshima/Nagasaki. I noticed no mention of this in these subtitles, but I remember Nagasaki was mentioned by name in the Rialto subtitles.
Another thing to note is that the subtitles can be turned on and off, but they are hard to read. A heavier, better font would have been preferable.
I was actually hoping that this film's presentation would be akin to the DVD release of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. That DVD had the original soundtrack, subtitles that could be turned on and off, as well as an alternative English soundtrack. I was hoping GOJIRA might have a new English soundtrack for those who don't like to "read the movie," but this is not available. Also, this disc is marketed in North America, but no French or Spanish subtitles are part of the package. I suspect this may be due to the lack of true accuracy in the English subtitle translations.
The special features are sparse, but they at least treat the film with respect and offer valuable information into the development of the film and the title character. Any prior releases of the film in its Americanized version have treated the film as mere schlock. Oh, and the Americanized version is in this package, too, but there is one difference: this version actually has end credits! In 30 years, I've never seen end credits for Godzilla, King of the Monsters.
Film quality was not a major concern to me at this time. What I wanted was the Japanese version of the movie, and that's what I got. Experience should tell us that if the consumer demand warrants it, this film will be released again with more features and a digitally cleaned up print."
Gojira on DVD is the king of home video!
Valnastar | Deep 13, USA | 09/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, English-speaking fans of Godzilla can see the original film, Gojira, in its original language without any of the American release edits. The print for this spectacular Japanese language with optional English subtitles release has been nicely cleaned up with most (but not all) of the flaws from the more than 50-year-old source material eliminated. The stereo mix of the soundtrack sounds great and you'll get chills just listening to the original Gojira roar over the opening credits! The second disc in the set contains the full length American version of the film, Godzilla. This is the English language theatrical release with Raymond Burr that we've all come to know and love.
The enclosed booklet has a wealth of information about the making of the film, both versions, and the extra features on the DVDs regarding the creation of the Gojira story, costume, and more are most welcome. If you're a fan of Godzilla, young or old, you will love this DVD set and at the very reasonable prices I've seen this set at, from about $13 to $16 as of this writing, it is a bargain you will enjoy for years to come. Take "the king of the monsters" home and pop it in your DVD player as soon as possible!"