RODAN: Rodan, originally released in Japan in 1956 involves a giant monster being awoken from an ancient hibernation by human beings. In Rodan, miners digging far into the earth stumble across a clutch of giant, prehistori... more »c insects which viciously attack several of the miners and prompt a government investigation into the matter. The giant bugs turn out to be little more than food for two gigantic flying beasts called Rodans, who hatch from giant eggs and proceed to terrorize the entire world. WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS: War of the Gargantuas, released in Japan in 1966 as "Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda versus Gaira" and a semi-sequel to Frankenstein Conquers The World. It introduces two giant, hairy humanoids called Gargantuas, which spawned from the discarded cells of Frankenstein's Monster from the previous film and are described as brothers. The Green Gargantua is violent and savage, preying upon human beings; as he lives in sea water, he is given the name Gaira for "stranger." The Brown Gargantua had been raised in captivity, and is docile and gentle; because he resides in the Japan Alps, he is called Sanda for "mountain". The film follows the investigation and military engagements of these creatures until their climatic confrontation in Tokyo.« less
Charlene J. (Bella963) from REDWOOD CITY, CA Reviewed on 9/12/2008...
Huge fan of these old monster movies esp Godzilla! Glad to see that War of the Gargantuas is FINALLY on DVD. It was nearly impossible to get unless you want to pay a small fortune on e-bay. Sure its campy but that's the fun of them!
One of Toho's best gets the respect it deserves
new yorker | NYC | 06/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Following the release of GOJIRA (Godzilla, King of the Monsters, before Raymond Burr was cut in) and it's sequel, Toho made their first color giant monster movie: RODAN(aka Radon, and Rodan ,The Flying Monster).Unlike most creature features of the time RODAN doesn't make you wait 2/3's of the movie for a monster to show up .Meganurons, giant prehistoric dragonfly larva make their appearance rather early in the film.It's this part of the film that's often compared to "Them".However,in RODAN the giant insects are only the set up.In the most memorable scene, when the character comes out of shock, he not only remembers being trapped underground with the Meganurons but also the hatching of a Rodan chick from it's egg.Having the audience already in on the size of the larva provides instant scale, as the hatchling devours the Meganurons.To add to the excitement of the rest of the picture we learn that in fact two Rodans have hatched.
The film is played straight, unlike later entries in what's become known as the Godzilla series.
Although Rodan has appeared in other films, Gidorah,the Three Headed Monster,Godzilla vs Monster Zero(Invasion of the Astro Monsters),and Destroy All Monsters, the look of Rodan was never as good as in this, the original.
Now for the first time Classic Media is presenting this film to American audiences in both it's original 82 min Japanese language version as well the 72 min English language version.
THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS makes it's DVD debut. It's also presented in both the Japanese Version (88 mins.), and English Version (92 mins.).
Special Features: "Bringing Godzilla Down To Size" a new Documentary (68 mins.)
If the quality of the re-mastering and source material remains the same, as it's been, since their Gojira release, in 2006, this should be the best video release of RODAN ever."
Flawed But Still A Must-Have
Robert H. Knox | Brentwood, NH United States | 09/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"RODAN and THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS are two of Toho's best giant monster films, and both were subjected to awkward and unnecessary Americanization jobs. With this welcome release, USA fans can now easily and cheaply make their comparisons, as Japanese and USA versions of both films are generously included.
GARGANTUAS is especially long-awaited, but, sadly, Classic Media's transfer of the Toho version is a letdown. Toho's print has always been darker, with less-saturated color than the UPA (not AIP!) print. This transfer, however, is WAY too dark, and not terribly sharp; in the scenes with Gailah vs. the military, he often looks like little more than a shadow...just awful! No, my TV settings are not to blame- this transfer is plain inferior to Toho's Laserdisc and DVD releases, which is odd when you consider how many nice DVDs of the Godzilla titles have been released by Classic Media. All the more unfortunate is that the Japanese version of GARGANTUAS works much better as a movie than the English-dubbed one. That version LOOKS much better on this DVD, but its problems are well-known and numerous. Said problems are probably the fault of the late and notoriously clueless producer, Henry Saperstein...I can just envision him looking at the rushes, smoking a huge cigar, and saying, "Don't look like no Frankenstein to me!". So, the Frankenstein references are gone, along with much of the integrity of the screenplay. Gone, also, is much of Ifukube's fine score. (replaced by stupid library music, and even by Ifukube music from previous films: why?) Add to this some ill-advised editing, and Russ Tamblyn instead of Nick Adams...Tamblyn is clearly about half past give-a-damn throughout, though his presence may not be all UPA's fault. Bottom line: this kaiju classic was nearly ruined by gaijin interference. Still, this is the version that most USA fans fondly remember, and the monster mayhem and great Toho cast make GARGANTUAS pretty tough to dislike, so it's good to finally have it.
Both versions of RODAN are fine, and the Japanese print looks great. The USA version has been released before, has many of the same issues as GARGANTUAS, but isn't nearly as painful to watch, apart from the absurd stock footage and narration. I've always been fond of RODAN.
No trailers, galleries or commentaries are included here, which doesn't bother me that much. What is included is the outstanding documentary, BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE...no, it doesn't sing the praises of GODZILLA VS. MEGALON and the like, and that clearly irks some fans, but it does pay attention to several lesser-known (but still significant) Toho FX craftsmen. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
All things considered, a flawed but still worthwhile release for Kaiju fans, especially at this bargain price."
Yes!!!! At last!
D. Lapinski | 07/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rodan's great, but War of the Gargantuas is the treat here. With all very due respect to the original Godzilla and King Kong, I'm just going to throw out there that there is no better giant monster movie than WOTG. I've seen it many times since it gave me nightmares the first time I saw it when I was 5 or so, and it's still nearly perfect. At least in the American version, there are almost no slow spots, some genuine terror and horror, and the monsters are onscreen for an amazing amount of time. Of course there's no putting a movie like this together without some cheeziness, but even that fits perfectly with it being a sixties film.
It's all in there: an almost funnily disinterested performance by Russ Tamblyn (looking a little unenthused and questioning whether he should have taken this gig) as the lead scientist, his babe-aliciuos assistant Kumi Mizuno, the chick lounge singer crooning, Gargantua vs octopus, Gargantua vs military (including masers), Gargantua vs Gargantua, Gargantuas vs city, a volcano... it's got it all. Of course the music is awesome, and I can't believe I'm going to see it in a wider screen view than I ever have. Can't wait!"
New Godzilla Documentary with RODAN/WOTG Set
Keith | CA | 07/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Classic Media's RODAN/WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS collection will also include an all-new documentary entitled BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE.
Running 68 minutes, BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE goes behind the scenes of a filmmaking style that remains firmly rooted in the past even as special effects leap into the future. From the original GOJIRA (1954) through 50-plus years of sequels, spin-offs and imitations, this original documentary tells the story of the genre's creation and evolution via exclusive interviews with filmmakers, special-effects artists, actors and monster stuntmen.
Featuring Akira Takarada, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Shogo Tomiyama, Haruo Nakajima, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Tsutomu "Tom" Kitagawa, Shusuke Kaneko, Teruyoshi Nakano, Akira Tsuburaya, Ryuji Honda, Shinichi Wakasa, Yasuyuki Inoue, Toshiro Aoki, Akinori Takagi, Toshio Miike, Shiro Sano, and narrated by self-proclaimed Godzilla fan Alex Cox (director of REPO MAN, SID & NANCY), the film celebrates the artistry behind the world of Japanese monsters and ponders the future of Godzilla and his city-smashing analog brethren in the digital age.
The website SciFi Japan has an exclusive first look at BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE, packed with photos and information on this great bonus feature for the upcoming Classic Media DVDs.
"The wait is over! Devoted fans of Toho's classic Japanese monster movies can now add this excellent two-disc set to their collection. This is a perfect double-feature: RODAN and WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS are two of my favorites. Plus, there's also a wonderful documentary, BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE.
So with all this going for it, why does this set only get four stars? Well, not to be an ingrate, but I do have some minor quibbles. Both RODAN or WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS are bereft of Extras ... no commentaries or theatrical trailers. Nothing. (On the Japanese laserdisc edition of RODAN, the lovely overture is included, as well as an exciting theatrical trailer. Why couldn't those have been included here?) Also, the Japanese print of WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS is too dark during several passages, while the American print is sharp and clear. Perhaps a commentary track would have explained this discrepancy.
That said, however, I'm grateful to have these films in both the American and original Japanese editions. These titles have often been severely underappreciated by film historians and scholars. But fans know that these are two top-notch efforts brimming with superb special effects, representing those talented Toho craftsman at their very best. What's Japanese for "Hallelujah!"? "