New Godzilla DVD Reviews

Well, it's taken them well over 4 years, but US fans can finally own 2 of the latest Godzilla flicks on official US discs instead of Hong Kong bootlgegs. For the most part, Sony has done a fine job on both the "Godzilla vs Megaguirus" and "Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack" discs, but there are serious issues that they need to fix for their upcoming release of "Godzilla X Mechagodzilla" in March. Both films take place in an alternate timeline ignoring all 24 Godzilla films coming before them. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus has the giant beast battling a dragonfly-like creature which finds it's way to Earth after a test of the Dimension Tide, a weapon devised by the Japanes to finally rid them of the Godzilla menance. Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah follows the same path by creating it's own timeline and is a very serious G-film dealing with the lost souls of the pacific war. These souls have congregated inside Godzilla who then attacks Japan and the guardian monsters are the only thing that can save the world. The films offer up some incredible kaiju action with Megaguirus being a bit more lighthearted in tone. The final fight between Godzilla and the full grown Meganuron is an outstanding battle, the likes in which Godzilla fans haven't been treated to in years. GMK on the other hand has a deeper meaning requiring some thought, though the monster action here is top notch as well. Be warned before rushing out and buying this one for your kids however: There's a ton of people shown being crushed and killed on screen by the creatures. No blood or gore, but the effect is very real. Both are oustanding films and GMK is a refreshing change back to the tone of the original film. Each movie is presented in it's original widescreen aspect ratio, something becoming a standard for Godzilla flicks here in the states. Both prints are gorgeous and the colors are fabulous. There are some very annoying scratches on both of the prints which really harms GMK the most. Both of the movies have some minor issues with darker sequences (again, GMK suffers the most since the entire final sequence is a nighttime battle) but this could also be from the abundance of GCI. For the first time, we also get the original Japanese 5.1 soundtrack included with the English 5.1 dubbed track. While a wonderful gesture (and one so depserately needed), the subtitles are NOT from the actual spoken Japanese dialouge but of the English dub. Some of the lines are so skewered, it kills the films meaning and turns them into the usual "bad rubber suit monster movie." The fight between Baragon and Godzilla in GMK is especially disheartening with cheesy professional wrestling-like announcers calling off the action regardless of which language you choose. There's still a reason to hang on to those Hong Kong discs after all. If things couldn't get much worse after the subtitle hack, the features are barren. Viewers get a couple of trailers for various (and completely unreleated) films including Tri-Star's 1998 American Godzilla (see, completely unreleated). There's not even a trailer for either of the feature films. The Japanese DVD release of GMk was a massive 3-disc box set filled with behind the scenes footage. Would it have been too much to ask to at least get ONE featurette for $24.99? GxM also had a nice DVD treatment in Japan, but the American fans get snubbed here as well. There are plenty of positives with these two releases. The video is outstanding, the 5.1 tracks are put to good use, and the original Japanese language track is a BIG step in the right direction. The upcoming G x Mechagodzilla is also supposed to have the Japanese track and hopefully the subtitles will be done properly. Regardless, these films are some of the best monster flicks to come out of Japan in a LONG time. GMK may be a bit different to some people, but Megaguirus is a blast that harkens back to the classic Godzilla movies of the 60's. Great stuff.

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