Destroy All Monsters DVD Review

Destroy All Monsters is widely regarded as the pinnacle of the Japanese Monster genre and one of the last great Godzilla films of the 60's-70's. Featuring almost the entire roster of Toho's creations, this is an all out monster fest and a must see if you have any interest in giant monster flicks. This is the movies second appearance on DVD from ADV and sadly, it's not better than the first one. Set in 1999, an alien race that calls themselves the Kilaaks have come to Earth to destroy it....and they don't even need weapons. They take control of "Monster Land" which houses all the giant monsters that have taken a swipe at Tokyo. The aliens set the creatures free and they begin a rampage through the entire world. Humans scramble to devise a plan to put an end not only to the Kilaaks, but to the monsters as well. Sure the special effects are weak at times, miniatures obvious, and plot a bit out there. Who cares? It's still far more entertaining than most of the CG junk Hollywood throws at us year after year. The imagination put into these films is just great, something that is seriously lacking in so many US movies. This is far from perfect of course and it can be downright boring at times, but of course the destruction scenes make up for everything else. Also, the final battle is an epic that simply can't be matched. If you have never been introduced to the quirky genre, this would be a good place start after the original Japanese version of Godzilla. (*** out of *****) Destroy All Monsters is presented in roughly 2.35:1 widescreen. This print has taken a beating with countless scratches and spots and is the exact same one used in the first release from ADV. The resolution is very low and flickering is a major problem. It almost seems like it has been taken from a laserdisc as times. The colors have moments of brightness and clarity is occasionally brilliant, but these segments are few and far between. This isn't a film that is going to get a full restoration anytime soon of course and this is probably the best it's going to get. (**) Sound is a clear 2.0 mono that does what it should and nothing else. There is no bass and the spectacular Akira Ifukube soundtrack drowns the voices out occasionally. Again, this is the same as the previous release. (**) This one of the stranger DVD releases of all time. Not only are there no extras, but there isn't even a menu! You put the disc in and it plays, much like a VCD. There are no chapter stops either. Yet again, this is the same as the original. The packaging is pretty nice with a foil coating and "newspaper" like back cover. The cover also states that it's the 50th anniversary, which is off. It's Godzilla's 50th, not the films. The only real extra is a CD soundtrack for the film with 30 tracks, included right inside the DVD case. It's a great disc with some of the best work Ifukube ever produced. If that's not a nice extra, I don't know what is. Shame the actual movie is completely void of anything extra. (**) This is one of the worst double dips of all time. This is the exact same disc as the original release with nothing fixed. How hard is it to make a menu? If you're going to a version of the film on the format, this might as well be the one though. For the price, you probably couldn't purchase the soundtrack separately. Regardless, this one is a classic and does deserve a space on your shelf. Shame about the sound and picture though.

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