|2003 News Archive|
News & Updates
Tuesday, Nov. 25: DAM Good News! Andy R., DMI's unofficial correspondent from down under, sent in some information concerning the Destroy All Monsters / Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster double feature DVD released in Australia by Siren Visual Entertainment. Apparently, Siren's version of DAM is the long out-of-print AIP version of the movie! This version is the one originally released in U.S. theaters and syndicated to television. It disappeared from circulation in the 1980s, and was replaced by Toho's own "international" dub, which has since been shown on the Sci-Fi Channel and released on video by ADV Films. Many fans consider the AIP version to be superior. Siren's product page lists this disc as region free. However, G-fans looking for a bit of nostalgia by importing it should remember that it is in PAL format. So check your player compatibility!
Saturday, Nov. 22: Zarkorr and Kraa Lumber onto DVD. Two low-budget, direct-to-video kaiju movies from the '90s are making their way onto DVD courtesy of Koch Vision. Kraa! The Sea Monster is coming out on December 9, followed by Zarkorr! The Invader on January 20. No specs or features are available yet, but both discs will retail for just under ten bucks each.
Wednesday, Nov. 5: Godzilla 1954 U.S. Theatrical Release! Rialto Pictures, a company specializing in theatrical releases of restored classic films, has the original 1954 Godzilla scheduled for release in Spring / Summer 2004! Rialto's Godzilla page lists this as the uncut Japanese version, not the 1956 American version with Raymond Burr. Specific details such as a release date, and a possible DVD release, are unknown at this time. (Rialto films are often released on DVD via The Criterion Collection, so the long-rumored Criterion edition of Godzilla may yet come to pass!) This is great news for Godzilla's 50th anniversary! UPDATE 12/4: A short article has been posted at the Fangoria website.
Wednesday, Nov. 5: Help Bring Tokusatsu to America! This was posted by Gertrude "Raptor" Smith at the Rodan's Roost forum:
At last weekend's "Anime Reactor Convention," a representative of Media Blasters made the comment that they were interested in licensing sentai (Japanese live action super hero) series for American distribution. However, they were doubtful about the number of people who would support such a release. Yesterday, members of the "Jackson Anime & Manga Society" began an on-line petition to encourage Media Blasters to license sentai. Anime and Japanese pop-culture fans interested in seeing Media Blasters import live action adventure shows along the lines of Masked Rider, Cho Seishin Gransizer, and Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger are encouraged to express their support by signing the petition. (Thanks to August Ragone for the heads-up on this effort!)
Tuesday, Oct. 28: Millennium Godzilla Movies Come to America! Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment has set a release date of January 27, 2004, for two recent Godzilla films. It took a while for the big G to swim the Pacific to our shores, but 2000's Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and 2001's Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack are finally coming to region 1 DVD! Both will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with both the original Japanese language and English dub audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1. Optional English and French subtitles will also be included, and the only extras are trailers. MSRP is $24.95 each. These will be the first dual-language R1 Godzilla releases! For more information, check out CTHE's GxM and GMK product pages, and this Fangoria article. (UPDATED 12/4.)
Tuesday, Oct. 21: The Original Monster King on DVD. On January 30, Toho Video in Japan will release King Kong Escapes. This was Toho's second (and last) Kong film, pitting the great ape against the dinosaur Gorosaurus (who would return in Destroy All Monsters), and his own robotic double. No specific details are available yet, but we can expect anamorphic widescreen video, Japanese audio, and no English subtitles, on this region 2 disc.
So where does this leave Kong on region 1 DVD? Warner Brothers reportedly wanted to release the original 1933 King Kong on DVD this year to commemorate its 70th anniversary. However, extensive restoration of the film resulted in the release being pushed back to sometime in 2004. We have that to look forward to, as well as Peter (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) Jackson's big-budget remake in 2005 from Universal. Hopefully Son of Kong, King Kong Escapes, and King Kong Lives will be released on region 1 DVD to cash in on the event. A new and improved edition of King Kong vs. Godzilla would also be most welcome. Here's hoping!
Friday, Sept. 26: More Aussie Godzilla. It appears that Australia's Siren Visual Entertainment is continuing with their Godzilla double features. On November 10, they will be releasing Destroy All Monsters / Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster (aka Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla). According to Siren's product page, this disc is fullscreen and region free (it will be PAL format, though). Thanks again to Andy R. for this info!
Thursday, Sept. 18: Tiga Details, Princess Blade, and Godzilla Down Under. As first reported here a couple of weeks ago, the Ultraman Tiga TV series is coming to DVD, beginning December 9. More details are now available. Ultraman Tiga Volume 1: Prophecy of Evil will include the first 13 episodes, UNCUT and presented in Japanese with English subtitles. The Ultraman Tiga Special Collector's Edition Starter Box will include Prophecy of Evil, and an Ultraman t-shirt, in a special collector's box. (The box will be designed to hold future volumes of the 52-episode series.) Tiga was butchered for its U.S. TV run last year; it's great to see that the DVD releases are geared towards serious fans and collectors.
In other news, ADV Films will release The Princess Blade on November 18, after its too-limited theatrical run. This Japanese action film stars Yumiko Shaku (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla) in her film debut. Other familiar faces include Shiro Sano (Godzilla 2000 and GMK) and Kyusaku Shimada (Sakuya: The Slayer of Demons). It features special effects by Shinji Higuchi (Heisei Gamera trilogy) and action choreography by Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey).
Godzilla has apparently invaded Australia! A company called Siren Visual Entertainment recently released a double feature DVD of Godzilla: King of the Monsters and King Kong vs. Godzilla. They will follow this up with a Godzilla vs. Mothra / Ghidrah: The Three-Headed Monster double feature on October 6. Unfortunately, all of these films appear to be the edited U.S. versions, and in fullscreen. Thus far, Siren has only posted old region 1 box art for these releases. These discs are region 4 and PAL format, so make sure your DVD player can handle them before importing. UPDATE 9/19: More information on these discs can be found at EzyDVD's retail site (including GKOTM / KKvG cover art). Thanks to Andy R. from down under for this update. Andy also reports that the GKOTM / KKvG disc works in his region 2 DVD player, so these discs may actually be region free.
Tuesday, Sept. 9: Retromedia Strikes Back! It looks like one of the first kaiju releases of 2004 will be a double feature of Gamera vs. Monster X and Monster from a Prehistoric Planet from Retromedia, coming on January 6. Monster from a Prehistoric Planet is aka Gappa: The Triphibian Monsters. This is the fifth (at least) U.S. DVD of this movie. Does the world really need another one? Probably not, especially since it's sure to be fullscreen and dubbed only, while the Tokyo Shock version is widescreen and dual-language. In contrast, Gamera vs. Monster X (the sixth Gamera film, aka Gamera vs. Jiger) has never been released on video in the U.S. before! Hopefully, the quality of this disc will be an improvement over Retromedia's Destroy All Planets / Attack of the Monsters Double Feature.
In other Retromedia news, the company has recently entered a distribution deal with Image Entertainment. This will ensure that Retromedia DVDs will be carried by more retailers, and thus will be much easier to find. UPDATED 11/19: This DVD has apparently been pushed back. Both Image's site and Amazon.com's product page list January 20 as the release date.
Thursday, Sept. 4: DMI in G-Fan! In addition to a G-Fest X report, and lengthy retrospectives on King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Mothra, the current issue of G-Fan magazine (#64) also contains a short article on Digital Monster Island. The author of the piece is Brett Homenick. Brett is a frequent G-Fan contributor whose love for and knowledge of the genre shines through in all of his written work. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of DMI since the site first launched. Many thanks, Brett!
G-Fan is available via subscription, or at many comic book / collectible stores. Check it out!
Wednesday, Sept. 3: Just in Time for X-mas... Amazon.com now has pre-order pages up for several December 9 releases. Two more volumes of Power Rangers Ninja Storm are coming: Volume 4: Samurai's Journey and Volume 5: Cyber Clash. Ultraman Tiga will also be making his U.S. DVD debut. Volume 1: Prophecy of Evil will be available, as well as the Ultraman Tiga Special Collector's Edition Starter Box. Details and specs on these releases haven't been officially announced yet; the Upcoming Releases section will be updated when more info becomes available. Still, it doesn't hurt to start dropping hints for Santa early....
Wednesday, Aug. 27: A Television Reminder. Remember that Sunday, August 31 is the U.S. television premiere of two recent Godzilla films. Both Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack will be shown on the Sci-Fi Channel. Sci-Fi is making a kaiju marathon out of it by preceeding the two new Godzilla films with the entire Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, and following them up with two 1970s classics. The schedule is as follows:
9:00 am - Rebirth of Mothra
11:00 am - Rebirth of Mothra II
1:00 pm - Rebirth of Mothra III
3:00 pm - Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
5:00 pm - Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
11:00 pm - Godzilla vs. Megalon (widescreen)
1:00 am - Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (widescreen)
Also, the ABC Family Channel will present the Power Rangers: Rise of the Heroes marathon on Sunday, Sept. 7. Five hours of Power Rangers action begins at 7:00 am.
Sunday, Aug. 17: Up the Academy! 2004 is Godzilla's 50th anniversary year. In recognition of motion picture excellence, the annual Academy Awards show will be broadcast in the Spring. The Academy Awards should definitely recognize Godzilla's upcoming 50th anniversary! Godzilla has starred in 28 films to date, all from the same studio (save one), over the course of fifty years. This accomplishment is unmatched, even by such stalwarts of popular culture as Superman, Star Trek, and James Bond. If you would like to see a retrospective of film clips, and maybe even an on-stage appearance by the Big G himself, please send a polite letter (via snail mail) to:
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1972
ATTN: Board of Governors
Let's work together to make it happen! (Many thanks to G-Fan's Armand Vaquer for the suggestion!)
Friday, July 11: Sony Brings Godzilla to America! Sony Entertainment has officially announced the acquisition of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (GxM) and Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (GMK) for North American distribution. In addition to airing on the Sci-Fi Channel, and the premiere of GMK at G-Fest X, the films will be receiving additional theatrical playdates (including the FanTasia Film Festival in Montreal). DVD releases are also reportedly in the planning stages. (Source: Henshin!Online.)
Thursday, June 26: The MaserCity Forum Finds a New Home! Since launching in early 2003, MaserCity has made a name for itself as an up-to-date place to go for kaiju-related news. They have also become famous (some would say infamous) for hosting a CENSORSHIP-FREE message board. While some other popular forums tend to over-moderate discussions, members of MaserCity can let it all hang out! The MaserCity forum has very recently moved, and now features a new board interface hosted on MC's own server. The new board can be accessed at http://www.masercity.com/forums. It's quick and easy to join, so head on over there and engage in fun and spirited conversation with a very cool group of kaiju fans (including DMI's own webmaster, Zillamon51). While the language can get a bit rough at times, it's all in good fun. See you there, and tell 'em DMI sent you!
Wednesday, June 11: Godzilla Invades Hong Kong! According to Henshin! Online, Universe Laser & Video, a Hong Kong-based video distributor, has acquired Toho's latest Godzilla film, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. No specs or release date are yet available. Thus far, Universe has released all of the Millennium Godzilla films (Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, and Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack) on region 3 DVD. If Universe follows suit with GxMG, we can expect the film to be presented in widescreen (anamorphic enhancement is doubtful). Audio options are likely to include the original Japanese language, as well as a Cantonese dub; and optional subtitles in English and Chinese. None of Universe's previous Godzilla DVDs include any extras beyond a trailer.
For Godzilla fans with region-free DVD players, Universe releases are a great alternative to Toho's region 2 discs. The inclusion of English subtitles, and a much lower price point (under $20 in the U.S. as opposed to $50+ for Toho discs) make them preferable for many fans. They are also more readily available in the U.S. via eBay and importers such as HK Flix and Poker Industries.
Saturday, June 7: Television Showings. Although no kaiju are involved, you can experience the film culture of India with Turner Classic Movies' Bollywood Film Festival which is going on Thursday nights throughout the month of June. Expand your cinematic horizons with some fun and crazy movies from the East!
The weekend of June 27, Turner Classic Movies will present a Ray Harryhausen film festival. The films to be shown are: The Harryhausen Chronicles (a documentary on Ray's life and work), The Tortoise and the Hare (which was recently completed after being abandoned by Ray almost 50 years ago!), Mighty Joe Young (Ray's first feature film and a collaboration with mentor Willis O'Brien), Mysterious Island, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Jason and the Argonauts, and Clash of the Titans. This same weekend, TCM will also be showing the rarely-seen silent short film The Ghost of Slumber Mountain, which features stop-motion innovator Willis O'Brien's first use of realistic dinosaurs.
Friday, May 30: Kikaider Anime Premieres on Cartoon Network. The schedule for Kikaider on CN is as follows: The show will be a part of CN's Adult Swim lineup. It will run Monday night thru Thursday (technically Tuesday morning thru Friday) at 12:00 am beginning on June 9. All 12 episodes of Android Kikaider: The Animation will be shown, as well as the 4 episodes of Kikaider 01: The Animation. They are dubbed in English (very well done), and except for the opening titles, are uncut. UPDATE: Now that the show has completed its first run, all of the episodes are being shown again, but now at 12:30 am.
Saturday, May 24: No Godzilla 1985 DVD "Anytime Soon." On May 20, the Home Theater Forum held a chat with Michael Felsher, a representative of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The following exchange took place regarding the status of AB's long-rumored DVD release of Godzilla 1985:
<JasonS> Thank you! I'd read on a message board somewhere about you guys having the rights to Godzilla 1985, any details on Anchor Bay realeasing this? A SE maybe with the Japanese version intact?
<Michael_Felsher> GODZILLA 1985 will not be happening anytime soon. We are not able to acquire the Japanese version and that is the main reason we want to release the film. Hopefully one day it will be cleared up.
A little history here: Several years ago, AB acquired the rights to the entire New World Video catalog. They held an online poll to determine which titles fans most wanted to see on DVD, and the winner was Godzilla 1985. Since then, AB has expressed interest in releasing the uncut Japanese version of the film, Gojira (1984, aka The Return of Godzilla), but have been unable to secure the necessary cooperation of Toho Co., Ltd.; the Japanese company that produces the Godzilla series. Toho has a long-standing policy of not licensing the original Japanese language tracks of the Godzilla films. They apparently don't want Japanese fans to be able to import native-language versions of the films instead of buying Toho's own overpriced domestic releases. As a result, fans in other parts of the world are left with only localized dubbed versions, pricey region 2 imports (sans subtitles), or bootlegs. Thanks, Toho.
To read the transcript of the entire chat, click here.
Saturday, May 24: Rangers and Riders Are Coming! According to Henshin! Online, Village Roadshow Productions is planning to adapt two Japanese live-action programs for U.S. television. Toei's current Super Sentai series, Abaranger, will become Power Rangers Reloaded; and last year's Masked Rider Ryuki will become Future Dragon Rider. Expect both shows to premiere on ABC television in the fall of 2003. UPDATE: H!O has since removed the story from their site, with no explanation given.
Wednesday, May 14: Destroy All DVDs. On July 22, Alpha Video will release a stand-alone, budget version of Destroy All Planets. DAP is the fourth Showa Gamera film, aka Gamera vs. Viras. It's currently available on a double-feature DVD from Retromedia with Attack of the Monsters (aka Gamera vs. Guiron). For more info, keep an eye on Alpha's product page.
On August 21, Toho Video in Japan will release the all-star monster bash Destroy All Monsters (aka Kaiju Soshingeki). This disc will be region 2, and no English subtitles are expected. DAM is currently available on region 1 DVD from ADV Films.
Tuesday, April 29: Classic Western Kaiju from Warner Bros. On April 22, The Digital Bits held an online chat with representatives from Warner Home Entertainment. It was mentioned that three classic monster movies were coming to DVD in October. The titles are: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (Ray Harryhausen's first solo effort), The Valley of Gwangi (Ray's cowboys vs. dinosaurs opus), and The Black Scorpion (a b&w flick featuring effects supervised by Ray's mentor and the animator of the original King Kong, Willis O'Brien). Excellent news! (You can read a transcript of the entire chat here.)
Thursday, April 17: Alpha Strikes Again! The infamous budget company Alpha Video will be releasing another Gamera film on DVD. War of the Monsters (aka Gamera vs. Barugon) is coming on June 24. The same company released Gammera the Invincible on May 20. Hopefully, these discs will be much better quality than their pathetic Godzilla vs. Megalon. Check out Alpha's WOTM page, and let's keep our fingers crossed....
Wednesday, April 10: Mothra 3 Premiere. The Sci-Fi Channel will be airing a Mothra marathon on Saturday, May 31. It begins with Rebirth of Mothra at 11:00 am, continues with Rebirth of Mothra II at 1:00 pm, and culminates with the U.S. premiere of Rebirth of Mothra III at 3:00 pm. While there is still no word on a DVD release of ROM III, it is good that the film will finally be seen in the States. The first two ROM films are available on a double-feature DVD.
Saturday, March 29: More Gamera on DVD. On May 20, Alpha Video will release Gammera the Invincible. This is the American version of Daiei's original 1965 Gamera. It includes additional footage shot with American actors, a'la the 1956 Godzilla: King of the Monsters. While it's always good to have another kaiju film on DVD, Alpha Video is infamous for their unlicensed version of Godzilla vs. Megalon, one of the worst DVDs ever made. Their Gammera disc is listed as "Plus Bonus Material," but we'll see. Check out Alpha's Gammera page, and I'll post a review of their out-of-print Megalon disc in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, March 18: Shochiku Sci-fi Box Set Coming! On April 25, Shochiku Home Video will release the SF Cube Box Set, containing four of their sci-fi films. It includes: The 'X' from Outer Space (which was also available in a nifty collector's set); Goke: Bodysnatcher from Hell, Konchu Daisenso (aka Genocide and War of the Insects), and Kyuketsu Dokurosen (aka The Living Skeleton). The set will also include a figurine, a glass dry plate (made of resin), and a press sheet; everything comes in a "metallic"-type box. Alas, only 'X' will include any English options, and the discs will be region 2. CD Japan is now accepting pre-orders.
Saturday, March 8: Ultraman's Summer Vacation. According to Henshin! Online, Ultraman Tiga will be taking a sabbatical from the Fox Box Saturday morning lineup. 4Kids Entertainment is planning to re-launch the program in August, along with licensed products such as toys and DVDs. Here's hoping that Ultraman's vacation doesn't become permanent....
Thursday, March 5: The Yokai are Coming! ADV Films has announced a May 20 release date for Daiei's Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare. Read the official press release for all the details!
Thursday, March 5: Price Drop on Harryhausen Classics. Effective May 27, Columbia / Tristar Home Entertainment will drop the suggested retail price to $19.95 on several of their Ray Harryhausen DVDs: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, First Men in the Moon, Jason and the Argonauts, Mysterious Island, and 20 Million Miles to Earth.
Thursday, Feb. 27: Android Kikaider: The Animation Coming to Cartoon Network. According to Anime Fantasia, Android Kikaider: The Animation will premiere on Cartoon Network in June. Android Kikaider: The Animation is a 2000 anime series based on the 1972 live-action series Kikaida and the manga by Ishinomori Shotaro.
Monday, Feb. 17: Orochi Next for ADV? Fangoria lists Orochi: The Eight-Headed Dragon (aka Yamato Takeru) as a 2004 release from ADV Films, the company that brought us The Complete Daimajin Trilogy in 2002 and the Heisei Gamera Trilogy in 2003. The film is directed by Takeo Okawara (director of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and Godzilla 2000, among others), features special effects by Koichi Kawakita (Heisei Godzilla and Rebirth of Mothra series), and is based on Japanese mythology.
Thursday, Feb. 13: GoodTimes Entertainment Acquired by Quadrangle. GoodTimes Entertainment, one of the top "budget" DVD distributors, has been acquired by a company called Quadrangle Capital Partners for $250 million. GoodTimes had released Godzilla: King of the Monsters and King Kong vs. Godzilla on DVD. They have also long been rumored to be releasing Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Godzilla vs. Megalon (both of which they have previously released on VHS), but nothing ever came of it. GoodTimes has been renamed GT Brands; what other changes may be in store for the company remain to be seen. Read the official press release for more details.
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