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Destroy All Monsters
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Box Front Japanese Title: Kaiju Soshingeki (“Monster Invasion”)
Director: Ishiro Honda (Godzilla:  King of the Monsters, Rodan)
Original Release Year: 1968
Running Time: 89 minutes

DVD Released By: ADV Films
Video: Widescreen
Audio: English mono
Extras: None
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: None (!)
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $14.98
UPC #: 702727001024
Catalog #: DVDALA/007
Status: Available (individually, or in a 2-pack with Gamera:  Guardian of the Universe)


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Reviewed by:
The Film: In the year 1999, the nations of the Earth are finally at peace.  Advanced technology has allowed mankind to end hunger.  Travel to and from the moon is a daily occurrence.  Best of all for the citizens of Japan, all of Earth’s giant monsters have been captured and are confined at the Monsterland facility on the Ogasawara islands.

However, the Kilaaks, aliens from a small planet orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, covet the planet Earth.  Global chaos erupts when the Kilaaks take control of Monsterland.  Using a mind-control device, the Kilaaks force the human scientists there to work as their agents.  They also unleash the monsters on the cities of the world!  Godzilla attacks New York, Rodan attacks Moscow, Mothra attacks Beijing, etc.  Finally, Godzilla, Manda, and Mothra converge on Tokyo and the Kilaaks demand that mankind surrenders!

It’s up to the courageous crew of the moon rocket SY-3 to infiltrate the Kilaak bases in Japan and on the moon, and destroy their mind-control devices.  Before their conquest is thwarted, however, the Kilaaks have one more card to play:  The powerful space monster, King Ghidorah!  It’s a titanic struggle between Ghidorah and the Kilaaks, and the Earth’s mightiest monsters!

Destroy All Monsters was originally intended to be Toho's final Godzilla film.  As such, they included almost their entire stable of giant monsters (eleven in all, at that time).  In many ways, DAM is the natural culmination of the Showa Godzilla series.  Gone is the threat of nuclear annihilation so prevalent in the earlier films.  DAM presents a vision of an optimistic future in which man and monster can finally coexist in peace.  However, there are a few things that keep it from being the be-all and end-all monster epic that it should be.  While eleven monsters are in the film, Varan and Baragon only have a few seconds of screen time between them.  Manda is absent for the final battle, and Kumonga plays only a very minor role.  Classic Japanese monsters attacking cities outside of Japan is long overdue, but these scenes are very brief.  Finally, no matter how strong he may be, King Ghidorah is too greatly overmatched against seven other monsters.

Despite these flaws,
Destroy All Monsters is a fun popcorn movie with enough action, excitement, and monsters to please any monster movie fan.  Grade:  B+

Video: The print is in pretty good shape.  Speckles and lines show up occasionally.  The transfer is sharp and colorful.  A few scenes are a little too dark, but it’s not a major problem.  Destroy All Monsters is presented in widescreen, but unfortunately lacks anamorphic enhancement.  Grade:  B-

Audio: The only audio option is Toho’s international English dub.  (This is not the same as the dubbed version originally released in the U.S. by AIP, which may disappoint some older fans who want the nostalgia of hearing the film just like in "the good ol' days.")  This dub job is perfectly serviceable, though.  It's presented in its original mono.  It sounds good, with the monster roars and Akira Ifukube’s wonderful score reproduced faithfully.  Grade:  B

Extras / Menus: No extras.  No menus.  No kidding!  This DVD doesn’t even have chapter stops!  When you put the disc in, the movie starts automatically, and repeats back to the beginning after it’s over.  If you want to fast-forward to the final battle, it can take a while.  Grade:  F

Final Analysis: The film is a kaiju classic, while the disc is as bare-bones as they come.  Fans looking for a DAM with a little more bite should check out the 50th Anniversary Special Edition (also from ADV), that includes a soundtrack CD.  Final Grade:  C+
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