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Destroy All Monsters
50th Anniversary Special Edition
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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: DVD and CD in a keepcase
MSRP: $19.98
UPC #: 702727090929
Catalog #: DDAM/002
Status: Out of print


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Sorry this picture doesn't show up better.  The cover art is highly reflective, which gives it a cool "metallic" look, but also makes it hard to scan.
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: This is the same transfer of the same print as ADV’s previous single-disc release of DAM.  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 ADV did not upgrade to an anamorphic transfer for this re-release.  Grade:  B-

Audio: Again, the audio is identical to the previous version.  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.  It’s just too bad the original Japanese language track isn't included.  Grade:  B

Extras / Menus: First, the bad news:  ADV repeats one of the most laughable blunders in kaiju DVD history by not including any chapter stops!  As such, there are no menus, either.  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.  Really, how hard can it be to add chapter stops?

Now, the good news:  The lack of extras is made up for by the inclusion of the film’s original soundtrack, on a separate CD.  Running almost 40 minutes, the CD features 30 tracks of music composed by the legendary Akira Ifukube.  Ifukube composed original music for many of Toho’s sci-fi and fantasy films, including 11 Godzilla films, and his work was frequently re-used in the rest of the Godzilla canon.  The score for
DAM is widely considered one of the maestro’s best.  It ranges from subtle and ominous, to strong and rousing.  Different themes for the many monsters are woven together nicely.  Unfortunately, no insert is included, so there is no track listing for the CD.  (See the images below for a downloadable solution.)  As the sole extra feature, this CD is an excellent addition to the total package and goes a long way towards making up for the shortcomings of the DVD itself.  Grade:  A-

Final Analysis: The “Special Edition” moniker is somewhat misleading here.  All ADV has done is take two existing products, and package them together.  Still, the price is very reasonable, and many stores may not have stocked the individual CD.  Except for the labels, both the DVD and CD are identical to the discs previously released separately by ADV.  (As a matter of fact, when I switched between the two DVDs for comparison, the player recognized them as the same disc, and would automatically resume playing the film from the same point after changing discs.)  So, is this worth a purchase?  If you don’t already own DAM, then definitely yes.  If you already own either the DVD or the CD, you can complete your collection with this set for just a few dollars more than buying a single disc.  Then you can sell the extra, pass it on to a friend, or keep it for a backup copy.  (An extra DAM CD for the car might be nice.)  If you already own both single editions, the only thing you’ll find new here is some nice shiny cover art.  It’s your call.  Final Grade:  B+
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Additional Images
(Click For A Larger Image):
Box Back DOWNLOAD BONUS Insert Side 1 DOWNLOAD BONUS Insert Side 2
Box Back Downloadable Bonus: Since the DVD doesn't come with a track listing for the CD, I've made one for you!  (The image on the left is enlarged from ADV's stand-alone DAM CD; the one on the right is the artwork for their previous DVD edition.)  Click on the above images, and they should enlarge to about 5" x 7.25", the size of a standard DVD insert.  Print out one or both on glossy paper, and you'll have a nifty insert to stick in the box of this new DAM SE.
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