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Godzilla vs. Gigan
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Box Front Japanese Title: Chikyu Kokegi Meirei:  Gojira Tai Gaigan (“Earth Destruction Directive:  Godzilla vs. Gigan”)
Original U.S. Release Title: Godzilla on Monster Island
Director: Jun Fukuda (Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla)
Original Release Year: 1972
Running Time: 89 minutes

DVD Released By: Power Multimedia / Tailent Video & Multimedia (Taiwan)
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: English mono, Mandarin mono
Extras: Summary (in Chinese)
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Closed Captions:
Region: 0
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 6
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: Unknown
UPC #: 4714295990149
Catalog #: PW0184-005D
Status: Out of print


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The Film: Gengo, a down-on-his-luck cartoonist, lands a job at the World Children’s Organization.  Their main project is Children’s Land Amusement Park, the centerpiece of which is a life-size Godzilla tower.  The firm is run by Fumio and Kubota, the chairman and secretary, respectively.  (Chairman Fumio is only 17 years old!)  When Gengo first reports for work, he runs into a woman who is fleeing the premises.  She is chased off by Kubota and several goons.  However, she drops a tape reel, which Gengo promptly pockets.

The woman and her hippie friend approach Gengo that night.  They enlist his help in finding out what the secretive WCO is really up to.  Not only is the woman’s brother being held captive in Godzilla Tower, but the trio does some research and finds out that Kubota and Fumio are teacher and student and come from the same town.  Even stranger, they have both been dead for over a year!  It turns out they are insect-like aliens from a polluted planet who plan on taking over the Earth.

The aliens summon the space monsters Gigan and King Ghidorah to lay waste to the planet.  Godzilla and Anguirus leave their home on Monster Island to challenge the destructive duo.  The aliens have planned for this, however.  They use their monsters to herd Godzilla towards the tower.  The mouth of Godzilla Tower contains a laser cannon powerful enough to fell the King of Monsters!  Earth’s only chance is for Gengo and his friends to disable the laser, leaving Godzilla and Anguirus to drive the space monsters away.

Godzilla vs. Gigan has its high points, and its low points.  The human protagonists are a motley bunch, but likeable enough.  The theme of pollution is carried over from the previous year’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah, though less prominently.  The film benefits from strong music by Akira Ifukube. (Technically, Ifukube didn’t score the film; all of the music is recycled from other movies, but it works quite well.)  The recycling of film footage is less successful.  Much of the urban destruction and monster battles consist of stock footage.  This movie contains scenes from Ghidorah:  The Three-Headed Monster, War of the Gargantuas, and Destroy All Monsters, among others.  All of it is very obvious.  This is a shame, as some of the new effects work is quite good.  Gigan is a unique and imposing new monster.  It also has a genuinely evil demeanor and a vicious mean streak.  The initial skirmish between the two monster teams takes place at an oil refinery.  The monsters’ rays explode the huge oil tanks, and the fight continues amidst a sea of smoke and flame.  It’s a great scene.

Unfortunately, the film is also marred by the silliest Godzilla gimmick yet:  Monster talk!  Godzilla and Anguirus actually speak to each other in this movie!  While Godzilla did fly in
Godzilla vs. Hedorah, that was a very trippy movie.  Godzilla vs. Gigan is a straightforward alien invasion / monster battle film, and the speech effect is more out of place.  (In the original Japanese version, the monsters communicate with animated speech bubbles.  This is more effective, as it fits in better with the comic book motif used elsewhere in the film.)  All things considered, Godzilla vs. Gigan is a very mixed bag.  Grade:  C+

Video: Godzilla vs. Gigan is presented in cropped fullscreen.  The sides of the original widescreen image have simply been eliminated, with no regard for composition.  As such, speaking characters are sometimes out of frame.  The monster battles also suffer from poor composition.  Most of the time, picture quality is decent.  There is some print damage, in the form of occasional speckles and lines.  There’s also a fair amount of grain.  The stock footage scenes are noticeably more grainy and faded than the new material.  Grade:  C-

Audio: The English track sounds good.  The dialogue, music, and sound effects are clear.  There is an occasional hiss and pop, but nothing major.  The Mandarin track is roughly equivalent, except for more background noise in some scenes.  The dialogue is recorded louder than the English version.  There are some re-recorded sound effects and some of Ifukube’s music has also been replaced.  Some of the additions sound like 1970s cop-show music.  Grade:  B-

Extras / Menus: The only “extra” (I’m hesitant to call it that, since it adds nothing of value) is a brief summary.  It’s one page of text, all in Chinese.  There is also a “Copyright” (uh-huh!) screen, also in Chinese.  The menus are basic and static, with most of the text in Chinese.  Grade:  F

Final Analysis: A decent movie on a mediocre DVD.  It’s worth getting only for collectors; it has since been widely eclipsed in quality by Sony's region 1 versionFinal Grade:  C
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