|Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (Region 3)|
News & Updates
|Japanese Title: Gojira vs. Kingu Ghidorah (“Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah”)
Director: Kazuki Omori (Godzilla vs. Biollante)
Original Release Year: 1991
Running Time: 103 minutes
DVD Released By: Universe Laser & Video (Hong Kong)
Video: Widescreen, 1.85:1 OAR
Audio: Japanese 2.0 mono, Cantonese 2.0 mono
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese & English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Closed Captions: None
Packaging: Keepcase (clear), in a cardboard slipcover w/ identical box art
MSRP: $45.00 HK
UPC #: 4895024950136
Catalog #: 6759
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|The Film: A UFO appears in the skies over Tokyo. Its occupants are people from the year 2204. They have come back to 1992 with a warning for the Japanese government: In the 23rd century, the nation of Japan no longer exists! The Futurians blame this unfortunate turn of events on Godzilla. To spare Japan from the monster’s wrath, they propose going even farther back in time to prevent Godzilla’s birth.
The Futurians are accompanied by three 20th century advisors: Terasawa (author of a book on the origin of Godzilla), his associate Masaki (a dinosaur expert), and Miki Saegusa (the psychic girl introduced in the previous film, Godzilla vs. Biollante). Emi Kano (a Japanese woman from the future) and her assistant, Android M-11, lead the expedition. They arrive on Lagos Island in the South Pacific, circa 1944. The second World War rages on around them! They witness a dinosaur (Godzillasaurus, the future you-know-who) save the desperate Japanese soldiers from the advancing American forces. The Japanese commander, Major Shindo, regards the dinosaur as his savior. Shindo would survive the fighting on Lagos to rebuild Japan’s post-war economy as the head of a huge conglomerate.
Emi and M-11 teleport the injured dinosaur away, so that it will never be exposed to the Pacific H-bomb tests and mutate into Godzilla. However, Emi leaves behind three small creatures called “dorats.” Dorats are cute little flying animals created by 23rd century biotechnology. Exposed to massive radioactivity, the dorats combine and mutate into the three-headed flying dragon, King Ghidorah! Back in 1992, Terasawa and the others begin to expect a double-cross when Ghidorah appears and starts demolishing Japan!
Even Emi is uneasy with how effortlessly her comrades control the monster. She informs Terasawa that the Futurians’ true mission is to subjugate Japan in the past to prevent it from becoming the dominant world superpower in the future. Japan’s only hope is to turn to Mr. Shindo’s savior, and somehow revive Godzilla!
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is one of the best films of the Heisei series. It has a fascinating plot, interesting characters, and it moves along at a quick pace. The time-travel scenario is full of holes and inconsistencies (for example, how do people remember Godzilla when he was supposedly erased from history?*). However, the film’s core appeal is emotional rather than logical. It examines Godzilla’s dual role as both the scourge and savior of Japan. The character of Mr. Shindo (well played by Yoshio Tsuchiya, the Controller of Planet X from Invasion of Astro-Monster) best illustrates this conflict. His final meeting with Godzilla is one of the most poignant moments in the entire Godzilla canon. As for the special effects, they’re a mixed bag. There are some silly effects involving M-11’s android antics. The scenes featuring the Godzillasaurus are clumsily executed, and the stiff Ghidorah prop used for some flying scenes looks straight out of Godzilla vs. Gigan. Godzilla himself has rarely looked better though; he’s buffed out and very expressive. The King Ghidorah suit is well done, and a real highlight is its future counterpart, Mecha-King Ghidorah. MKG’s first appearance is an homage to the original Ghidorah’s fiery birth in 1964. The miniatures and pyrotechnics are great. The monsters’ final showdown takes place among the towering skyscrapers of Shinjuku (Tokyo’s government and business district), a setting used to great effect. Overall, the monster battles are the best filmed up until that time. Logical flaws and uneven effects aside, GvKG is a fascinating series entry. Grade: A- (*For a good explanation of how the confusing time-travel scenario works, check out this article at SciFi Japan.)
Video: The video quality is a mixed bag. First, the good: GvKG is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, making it an immediate improvement over Sony’s cropped region 1 version. Now the bad: The colors are a bit off. Brighter colors are sometimes over-saturated. Many less vibrant scenes have a greenish tint to them. There are some specks on the print, but they’re not obtrusive. Overall sharpness and detail aren’t noticeably bad, but suffer in direct comparison to the anamorphic region 2 version. Grade: C+
Audio: There are two audio tracks. First, the film’s original Japanese language is presented in 2.0 mono, with no separation between the two channels. Why Universe Laser didn’t use the original 2.0 Dolby stereo track is puzzling. It doesn’t sound bad. The dialogue, sound effects, and music are all clear. (Speaking of the music, the poignant and powerful score was Akira Ifukube’s first for the Heisei series. It’s good to have the Master back.) There is also a Cantonese dub, also in 2.0 mono. The dialogue on the Cantonese version is recorded a bit louder, but overall the two tracks are equivalent in quality. Japanese will undoubtedly be the choice for international fans. Grade: B-
Extras / Menus: There are no extras, not even trailers for other Godzilla films released by Universe Laser. The menus are fullscreen still images, with no sound. There are animated film clips in the chapter select windows. Everything is labeled in both English and Chinese, so navigation is easy. Grade: D-
Final Analysis: This is obviously a budget release. It’s disappointing that Universe went with a non-anamorphic transfer and mono sound. The English subtitles are decent, and the box says that they’re based on the Japanese version, not the dub. Like all of Universe’s Heisei releases, the English subs are displayed simultaneously with Chinese text, but it’s easy to get used to. This is also a complete print that begins with the Toho 60th anniversary logo, and includes the end credits that were cut from Sony’s release. The final thing that earns this disc a recommendation is the price tag: It can be had for under $10, making it an affordable choice for U.S. fans who want to see the film in its original aspect ratio and language. Final Grade: B
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