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Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
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Box Front Japanese Title: Gojira Tai Mekagojira (“Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”)
Original U.S. Release Title: Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster (the original proposed U.S. title was Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster, but this was changed for legal reasons)
Director: Jun Fukuda (Godzilla vs. Megalon)
Original Release Year: 1974
Running Time: 84 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: None
Region: 0
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 6
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: Unknown
UPC #: 4714295990149
Catalog #: PW0184-007D
Status: Out of print


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(That's the poster art for Godzilla vs. Biollante on the cover.  The movie on the disc, however, is Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla)
Reviewed by:
The Film: Godzilla rises out of the sea and rampages across the Japanese countryside.  He battles (and severely injures) his old friend Anguirus along the way.  Godzilla’s bad new attitude seems to be the fulfillment of a prophecy:  An Okinawan priestess had recently foretold that a monster would come forth and try to destroy the world.  Mankind’s only hope may be that the second half of the prophecy also comes to pass; that two monsters would come forth to defend the Earth.

When Godzilla attacks a refinery, he is confronted by:  Another Godzilla!  The skin of the hostile Godzilla is burned away, revealing a glistening metal robot underneath:  Mechagodzilla!  This giant robot was built by aliens from the Third Planet of the Black Hole.  They plan to use it as their ultimate weapon to conquer the Earth.  Even Godzilla is outmatched by the firepower of this metal juggernaut.

Several archeology researchers, under the clandestine protection of Interpol, race to unlock the secret of an Okinawan statue.  Legend says that the statue is the key to reviving King Caesar, the ancient guardian of Okinawa.  Against the awesome power of Mechagodzilla, Godzilla is going to need all the help he can get.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is one of the best of the 1970s Godzilla films.  It moves along at a fast pace, helped by exciting monster battles and a jazzy musical score.  Mechagodzilla is an inspired creation.  The robot’s angular features and hydraulic hissing roar give it a sense of menace lacking in many of Godzilla’s 1970s opponents (while still “cool,” creatures like Megalon and Gigan more closely resembled the Ultra-kaiju popular on TV at the time).  The final battle is a rousing sound-and-light spectacular.  This was Godzilla’s 20th anniversary film, and it’s apparent the filmmakers endeavored to make it worthy.  Mechagodzilla would prove popular enough to warrant a return engagement in the following year’s Terror of Mechagodzilla, as well as updates in 1993 and 2002Grade:  B+

Video: The film is presented in cropped fullscreen.  No effort has been made to keep the “camera” on the action via pan-and-scanning.  The sides of the original widescreen image have simply been eliminated, showing only the middle of the frame.  The composition is very cramped; speaking characters are often completely out of frame.  The pre-credit sequence (with Anguirus) is vertically “stretched,” making it look like the DVD player is set to anamorphic mode on a standard TV.  The colors are dull and the image isn’t very sharp.  There are speckles throughout the film.  Towards the beginning (Godzilla and Mechagodzilla’s first battle), there is even a “hair” on the film that remains on screen for several minutes!  The SP mode VHS tape released by New World Video in the late 1980s looks a lot better than this.  Grade:  D

Audio: The English mono track is recorded very low, and some of the dialogue is muffled.  The Mandarin track is a lot louder, and features some odd re-recorded sound effects and synthesizer music.  It would actually be fun to watch the film this way with a couple of friends and give it the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment (is it just me, or do a lot of Mandarin sound combinations sound like “shit?”).  Grade:  C-

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” (I bet!) screen, also in Chinese.  The menus are basic and static, with most of the text in Chinese.  Grade:  F

Final Analysis: One of the best of the 1970s Godzilla films on a cut-rate DVD.  This “Real Action Godzilla” DVD is only good for some laughs.  (I swear that, on the Mandarin track, when the guy is looking at the brick of space titanium, it sounds like he says “Shit goes on as usual.”)  That’s so true in so many ways.  Final Grade:  D+
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