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Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
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Box Front Japanese Title: Kaiju Daisenso (“Great Monster War”)
Alternate Titles: Invasion of Astro-Monster (international title), Monster Zero (original U.S. title)
Director: Ishiro Honda (Godzilla:  King of the Monsters, Rodan)
Original Release Year: 1965
Running Time: 93 minutes

DVD Released By: Simitar Entertainment
Video: Widescreen and fullscreen
Audio: English mono, English 5.1
Extras: Previews, art gallery, trivia game, film facts, biography
DVD-ROM Content: Screen savers, printable photo & art galleries, internet links
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 10
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $19.98
UPC #: 082551747726
Catalog #: 7477
Status: Simitar went out of business, and this disc is out of print.  It was also available as part of the Godzilla:  5 Rampaging Movies Box Set, and the Godzilla Collection Box Set.


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The Film: An exploratory spacecraft is dispatched from Earth to investigate the newly discovered Planet X.  Astronauts Fuji and Glenn land on what appears to be a desolate world.  However, they soon discover that there is life on Planet X:  A race of technologically advanced people lives underground.  They cannot live on the surface, because Planet X is under siege by the three-headed space monster, King Ghidorah!

The enigmatic Controller of Planet X has a proposition for the Earth.  The Xians want to “borrow” the monsters Godzilla and Rodan and bring them to Planet X to defeat Ghidorah.  In exchange, they offer the formula for a miracle drug that can cure all diseases.  Humanity agrees, and bids the two monsters farewell.

However, Glenn and Fuji grow suspicious of the Xians’ motives.  Can these strangely aloof beings be trusted?  Why have Xians been sighted on Earth?  Is water really more precious to them than gold?  All is revealed when the Xians demand that the Earth be surrendered to them.  These invaders now control the three deadliest monsters in the solar system.  Humanity’s twin hopes may lie in a struggling inventor’s latest gizmo, and finding a way to release the monsters from alien control.

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero was the first movie to combine giant monsters and alien invasion.  It’s also the first kaiju film in which humans and monsters must work together to save the Earth.  The film benefits from excellent special effects and cool art design.  The characters are well-portrayed and genuinely likable.  Toho occasionally cast Western actors in their films to increase their appeal to overseas audiences.  Nick Adams, as Glenn, was the best of them; here he delivers a strong and memorable performance.  His love interest (and secret Xian agent), Miss Namikawa, is played by the beautiful Kumi Mizuno.  Akira Ifukube provides the exciting musical score.  Monster Zero cemented Godzilla’s new role as protector of the Earth, and the film is a lot of fun without being too campy.  It’s a wonderful and uplifting popcorn movie, possibly the most enjoyable Godzilla movie of them all.  Grade:  A

Video: Both widescreen and fullscreen versions are included, on opposite sides of the disc.  The widescreen version preserves the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio, and thus is the preferred viewing option.  Like all of Simitar’s Godzilla discs, this DVD was digitally remastered from the original film print.  Considering its age, the print is in good shape.  There are occasional speckles and blemishes.  A few scenes suffer from heavy snow and grain.  The transfer is clear and sharp, and color reproduction is good.  On close inspection, there is some blockiness and pixelization in some scenes, but it’s not enough to be distracting.  The first time you see this film in widescreen is bound to be a revelation.  The only thing missing is anamorphic enhancement.

The fullscreen version is the same one that’s been on TV and video in the U.S. for years.  The composition is cramped, and the digital artifacting is much more noticeable.  Don’t waste your time; stick with the widescreen version. 
Grade:  B-

Audio: Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, like several of the 1960s Godzilla films, benefits from well-done English dubbing.  The voices, if a little cartoonish at times, fit the characters well.  Lip synch is not a problem.  The English mono track sounds good.  The dialogue, music, and sound effects are all clear.  This disc also features a 5.1 remix.  Since I don’t yet have a 5.1 system, I can’t comment on that option.  Grade:  B

Extras / Menus: The usual Simitar extras are all here.  There are trailers for Godzilla:  King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Godzilla’s Revenge, and Terror of Mechagodzilla.  Unfortunately, these are not the original theatrical trailers, but rather video promos for the Simitar releases.  There is also an art gallery featuring still images of Simitar cover art and images from the Godzilla film series, a trivia game, and some basic film facts.  Exclusive to this release is a biography of American star Nick Adams.  All of these extras are on side A, with the widescreen version of the movie.

DVD-ROM content includes:  4 screen savers, printable photo & art galleries, and access to and websites.  I can’t get any of the screen savers to work.  The computer keeps telling me that such-and-such file is “Not a valid Windows image.”  The DVD insert lists the system requirements as “Windows 95 only;” perhaps this is why?  The photo and art galleries work, and contain all the same images that can be viewed on any DVD player.  All the images are printable.  Simitar’s website is long gone; contains links to other sites (most of which are not Godzilla-related).

The main menu and scene selection menu include animated film clips in the option windows.  Navigating the menus can be awkward at times.  The film facts and biography aren’t accessible from the extras menu.  You have to manually look around using the on-screen arrows to find them. 
Grade:  B

Final Analysis: The original widescreen version of the film is a real treasure.  Once you see it in all its glory, you’ll never want to go back to the cramped confines of fullscreen.  This out-of-print disc has since been eclipsed in both audio / video quality, and supplemental content, by Classic Media's Astro-Monster releaseFinal Grade:  B
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