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Godzilla vs. Mothra (Simitar Entertainment)
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Box Front Japanese Title: Mosura Tai Gojira (“Mothra vs. Godzilla”)
Alternate Titles: Mothra vs. Godzilla (international title), Godzilla vs. the Thing (original U.S. theatrical release title)
Director: Ishiro Honda (Godzilla:  King of the Monsters, Rodan)
Original Release Year: 1964
Running Time: 87 minutes

DVD Released By: Simitar Entertainment
Video: Widescreen and fullscreen
Audio: English mono, English 5.1
Extras: Simitar Godzilla trailers,  art gallery, trivia game, film facts
DVD-ROM Content: Screen savers, printable photo & art galleries, internet links
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: None
Region:  1
Chapters: 8
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $19.98
UPC #: 082551747429
Catalog #: 7474
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: A hurricane in the South Pacific brings a strange object to the shores of Japan:  A gigantic, floating egg.  The egg is towed ashore by villagers, who then sell it to a local businessman, Kumayama.  A reporter and photographer, Sakai and Yoka, investigate the phenomenon.  Their attempted interview with Professor Miura, a scientist who is examining the egg, is cut short when they are ordered to leave the scene by Kumayama.  They are distressed to learn that the egg will not be used for scientific study.  Instead, Kumayama intends to make it a tourist attraction!

The Shobijin, the tiny twin faeries of Infant Island, come to Japan to ask that the egg be returned.  The egg belongs to Mothra, the giant insect god of Infant Island.  Kumayama and his boss, Torahata, refuse to listen to the faeries’ plea.  Even when Sakai, Yoka, and Professor Miura accompany the diminutive twins, the unscrupulous businessmen flatly refuse.  Disgusted with man’s greed, the Shobijin return to their island home.

However, it is soon discovered that the hurricane has brought a far deadlier menace to Japan:  Godzilla!  Emerging from a mudplain left by the storm, the radioactive dinosaur resumes his destructive ways.  As Japan is being trampled, the tables are turned.  Sakai, Yoka, and the professor journey to Infant Island to plead for Mothra’s help in stopping Godzilla’s rampage.  Showing more mercy than they had received in Japan, the Shobijin and Mothra agree.

Mothra arrives on the Japanese mainland just as Godzilla approaches her egg.  Mothra struggles valiantly, and gains the upper hand against her imposing foe, but is ultimately felled by Godzilla’s atomic breath.  As the monster continues his march across Japan, it is now up to Mothra’s twin offspring to avenge their parent and stop Godzilla.

Godzilla vs. Mothra is widely regarded as one of the best Godzilla films.  The reasons for this are many.  The film combines an appealing cast of human characters with the spectacle of the battle between Toho’s two most popular monsters.  The special effects are consistently excellent.  This was the last film of the Showa series to offer a threatening, unsympathetic portrayal of Godzilla.  There is also great contrast between the lumbering, animalistic Godzilla, and the elegant and intelligent Mothra.

The U.S. version presented on this DVD benefits from an excellent dub (notwithstanding Mothra being frequently referred to as “the Thing”), and an additional action sequence.  (The scene in which the U.S. military attempts to stop Godzilla using Frontier Missiles is only included in the U.S. release.)  No monster movie fan should miss this film. 
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 very good shape.  There are occasional speckles and blemishes.  The transfer is clear and sharp.  On very 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 here is anamorphic enhancement.

The fullscreen version is the same one that’s been on TV and video in the U.S. for years.  The colors are dull, the fullscreen composition is cramped, and there is more print damage on this TV / video print than on the widescreen theatrical print.  Don’t waste your time; stick with the widescreen version. 
Grade:  B+

Audio: The English 2.0 track is serviceable, if nothing special.  The dialogue, music, and sound effects are all clear.  It’s recorded lower than the Classic Media version, but otherwise sounds identical.  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.  All of these extras are on side B, 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 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: Once you’ve seen this film digitally remastered in widescreen, you’ll never want to waste your time watching a fullscreen version again.  This out-of-print disc has since been eclipsed in both audio / video quality, and supplemental content, by Classic Media's Mothra vs. Godzilla release.  Final Grade:  A-
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