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Godzilla, Mothra, And King Ghidorah:
Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
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Japanese Title: Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Ghidorah:  Daikaiju Soukougeki (“Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah:  Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”)
Director: Shusuke Kaneko (Gamera, Guardian Of The Universe; Pyrokinesis)
Original Release Year: 2001
Running Time: 105 minutes

DVD Released By: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: Japanese 5.1, English 5.1
Extras: Trailers for other CTHE releases
Subtitles: English, French (all dubtitles)
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 28
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $24.95
UPC #: 043396100145
Catalog #: 10014
Status: Available (individually, or as part of the Celebrating the 50th Anniversary Of Godzilla! Box Set)


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: For almost 50 years, the nation of Japan has been at peace.  For most Japanese people, the devastation of WWII and Godzilla’s attack in 1954 are nothing but stories of a distant past.  However, that is about to change.  The destruction of a U.S. nuclear submarine off the coast of Guam signals the return of Godzilla!

Two people following Godzilla’s movements are Taizo Tachibana, an admiral in the Japanese military, and his daughter Yuri.  Yuri is a reporter for BS Digital-Q, a tabloid TV show known for cheap programs about paranormal phenomena.  While the Admiral struggles to prepare the skeptical military to defend Japan against Godzilla, Yuri sees her opportunity to finally cover an important,  “real” story.

As other monsters are sighted across Japan, Yuri meets Isayama, an old man who seems to be a prophet concerning monsters.  He warns that Godzilla, far from being merely a dinosaur mutated by radioactivity, is driven by the angry spirits of those who died in the Pacific War!  He also claims that three ancient monsters will arise to protect Japan from Godzilla.

As Godzilla thunders across Japan, the guardian monsters move to stop him.  Baragon is the first to challenge Godzilla.  Though he struggles valiantly, the burrowing reptile is no match for the overwhelming power of Godzilla.  When Godzilla marches on Tokyo, the two remaining guardians, Mothra and King Ghidorah, combine their power in a final battle against the unstoppable juggernaut.  Will Admiral Tachibana and the military be able to tip the scales in favor of the guardian monsters?  Can Yuri stay alive long enough to tell the story?  Can anything stop Godzilla?

One of the many great things about
Godzilla, Mothra, And King Ghidorah:  Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (GMK for short) is that it is both a tribute to the classic Godzilla films of the 1960’s, and is also unique and inventive.  The multiple-monster format and military-planning subplot are familiar from Godzilla vs. Mothra; Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster; and Destroy All Monsters.  The likeable human characters and new roles for classic monsters keep it interesting.  Godzilla hasn’t been portrayed as this dangerous and unstoppable since the original Godzilla, King Of The Monsters.  As Yuri Tachibana, Chiharu Niiyama lights up the screen in every scene she’s in; her good-natured enthusiasm really shows through.  Ryudo Uzaki brings a real commanding presence to Admiral Tachibana.  He’s stern and reserved, but never one-dimensional.  The late Hideo (aka “Eisei”) Amamoto is great as the enigmatic Isayama, a role written especially for him.  The special effects are also very good.  Baragon and Mothra are perhaps the best-realized Japanese monsters yet.  While the Godzilla suit has its shortcomings, some great suitmation acting effectively conveys Godzilla’s aggressive nature and bad attitude.

From the first fleeting glimpse of Godzilla’s fins moving underwater, and the opening titles shown over the hides of the monsters (with Ko Otani’s unique and driving music), the audience is in for something special.  Director
Shusuke Kaneko revitalized Daiei’s Gamera franchise, and kaiju fans have been eagerly anticipating him directing a Godzilla movie.  He doesn’t disappoint, because GMK is one of the best.  Grade:  A

Video: GMK is presented in widescreen, and is anamorphically enhanced for 16:9 widescreen TV’s.  There are a few errant specks on the print, but they’re not very noticeable.  Color reproduction is excellent, with solid and vibrant hues.  Clarity and detail are much improved over the region 3 Hong Kong version, which was too murky in darker scenes.  The film’s optical effects are also brighter and more dazzling on this version.  However, the picture on this disk occasionally gets quite grainy later in the film, when Mothra and Ghidorah challenge Godzilla in Tokyo.  Grade:  B+

Audio: Both the original Japanese soundtrack, and Toho’s English dub, are included in Dolby Digital 5.1.  The quality of the Japanese track is very good.  The dialogue is clear and the sound effects are impressive throughout.  I even noticed some subtleties in the music that I hadn’t before, despite having seen the film many times.  The English track is equivalent in quality, except that the actual dubbing isn’t very good.  Not only is much of the dialogue inaccurate and/or inane, the voices leave something to be desired.  Tachibana’s English voice just doesn’t have the depth and authority it should.  The military woman who seems to have a crush on the Admiral almost sounds like a man!  Don’t ask, don’t tell, and always stick with the Japanese.  Grade:  A

Extras / Menus: The only extras are trailers for other CTHE releases.  The trailers are:  Alien Hunter, Godzilla (1998), The Medallion (starring Jackie Chan), Returner, and So Close (directed by Cory Yuen).  Returner is a high-tech Japanese time-travel thriller.  So Close looks like a more serious (and probably much better) Hong Kong version of Charlie’s Angels.  All of the trailers are in widescreen; only Alien Hunter and The Medallion are anamorphic.  The menus are all anamorphic still images, with no music or sound.

This lack of supplementary material is disappointing.  There aren’t even trailers for
GMK or any other Japanese Godzilla films.  CTHE probably didn’t even consider including some of the real extras from the region 2 releases, like ADV Films did with the Heisei Gamera trilogyGrade:  D+

Final Analysis: There is one major shortcoming on this disk that still needs to be addressed:  The subtitles, or more appropriately, dubtitles.  The subtitles on this disk are not an accurate translation of the Japanese dialogue.  Instead, they are based on the English dubbing.  Thus, the subtitles include such inept lines as “I think you make a great girl,” “Jesus, my buddies are in there!,” and “Fry, you goddamn lizard!”  Tachibana and his second-in-command are also made to seem quite pleased when their D3 missile misses Godzilla and strikes the benevolent Ghidorah instead!

It’s common knowledge among kaiju connoisseurs that watching these movies in their original language is preferable.  English dubbing is too often poorly done, making these fantastic films seem cheap and campy.  By their puzzling inclusion of dubtitles, Columbia Tristar has made sure many U.S. Godzilla fans still won’t be able to fully appreciate
GMK the way the filmmakers intended.

Overall, this disk is very consistent with CTHE’s release of the previous film in the series,
Godzilla vs. MegaguirusGxM is a sillier movie though, and thus doesn’t suffer as much as GMK does from the dubbing and dubtitles.  The audio and video are impressive, but this disk is pricey for a DVD without real extras or subtitles.  Final Grade:  B
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