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Godzilla's Revenge (Classic Media)
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Box Front Japanese Title: Gojira, Minira, Gabara:  Oru Kaiju Daishingeki (“Godzilla, Minya, Gabara:  All Monsters Attack”)
Alternate Titles: All Monsters Attack (international title)
Director: Ishiro Honda (Godzilla, King Of The Monsters; Rodan)
Original Release Year: 1969
Running Time: 69 minutes

DVD Released By: Classic Media / Sony Music Entertainment
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: English mono, English 5.1
Extras: Godzilla:  Destroy All Monsters Melee video game preview
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 9
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $12.98
UPC #: 074645428994
Catalog #: LVD 54289
Status: Available (individually, or as part of the Ultimate Godzilla Collection Box Set).


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: Ichiro is a young boy living in Tokyo.  Both his mother and father have to work long hours to make ends meet, and they are rarely home.  Ichiro’s situation at school is no better.  He is frequently targeted by a gang of bullies led by his nemesis, Gabara.  To escape his dreary circumstances, Ichiro dreams of visiting far-off Monster Island.  There, he can spend time with Minya and watch Godzilla engage in exciting combat with the other monsters.

Things aren’t all pleasant on Monster Island, though.  Minya, the smallest monster on the island, is bullied by an aggressive monster called (you guessed it), Gabara.  Ichiro watches on as Godzilla instructs Minya in standing up for himself and fighting his own battles.  Back in the real world, Ichiro will also need to draw on Godzilla’s example not only to stand up to the bullies, but also to save himself from a pair of bumbling bank robbers who take him hostage.

Godzilla’s Revenge suffers, somewhat unjustly, from a poor reputation among Godzilla fans.  It was the first Godzilla movie made exclusively for children.  It was also a very low-budget project.  The film’s biggest weakness is that much of the monster action is made up of stock footage from earlier movies.  Godzilla’s battles with Ebirah, a giant condor, and a squadron of fighter jets are from Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, and his fight with Spiega is from Son Of Godzilla.  The U.S. version also suffers from some horrendous dubbing.

The film does have its strong points.  It’s easy to feel for Ichiro, who spends most of his lonely days either playing in dilapidated buildings or daydreaming in a cramped apartment.  The film’s message about latchkey kids having to grow up before their time is even more relevant today than when the film was made in 1969.  In many ways,
Godzilla’s Revenge is superior to the similar Home Alone.  All in all, if one is willing to accept Godzilla’s Revenge as a kid’s movie, and nothing more, it succeeds in that capacity quite well.  Grade:  B-

Video: The movie is presented in fullscreen.  The framing and composition appear horribly cramped.  Print damage such as speckles and lines are present throughout much of the film.  There is absolutely no reason that Classic Media couldn’t include the remastered widescreen version that was on the previous Simitar releaseGrade:  D

Audio: The English mono track is serviceable, if nothing special.  The slurred dialogue and goofy voices of the English dub are reproduced faithfully.  It’s recorded slightly louder than the Simitar version, but otherwise sounds identical.  This disk also features a 5.1 remix.  Since I don’t yet have a 5.1 system, I can’t comment on that option.  A common complaint with these remixes is that the entire soundtrack has a distracting “echo” effect, which is apparent even on a basic stereo television.  Grade:  C+

Extras / Menus: The only extra is a preview of the Godzilla:  Destroy All Monsters Melee video game for the Nintendo GameCube.  (An enhanced X-Box version of the game is also available.)  It’s a nice clip, featuring a live Japanese reporter fleeing from the in-game action.  The fast action and cool graphics of the game are shown to good effect.  Too bad Classic Media didn’t include some trailers, or any other extras.  Only the main menu is animated, with a still image of Godzilla looming over a city.  Grade:  C-

Final Analysis: While the DVD format as a whole continues to improve and evolve, this disk takes a major step backwards in both quality and content.  If you enjoy this much-maligned film, or want to either give it another look or use it to introduce a child to the wonderful world of Godzilla, seek out the discontinued Simitar DVD to see it the way it should be seen.  Final Grade:  D
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