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|Japanese Title: Sora No Daikaiju Radon (“Rodan, Giant Monster Of The Sky”)
Director: Ishiro Honda (Godzilla, King Of The Monsters; Terror Of MechaGodzilla)
Original Release Year: 1956
Running Time: 72 minutes
DVD Released By: Classic Media / Sony Music Entertainment
Audio: English mono, English 5.1
Extras: Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee video game preview
Closed Captions: English
UPC #: 074645462493
Catalog #: LVD 54624
Status: Available (individually, or as part of the Ultimate Godzilla Collection Box Set).
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|Reviewed by: Zillamon51|
|The Film: Strange accidents and disappearances plague a Japanese mining company. The mutilated bodies of several men are recovered from the flooded mine. The culprits turn out to be a colony of Meganeuron (giant insects resembling dragonfly larvae). The mine is infested!
Meanwhile, UFO’s are sighted throughout Asia. Planes and ships are being destroyed by these strange objects, which fly at supersonic speeds. The connection between the UFO’s and the insects becomes clear when Shigeru, a miner who had been lost underground, is found alive. He tells the authorities an incredible story: While trapped in the depths of the Earth, he witnessed the hatching of a prehistoric egg! He watched in horror as a giant winged reptile emerged, and made a meal of the deadly insects.
A mated pair of the flying monsters descends on Sasebo and, in a spectacular sequence of destruction, lays waste to the city. After the monsters finally retreat, the military hatches a plan. They will bombard the creatures’ home, a volcanic crater, while they are resting. As the attack triggers an eruption, the entire area is consumed in a holocaust of smoke and flame than even the mighty Rodans may not be able to survive.
Rodan is one of the best of the classic kaiju eiga. After the tepid response to 1955’s Godzilla Raids Again, Toho reunited the classic team of Tomoyuki Tanaka (producer), Ishiro Honda (director), Eiji Tsuburaya (special effects) and Akira Ifukube (composer) for a string of classic science fiction and monster films. The story of Rodan is straightforward monster mayhem. Though it lacks the grim subtext of the original Godzilla, it’s consistently entertaining. Its 72 minutes move along at a quick pace. The Rodans’ attack on Sasebo features some of Tsuburaya’s best effects work. Rodan’s leathery wings cause winds that shear the tiles off roofs, collapse buildings, and blow the rubble around in the streets. Tanks and rocket launchers roll convincingly over the wreckage as they approach the monsters. Likewise, the bombardment and eruption at the climax is a spectacular light show leading to one of the most poignant endings in monster movie history. Grade: A
Video: Rodan is presented in its original fullscreen aspect ratio. Picture quality is okay. Most scenes are sharp, and colors are good. There are speckles and scratches on the film print, as well as grain, throughout the movie. Grade: C
Audio: The English mono track is serviceable, if nothing special. The dialogue, music, and sound effects are all clear. 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: B
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 Rodan looming over a city. Grade: C-
Final Analysis: A decent presentation of a monster movie classic. This disk should be on every kaiju fan’s shelf, strictly on the basis of the film itself. Final Grade: B-
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