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Terror Of MechaGodzilla
(Simitar Entertainment)
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Japanese Title: MekaGojira No Gyakushu (“MechaGodzilla’s Counterattack”)
Original U.S. Release Title: The Terror Of Godzilla
Director: Ishiro Honda (Godzilla, King Of The Monsters; Rodan)
Original Release Year: 1975
Running Time: 79 minutes

DVD Released By: Simitar Entertainment
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: English mono, English 5.1
Extras: Simitar Godzilla trailers, art gallery, trivia game, film facts
DVD-ROM content: 4 screen savers, printable photo & art galleries, access to and websites
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 8
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $19.98
UPC #: 082551747627
Catalog #: 7476
Status: Simitar went out of business, and this disk 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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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: A salvage operation to recover the remains of the alien robot MechaGodzilla meets its end at the claws of an aquatic dinosaur, Titanosaurus.  Ichinose, a marine biologist investigating the incident, seeks help from the reclusive scientist, Dr. Mafune.  Mafune had been discredited years before on account of his unusual experiments, which involved controlling sea life.  Disgusted with the shortsightedness of humankind, Mafune has since joined forces with the creators of MechaGodzilla, the aliens from the Third Planet of the Black Hole.  Mafune’s cold but alluring daughter, Katsura, is instrumental to the aliens’ plan.  Katsura is a cyborg, and her body contains the computer controlling mechanism for the rebuilt MechaGodzilla.  By combining the firepower of MechaGodzilla with the animal instinct and brute strength of Titanosaurus, the aliens control a fighting force which neither humanity nor Godzilla can stand against.

Terror Of MechaGodzilla is arguably the best of the 1970’s Godzilla films.  The story is both deeper and more somber than the previous year’s Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, which itself was a large step up from the cheap and childish antics of the previous few entries.  The characters are interesting and well developed.  Over the course of the film, Ichinose’s concern and determination gradually melt away Katsura’s icy resolve after years of knowing nothing but her father’s bitterness.  Dr. Mafune serves as a disillusioned extension of the 1954 Godzilla’s Dr. Serizawa (both eccentric scientists are played by Akihiko Hirata).  Also, it’s just fun to see the alien commander played by the same actor as in the previous film, despite having been graphically killed!

Visually, the film benefits from impressive scenes of urban destruction.  (As a cost-cutting measure, the previous few entries in the series staged most of the monster action in more desolate landscapes, and resorted to using stock footage for the destruction of cities.)  The film is also well served by the return of two Godzilla series veterans:  Director Ishiro Honda and composer Akira Ifukube.  While the film is undeniably low budget and “rough around the edges,” it allowed Godzilla to enter retirement on a high note.

Unfortunately, the version presented on this DVD is the horribly edited U.S. release.  The body of the film is missing several scenes (cut for violence and nudity).  Also, the shoot-out at the end has been re-edited to the point of being incomprehensible. 
Grade:  B-

Video: This is the same pan-and-scan fullscreen version that has been available in the U.S. on TV and video for years.  There is some print damage, especially during the beginning credit sequence.  There are more minor specks and blotches throughout the rest of the film, as well as occasional grain.  Overall, the colors are dull.  The blockiness and pixelization that is present on several of Simitar’s Godzilla disks is at a minimum here, popping up only occasionally.  Grade:  D

Audio: The English mono track is serviceable, if nothing special.  It’s recorded lower than the Classic Media version, and has less background noise.  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.  Grade:  C+

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.

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 many other sites (not all of which are 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: A solid entry in the Godzilla series that has been given consistently poor treatment in the West.  This movie really needs to be seen uncut, and in widescreen!  This is the poorest of Simitar's five Godzilla disks.  Final Grade:  C-
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