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Terror Of MechaGodzilla (Power
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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: 83 minutes

DVD Released By: Power Multimedia / Tailent Video & Multimedia (Taiwan)
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: English mono, Mandarin mono
Extras: Summary (in Chinese)
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese (non-removable)
Closed Captions: None
Region: 0
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 6
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: Unknown
UPC #: 4714295990149
Catalog #: PW0184-003D
Status: Out of print


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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.

Fortunately, the version presented on this DVD is
UNCUT.  The alien’s violent outbursts, Katsura’s breasts, and a couple of kids getting squished by Titanosaurus are all here!  Best of all, the ending not only makes sense, but it has a lot more emotional impact when seen in its entirety.  Grade:  B+

Video: While all U.S. presentations of this film are pan-and-scan fullscreen, this one is merely cropped.  That is to say, no effort has been made to keep the “camera” on the action.  The sides of the original widescreen image have simply been eliminated, showing only the middle of the frame.  There is some print damage, especially during the beginning credit sequence.  There are more minor specks and blotches throughout the rest of the film.  All in all, this transfer strikes a good balance between the ho-hum dullness of the Simitar version, and the brighter (but over-saturated) Classic Media versionGrade:  C-

Audio: The English mono track is serviceable, if nothing special.  The dialogue, sound effects, and Ifukube’s powerful score are all clear.  The dialogue on the Mandarin track is recorded lower, but sounds okay.  It also includes some different music.  Parts of Ifukube’s score are replaced.  For example, the sepia-toned still montage explaining Dr. Mafune’s past has generic organ music playing over it.  There is also additional music added to scenes that didn’t have any.  The final scenes of the film include music cues lifted from Godzilla 1985 and Godzilla vs. BiollanteGrade:  C

Extras / Menus: The only “extra” (I’m hesitant to call it that, since it adds nothing of value) is a brief summary.  It’s one page of text, all in Chinese.  There is also a “Copyright” (yeah right!) screen, also in Chinese.  The menus are basic and static, with most of the text being in Chinese.  Curiously enough, the main menu prominently features Minya from Son Of GodzillaGrade:  F

Final Analysis: While the uncut version of Terror Of MechaGodzilla is a great improvement over the U.S. “edit,” this movie really needs to be presented in widescreen.  The non-removable subtitles don’t help, either.  Picture and sound quality are solid if unspectacular.  This disk is recommended over either official U.S. release.  Final Grade:  C
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