Blu-ray Reviews “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep”, “Godzilla vs. Hedorah” & “Godzilla vs. Gigan”

ebriahDirectors: Yoshimitsu Banno, Jun Fukuda
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Section 23
DVD Release Date: May 6, 2014
Run Time: 88 / 86 / 90 minutes

“Ebirah, Horror of the Deep”: 3 out of 5 stars
“Godzilla vs. Hedorah”: 3.5 out of 5 stars
“Godzilla vs. Gigan”: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

This year is no question, the year of Godzilla. With Warner Bros and Legendary’s reboot hitting theaters on May 16th, everyone is in Godzilla overload. Joining the craze, Kraken Releasing is jumping on the the kaiju (giant monster) love by bringing us the first U.S. Blu-ray release of three classic films featuring the world’s most famous giant reptile. The first is “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” (1966), which was originally released in the U.S. in 1968 under the title “Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster”. Next we have “Godzilla vs. Hedorah” (1971), which was released theatrically in the U.S in 1972 as “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster”. Lastly, we get “Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)”, which was was released theatrically in the U.S in 1977 as “Godzilla on Monster Island”.

“Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” was never really one of my favorite “Godzilla” films. It takes like a solid 45 minutes just to see the giant lizard. Besides the title character and our green friend, Mothra also pops in towards the end as well. For me this is a great one for the collection to be complete but I would much prefer to watch “Godzilla vs. Hedorah”. Even though this one only has one other monster besides Godzilla, Heodrah is quite badass . “Godzilla vs. Gigan” was always one of my favs growing up. When you have monsters like Godzilla, Gigan, King Ghidorah and Anguirus all together, shit is bound to get crazy.

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)” Official Premise: When Ryota’s brother Yata disappears at sea, the intrepid youth and his friends join forces with a slightly trustworthy bank robber, godzilla-hedorahsteal a boat and go after him! Of course, there’s the little problem that Yata may be lost on a mysterious island where the evil terrorist organization Red Bamboo has enslaved natives to make heavy water for nefarious purposes. And that means dealing with the island’s monstrous, 164 feet tall guardian Ebirah, as well as Red Bamboo’s arsenal of super advanced weaponry. On the plus side, help may be at hand in the form of a nubile island girl, two tiny fairies, their giant protector Mothra and the big G himself, the mighty Godzilla. Surviving the results of all that “assistance” may not be guaranteed, but Red Bamboo will never want to tangle with teenagers AND Godzilla at the same time again!

“Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)” Official Premise: Forget about acid rain and global warming! The worst ecological nightmare is actually Hedorah, which starts off small but quickly mutates into a giant flying monster capable of wiping out all life on whatever unfortunate planet it lands on! And since Hedorah grows by consuming the toxic gases and chemicals mankind has spilled into the air and water, in the early 1970s that means that its potential growth is unlimited! Fortunately for the human race, the Earth has an ultimate green defender who doesn’t need to sing protest songs or try to enact new laws to get things done. Because nobody, and nothing, can stop Godzilla when he decides to push an environmental issue, and while Hedorah may be the dirtiest opponent Godzilla has ever faced, his name is going to be mud by the time he’s been stomped into the whole Earth a few dozen times.

“Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972)” Official Premise: When alien invaders, plans for a children’s theme park and four giant monsters with six heads between them all collide, the result is the inevitable battle for the fate of the Earth. At least, that’s how it is for Godzilla, who teams up with his former spiky foe Anguirus for a tag team match against two of his greatest adversaries: the legendary three headed King Ghidorah and Gigan, the cyborg hench-monster for insidious insect aliens whose plot to wipe out all human life is cleverly disguised as plans for the construction of a new children’s theme park. Unfortunately for the bug’s diabolical designs, their secret monster control codes are accidentally discovered by comic book artist Gengo Kotaka, who broadcasts the master tape and brings Team Godzilla into monsterislandplay. It’s not going to be an easy fight, though, as the odds are four heads to two, and King Ghidorah’s one of Godzilla’s toughest opponents. With his cybernetic weaponry Gigan is equally ruthless, and his alien masters are as hard to kill as the cockroaches they resemble. Will Earth’s biggest defenders finally fall? Or will Godzilla, and insecticide, triumph over all?

When I watched these three films, I was really looking to be quite critical on the transfers but  both Kraken Releasing really hooked these films up with very solid 1080p transfers. The special effects by by Teruyoshi Nakano still look very sharp and the colors are also very vibrant. You can literally even seen the slight blood on Godzilla’s nose when he is getting beaten down, which I thought was amazing. In terms of audio, we get both the English dubbed and original Japanese versions with English subtitles. Of course, depending on your mood, the Japanese takes a serious approach and the English dubs are laughable but still enjoyable. Lastly in terms of special features, the only extra on each of these three Blu-rays are just an original Japanese trailer for each film.

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