Blu-ray Reviews “The Toho Godzilla Collection, Vol. 2”

Director: Okihiro Yoneda, Kunio Miyoshi, Shûsuke Kaneko, Masaaki Tezuka, Takao Okawara
Rated: Not rated / PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Run Time: 306 / 193 / 107 minutes

Rebirth of Mothra I-III: 3 out of stars
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack: 4 out of stars
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla: 3.5 out of stars
Godzilla 2000: 4 out of stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

With the new reboot of “Godzilla” streeting on Blu-ray this month, we are getting a second bunch of Blu-ray in the “The Toho Godzilla Collection”. This next set including “Rebirth of Mothra”, “Rebirth of Mothra II”, “Rebirth of Mothra III”, “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”, “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” and “Godzilla 2000”. Being a hardcore Godzilla fan, I couldn’t be happier to be receiving this latest bunch. I remember rushing out to the theater opening day first show to catch “Godzilla 2000”.

There are 28 films in “”The Toho Godzilla Collection”, even though The Mothra films really aren’t included in that number. After this patch of films that leaves us with only nine films that haven’t been released on Blu-ray including “Godzilla Raids Again”, “Mothra vs. Godzilla”, “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster”, “Invasion of Astro-Monster”, “Son of Godzilla”, “All Monsters Attack”, “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”, “Terror of Mechagodzilla” and “Godzilla 1985”. Here’s hoping that Sony or anyone else has the rights to release these…it would be great to see the complete collection available to fans.

“Rebirth of Mothra I-III” make up the first Blu-ray. I know the Mothra films are super cheesy but they are just plain fun. But Mothra can still kick some major ass for sure. “Rebirth of Mothra II” has a bit of an environmental agenda but still a decent film. It definitely has a certain kid-version of “Indiana Jones” going on as well here, or at least I always thought it did. Same goes for “Rebirth of Mothra III”, which continues its focus towards kids. It is definitely still a decent film and packs a serious battle as well in the trilogy.

“Rebirth of Mothra” Official Premise: Mothra, one of Godzilla’s longtime allies (and sometimes foe) gets her very own movie series in this, the first of a trilogy. When the three-headed Death Ghidorah, an even fiercer cousin of King Ghidorah, begins to destroy the forests of Japan, Mothra leaves her island paradise to help save them. “Rebirth of Mothra II” Official Premise: Two young kids inadvertently unleash a giant sea creature which is somehow strengthened from the abundance of modern-day pollution. Mothra’s keepers, the tiny twins Moll and Lora, quickly rouse the gentle giant in order to combat this latest threat to peace. “Rebirth of Mothra III” Official Premise: In the final film in the new ‘Mothra’ trilogy, King Ghidorah, the most destructive of all the monsters, returns to destroy the Earth. In the end, Mothra is indeed triumphant and takes her place among the greatest of all monsters.

Each of these films actually delivered pretty unexpectedly great 1080p transfers. I was not expecting to see such a clean and impressive transfers. There are two DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround tracks for each film, the original Japanese and an English dub. I am going to stick with the Japanese track each of these films since they generally end up feeling much more natural and an overall a slightly better track, no question. The only special features includes for each film are three teasers (“Rebirth of Mothra III” only has two teasers) and a theatrical trailer included.

Next up is “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”, which easily wins the longest title in Godzilla history and “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”. “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah” was made to basically reboot the series since it only pays attention to the original 1954 film and the (terrible) 1998 remake. The film packs a big budget compared to past installments. It is far from perfect but is a fun entry for sure. “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” is a bit cheesy but still fun and has some solid battle scenes.  Plus I am a big sucker for anything Mechagodzilla.

“Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” Official Premise: Fifty years ago, the Japanese Defense Forces killed Godzilla or so they thought. When a series of terrifying natural disasters begin to plague Japan, including the inexplicable offshore sinking of a U.S. submarine, a mystic old man warns his nation that Godzilla has come back to destroy Japan as revenge for all the souls lost in the Pacific War. When mere military might cannot squash the monster, the mystic man awakens the Holy Beasts of Yamato — King Ghidorah, Mothra and Baragon, sleeping giants that protected Japan in ancient times. These untamed mammoth beasts take on Godzilla with frightening supernatural brute power that has been 2,000 years in the making. Tradition and technology collide in this chilling high-tech, cutting-edge fable.

“Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” Official Premise: After four years of scrupulous preparation under the prime minister, a new invincible robot, Mechagodzilla, has now reached completion, armed with various weapons, including the most powerful gun in history that can destroy anything in the world. Akane Yashiro is transferred to join the Mechagodzilla team as an operator who controls the mechanical monster. As soon as Mechagodzilla starts on its test run, the huge shadow of Godzilla begins to rise from the depths of the ocean…The battle of the century is going to take place between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla.

“Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” delivers yet another solid presentation on Blu-ray.  The 1080p is sharp with its colors and very clean of any grain. Same again goes for “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”, which is slightly less impressive but still quite solid. The same does not go for the audio track though, “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” includes the original Japanese track and an English dub. They are both actually good entries and just depends on your preference. “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” has the same specs but the English dub is not listenable since it is so poorly acted. The Japanese cut is the only way to go here. Both films only contain their film’s Original Trailers as a bonus feature.

Lastly but not least is “Godzilla 2000”, one of my favorites. It is a not a perfect film like many of the “Godzilla” films but is a blast to watch. This Blu-ray also  contains two versions of the film. The 107 minute Japanese cut has never been released in the US before this, so fans should be going crazy over this one. The shorter 99 minutes English dub cut is also included as well. So even though you are not getting a real double feature here like the others or triple in terms of “Mothra”, but we are getting 1.5 movies for the price of one here.

“Godzilla 2000” Official Premise: Get ready to crumble! The king of all monsters is back and bigger than ever! The action heats up when a UFO reveals itself as a massive alien monster with awesome destructive powers. The alien monster heads straight for the behemoth GODZILLA(r) who’s just crushed the entire city for the battle of the millennium. But Godzilla’s furious heat beam may not be enough to destroy the death-dealing alien, and the future of humankind is in jeopardy. Now, it’s a bang-up, threeway, no-holds-barred brawl as Godzilla, the alien monster and the courageous citizens of Japan fight an unprecedented battle for survival in this earth-shattering new sci-fi action adventure that will blow you away.

“Godzilla 2000” Blu-ray presentation is surprising the least impressive out of this new batch of releases. It is not horrible but doesn’t have that clarity that the “Mothra” films pack. The film does have really great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks. both original Japanese and English dub. This Blu-ray actually has some special features included unlike the rest. There is an audio commentary with Writer/Producer Michael Schlesinger, Editor Mike Mahoney, and Supervising Sound Editor Darren Paskal on the English version only. There is a very short “Behind the Scenes” featurette and of course, lastly there is an Original Trailer included.

Even though the special features on these three releases aren’t great. They do all include an Ultraviolet HD digital copy code, which is a worth the purchase of the disc alone. These films maybe not be perfect and some cheesy but Sony defintely still delivered good Blu-rays here. Like I said, I hope to see more of these in next year for sure. We have nine more films in the series and I hope that we can complete out the collection! Keep them coming Sony!

Blu-ray Reviews “The Toho Godzilla Collection”

Rated: PG / PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 6, 2014
Run Time: Approx 215 minutes per combo pack

“Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla vs. Mothra”: 4 out of 5 stars
“Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II / Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla”: 4 out of 5 stars
“Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus”: 3.5 out of stars
“Godzilla: Tokyo SOS / Godzilla: Final Wars: 5 out of 5 stars

With the release of Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures reboot of “Godzilla” on the horizon for a May 16th theatrical release, this brand has never been hotter right now. Luckily Sony (and other studios as well) are taking advantage of this and release a 8 of the 28 Japanese made Godzilla films in the series on Blu-ray for the first time ever. If you are a Godzilla film and are going crazy trying to get as much merch as you can, then these are no brainer purchases, especially for the low price of under $15 for each double-feature Blu-ray release. The upcoming releases will be part of The Toho Godzilla Collection. Included films are “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla vs. Mothra” in the first double feature set, “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II / Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” in the second, “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus” in the third and “Godzilla: Tokyo SOS / Godzilla: Final Wars” in last. These Godzilla films range from 1991-2004 and let’s hope that Sony has more of these double-features planned this year!

One thing that I have always loved about these films besides Godzilla himself are the monsters that he is fighting. These Blu-ray’s show each of additional monsters included in each film and I think that is mega cool. For “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah”, the creatures we get are listed right in the title. “Godzilla vs. Mothra” includes those two and also Battra.  “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II” kicks it up a notch with four additional characters along with the title ones including Baby Godzilla, Rodan, Fire Rodan and Super Mechagodzilla. With “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla”, we get the two listed and alos Fairy Mothra, Little Godzilla and Moguera. “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah” also gives us Godzilla Junior. Along with “Godzilla vs. Megaguirus”, we also meet Meganulon. “Godzilla: Tokyo SOS” meets the King of Monsters up against Megagodzilla, Mothra and Kamoebas. “Godzilla: Final Wars” is the the last and ultimate monster feature. Including Godzilla, there are a total of 15 monster like Gigan, King Caesar, Anguirus, Kumonga, Kamacuras, Ebriah, Manda, Hedorah, Rodan, Minilla, Mothra, Monster X I & II and Zilla. Whew!

These films on each of these four releases have all been remastered in high definition. Having seen some of these earlier film as a kid like “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” and “Godzilla vs. Mothra” on either Saturday afternoon TV or VHS, let’s just say these films looks spectacular. Each of the 1080p transfers on these films look simply fantastic. I was very impressed with each transfer. Sticking with those two films, they are presented in their original aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Both come with Japanese and English audio boasting a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 on each. Now if you are a fan of Godzilla films then you know that the English dubs are easily just as much fun as the Japanese original tracks. They are almost laughable but add a lot to the film, so I  actually watched each of these two one with each track and it really felt like two different experiences.

“Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)” Official Premise: When a mysterious U.F.O. is seen flying over Tokyo, tension mounts, until the craft’s occupants reveal themselves to be friendly aliens from the 23rd century who have come to warn mankind that Godzilla will soon awaken and wreak havoc upon the earth unless he is destroyed. Meanwhile, a double threat arrives in the form of King Ghidorah, Godzilla’s flying three-headed archrival and an evil and all-powerful android. The suspense builds to terrifying levels as the alien’s sinister mission on Earth is gradually revealed and Godzilla must wage a solo battle against these evil forces who want to destroy mankind.

“Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)” Official Premise: After a series of earthquakes unearth a gigantic orb, a trio of Japanese explorers are dispatched to the mysterious Infant Island to investigate. There they discover the island’s sole inhabitants, miniature twin women whose duty is to protect the mammoth ball, the egg of Mothra! When the explorers attempt to bring the egg back to the mainland, a furious Godzilla awakens from the depths and attacks the party, causing the egg to hatch and forcing its newborn larvae to fend off the gigantic monster. The humongous worm holds its own until help arrives in the form of Battra. When Mothra and Battra metamorphose into flying monster moths, the battle rages on land and in the sky. With two powerful foes to reckon with, has Godzilla finally met his match?

Next up is “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II / Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” deliver slightly different specs with their release. “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II” comes in it’s original aspect ratio: 1.85:1 but with this release the Japanese track gets a boost with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and the English track gets a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Both represent the film well but I would have to do with the Japanese track here for sure. With “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla”, we get the same original aspect ratio: 1.85:1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks on both the Japanese and English tracks.

“Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)” Official Premise: Built with the utmost in 20th-century technology, Mechagodzilla is the ultimate in Godzilla-busting weaponry. Fueled by a nuclear reactor and sheathed in a synthetic diamond shield, the mammoth metal robot is Japan’s greatest hope for ending Godzilla’s reign of terror. Meanwhile, on a remote island polluted by nuclear waste, a team of scientists discover a giant egg in a Pteranodon nest, and bring it home for study. When BabyGodzilla hatches, both Rodan and Godzilla return to claim the cuddly infant as their own. Will their monstrous maternal instincts cause a custody battle capable of destroying Mother Earth? Or will Mechagodzilla prove an effective eradicator, leaving BabyGodzilla an orphan for life?

“Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)” Official Premise: The powers of telepathy enter the ranks of high technology in this supernatural, super-powered Godzilla adventure! The military minds behind Japan’s special Counter G Bureau enter the New Age with Project T, in which a telepathic amplifier is implanted in Godzilla’s brain in order to bring the giant monster under control. And just in time! In a faraway galaxy, the mutant SpaceGodzilla turns its evil eyes toward earth, planning to terminate Godzilla and conquer the planet for its own. With the Japanese Mafia infiltrating Counter G, the Bureau needs all the help it can get. Will Japan’s greatest enemy Godzilla become its closest ally?

Switching it up again, in terms of specs, “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus” delivers another impressive A/V experience. “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah” comes in original aspect ratio: 1.85:1 like the four films. We also take a slight step back though with both the Japanese and English audio coming loaded with an DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround tracks. “Godzilla vs. Megaguirus” expands a little with the original aspect ratio coming with 2.35:1. This film also comes with both the Japanese and English audio roaring with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.

“Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995)” Official Premise: With a super-charged blast from his nuclear past, a new Godzilla emerges from his own ashes, radioactive and ready to take on Tokyo! The great monster’s nuclear energy is increasing by the minute, and a monster meltdown threatens to vaporize the planet. But when mutant micro-organisms unleash a plague of destruction, Godzilla is Japan’s only hope to destroy them. This victory creates Godzilla’s deadliest challenge yet: Destoroyah. And with Godzilla Junior pulled into the ring, only the Super XIII can put the deep freeze on this three-way monster melee.

“Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)” Official Premise: Five years after Godzilla terrorized the city of Osaka, Japanese scientists have developed a sure-fire way to finally destroy Japan’s monster nemesis. They have created the world’s first man-made black hole, which will trap Godzilla for eternity! But during a testing of this new Dimension Tide, an insect caught in the hole mutates, producing gargantuan eggs that give birth to a new menace: giant dragonfly monsters called Meganula. Meganula queen, the 50-meter Megaguirus, is also on a hunt for Godzilla, needing to steal his energy to survive. From the sky down to the depths of a city’s underground sewer tunnels, Megaguirus, Godzilla, and humankind battle for supremacy.

“Godzilla: Tokyo SOS / Godzilla: Final Wars” are the last of the set and in fact the last two Japanese produced Godzilla films to date. “Final Wars” came in 2004, so it has been 10 years since we have had a new “guy in a a suit” Godzilla feature film. “Godzilla: Tokyo SOS” comes in its original aspect ratio: 2.40:1, while “Godzilla: Final Wars” comes with its original aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Both of them come stocked with very impressive and wall shaking Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround tracks. “Final Wars” is quite the epic film and it was a blast to watch this crazy flick on Blu-ray.

“Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)” Official Premise: Mechagodzilla, the superior-armed, state-of-the-art, all-robot version of Godzilla, is undergoing repairs after his devastating battle against the world’s monsters. Twin tiny women appear and warn scientists to stop rebuilding Mechagodzilla but their warning goes unheeded. As the great robot nears completion, a series of mysterious incidents rock the world and awaken Godzilla, who unleashes a reign of terror against Tokyo. Mothra joins him and Japan’s desperate Prime Minister has no choice but to launch the unfinished Mechagodzilla against Mothra and Godzilla. But who will fight for whom? And in the end – will the survivor be monster, robot or man?

“Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)” Official Premise: Godzilla’s 50th Anniversary project and costliest adventure to date out of 28 films. Earth has been relatively peaceful since Godzilla was successfully buried deep in ice beneath the South Pole. Then — sometime a few years hence – several of his old nemeses return to wreak havoc on cities worldwide. A huge spaceship suddenly appears and neutralizes all the monsters in a blink. The visitors are “Xiliens,” who take human form and announce they would like to negotiate a peace treaty that would replace the United Nations with a “United Universe.” They are indeed too good to be true, however. It doesn’t take long before their nefarious real purpose is exposed – conquering Earth. Greatly outmatched, Earth officials decide to de-freeze Godzilla as man’s only hope to vanish the invaders.

Going through the special features on these releases are going to be very easy…that is because there is really nothing much included here. On “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla vs. Mothra”, “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II / Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” and “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus”, the only extras included are Original Trailers for each film. On “Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.”, there is an extra featurette called “The Making of Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.” and then the Original Trailer. Same goes for “Godzilla: Final Wars”, there is a featurette “Godzilla: B-Roll to Film” and then the Original Trailer. I would have loved to see more in terms of extras but wasn’t expected too much especially since these are double features. I hope that Sony is planning future double features there are still plenty more Godzilla films left to release on Blu-ray.