Episode 35: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

At the midpoint of Road to Shin Godzilla Month, Brian and Nate come to the Millennium Series’ explosive finale, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Godzilla. Though this is the last entry of the series, it’s the first Internet Age Godzilla movie – and a valentine to G-fans. It resembles live-action anime as well as a live video game. Brian marvels at the redesign of his boy Gigan, and Nate argues that, in some ways, this is a “remake” of Destroy All Monsters that’s better than the original. Since there’s a ten-year gap in the franchise after this, our related topic is Abenomics.

This episode is dedicated to Akira Takarada.

On May 30, our Shin Godzilla episode will be the most in-depth analysis of that film in English.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:38

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:38 – 8:08

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 8:08 – 1:11:59

Part 3 – Related Topics: 1:11:59 – 1:37:13

Closing: 1:37:13 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Fish Ladder Park (Grand River), Grand Rapids, Michigan

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 26: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)

Godzilla not only looks great in this movie, but he gets more screen time than any other movie in the entire series. Baby Godzilla looks impressive, and the Azusa Gojo character is good. Brian and Nate address topics, like how stuff explodes when Rodan flies over it, how Kazuma seems to be a Japanese Rick Moranis, and how Miki Saegusa needed to be reminded to use her psychic powers.  Our related topic is the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:31

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:31 – 7:02

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:02 – 62:50

Part 3 – Related Topics: 62:50 – 1:20:38

Closing: 1:20:38 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Posey Dam (Maumee River), Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 14: Destroy All Monsters (1968)

We swear we’re not under Kilaak control, but we are pretty big fanboys of this movie. Before Marvel Studios made “The Avengers”, there was this film, which was intended to be the culmination of the studio’s kaiju films and the Godzilla series’ grand finale. Listen to Brian and Nate gush over this fan favorite film that defies analysis. Our related topics are the 1968 student demonstrations in Japan, the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands being returned to Japan, and the highest economic growth in Japanese history (measured by % growth).

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:36

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:36 – 6:43

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 6:43 – 41:25

Part 3 – Related Topic: 41:25 – 1:08:26

Closing: 1:08:26 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Hodell Acres, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 11: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

Nate and Brian analyze a big fan favorite, and it has major sci-fi flavor. It’s our first alien invasion movie, and features the return of King Ghidorah! Our related topic is the international affairs dimension of the alien invasion.

This episode is dedicated to Yoshio Tsuchiya.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:32

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:32 – 7:26

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:26 – 52:20

Part 3 – Related Topic: 52:20 – 1:15:33

Closing: 1:15:33 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Lakeside Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 10: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

The franchise reaches a turning point with some James Bondian flair. Brian and Nate discuss Godzilla turning into a hero and the introduction of Godzilla’s archenemy King Ghidorah! Our related topics are China’s first nuclear test, Japan during the Vietnam War, and Japan joining the OECD. (Hail Ghidrah!)

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:40

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:40 – 7:18

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:18 – 56:19

Part 3 – Related Topic: 56:19 – 1:15:47

Closing: 1:15:47 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Nate and Brian Appear on Geek Devotions

After frequent name-drops all month, we’re interviewed by Geek Devotions. Check it out!

Episode 6: Rodan (1956)

Because Rodan is in numerous Godzilla movies, Nate and Brian discuss his namesake film. While the movie is serious and at times horrific, like the original Gojira (1954), Rodan is a completely different type of kaiju. Our related topics are Japan during the Korean War and Japan’s history with the United Nations.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:32

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:32 – 5:29

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 5:29 – 29:26

Part 3 – Related Topic: 29:26 – 47:03

Closing: 47:03 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Indian Village Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

4 Weeks Until G-Day: Godzilla DVD/Blu-Ray Guide, Part 1 – The Showa Era

by Nathan Marchand

Four weeks until G-Day!

With that in mind, I wanted to make it easier for you, dear listeners, to find the Godzilla films so you can follow along with us.  We live in a wonderful time and place where both the original Japanese and English-dubbed versions of these films can be purchased (with a few exceptions, as you’ll see).

There are 29 Japanese films in total, plus two American films (so far). Unfortunately, unlike other long-running franchises like the James Bond series, these films aren’t all owned by the same distributor.  Toho, the studio that created Godzilla, has divvied out the rights to several U.S. companies for the years, which makes collecting these films a bit difficult.  I will be presenting you with what I think are the best editions of each film. There are lots of bootlegs out there. Accept no substitutes!

With Godzilla becoming more popular, more titles may be re-released in the future, so this guide may soon become outdated.  Unfortunately, some of these DVDs/Blu-rays have gone out of print, so the prices have increased.  However, many of them are available on streaming services like Amazon Video.

I’m excluding both of the American remakes, both of which are easy to find.

Part one of this guide will focus on the original Showa series (1954-1975) and part two will be on the Heisei (1984-1995) series and the Millennium series (1999-2004).

You can read the fuller version of this guide on the GigaGeek Magazine website, although it’s no longer publishing articles. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

Here we go!

Gojira/Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

Classic Media

Classic Media’s DVD includes both versions of the film presented in their proper aspect ratios.  It features several retrospective making-of documentaries and commentaries on both versions.  Unfortunately, the Blu-Ray edition Classic Media released later only included the original Japanese version and no special features. Regardless, the DVD is a must-have.

Buy it here by itself or here as part of the excellent seven-film set with the other Classic Media releases.

Criterion Collection (Recommended!)

Gojira was added to the prestigious Criterion Collection in 2011 with this Blu-Ray. It includes both versions of the films in nearly identical presentations as the Classic Media discs.  However, what may convince you to buy it is the completely new special features, including new commentaries and an interview with cast and crew members. This one is a bit pricier since Criterion only has limited print runs for their releases. It’s worth it, though.

Buy it here.

Godzilla Raids Again

Classic Media

Arguably the rarest of the G-films, Godzilla Raids Again was out of print on VHS for years until the mid-2000s when it was released on DVD by Classic Media.  It includes both the original and U.S. versions of the film and a handful of special features, including a humorous commentary.

Buy it here.

Rodan

Classic Media

Classic Media followed up their Godzilla releases with this excellent DVD set that included both Rodan and War of the Gargantuas, both of which had been long out of print.  It has both the Japanese language and dubbed versions of both films as well as the excellent documentary “Bringing Godzilla Down to Size.”

Buy it here.

Mothra (1961)

Columbia Pictures

The original Mothra was finally released on DVD by Columbia Pictures several years ago as part of a three-disc set called Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection.  It also included two other tokusatsu films directed by Ishiro Honda, The H-Man and Battle in Outer Space.  This set includes the original Japanese and dubbed versions of each film and has a commentary on Mothra and Battle in Outer Space.  (Mill Creek Entertainment recently released the dubbed version of this film as part of a four-film set, but unless you want those other movies, stick with this one).

Buy it here.

King Kong vs. Godzilla

Universal Studios

Universal owns the rights to several of King Kong’s films, so they released this DVD several years ago and then re-released it on Blu-Ray.  The film is in widescreen, but it only includes the dubbed version and has no special features.  Unless there’s a future release that includes the original Japanese version in widescreen, this is the one you want.  However, you can track down the Japanese version, which Brian and I recommend you do.

Buy it here.

Mothra vs. Godzilla (aka Godzilla vs. Mothra and Godzilla vs. the Thing)

Classic Media

While Classic Media’s other releases aren’t as prestigious as Gojira, they still gave fans what they always wanted.  It includes both versions of the film plus a commentary, a slideshow, and a biography on Godzilla music composer Akira Ifukube.

Buy it here.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Classic Media

After being out of print on VHS for years, Classic Media released this noteworthy entry in the series on DVD in the mid-2000s.  This is the first appearance of Godzilla’s archenemy Ghidorah and marks Big G’s shift to heroism.  Like other Classic Media releases, it includes both versions of the film, a commentary, and a few other special features.

Buy it here.

Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Monster Zero)

Classic Media

Classic Media does it right again.  Both versions of the films, a commentary, and a few other nice special features.  It’s amusing to watch the Japanese version of this since American actor Nick Adams is dubbed in Japanese.  Also, kudos for using the original Japanese posters as the cover art.

Buy it here.

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (aka Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster)

Sony

After being a staple on VHS, Sony released this cheesy entry on DVD in the mid-2000s. The cool thing is this is the original Japanese cut of the film and can be watched in the original language or a new English dub. No special features, though.  This is the edition I own.

Buy it here.

Kraken Releasing (Recommended!)

If you’d rather have the film on Blu-Ray, Kraken Releasing has that for you.  It’s pretty much the same as the Sony DVD except it has the film’s original Japanese trailer.  This is the edition Brian owns.

Buy it here.

Son of Godzilla

Sony

While Sony never gave their releases the star treatment Classic Media did, they were still a step up.  Like Ebirah, this 2004 disc features widescreen presentation and dual language tracks.  The only supplements are trailers for other Sony films released at the time.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this one has gone out-of-print and skyrocketed in price.

Buy it here.

Destroy All Monsters

Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock

While this was originally released by the now defunct ADV Flms twice (one edition including a soundtrack), this edition is much easier to find.  Unlike ADV’s releases, it has a menu, dual language tracks, and a few special features, including a commentary. This is also the Japanese edit of the film, so fans can see the original opening credits. Unfortunately, production of the original print run was halted by Toho, so current prints of this disc doesn’t include the special features.

Buy it here.

All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla’s Revenge)

Classic Media

As usual, Classic Media gives even what’s considered the worst G-film the star treatment.  Widescreen presentation.  Both the Japanese and American versions of the films (although they aren’t that dissimilar other than the dubbing and credits).  Special features include a commentary and a biography on director Ishiro Honda.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster)

Sony

Once only available as an out-of-print VHS from the long-gone Orion Home Video, Sony released it on DVD in 2004 . It has no special features beyond a few trailers for other Sony films, as usual.  It has dual language tracks, including a different English dub than what was used in the VHS. Unfortunately, the film’s (in)famous theme song, “Save the Earth,” remains in Japanese unlike in the other dub.  Still, it’s a solid release. This is the edition I own.

Buy it here.

Kraken Releasing (Recommended!)

It you must have a Blu-Ray, look no further.  The Sony DVD is a little harder to find, but other than the inclusion of the film’s original trailer, this is essentially the same as the former.  Brian has this edition.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Gigan (aka Godzilla on Monster Island)

Sony

This is pretty much the same story here as with Sony’s other 2004 Godzilla DVDs, though with a few things worth noting.  The subtitles are basically transcripts of the dubbed dialogue as opposed to direct translations of the Japanese dialogue.  The other issue is, since this is the international version of the film, it doesn’t include the comic book-style speech bubbles that appear over Godzilla’s head when he “talks” to Anguirus; there’s only garbled noises, making those scenes confusing.  They were dubbed—yes, dubbed—in the English language version. (You can watch the scenes with speech bubbles on YouTube, though).  I own this edition.

Unfortunately, I can’t find this version on Amazon anymore.

Kraken Releasing (Recommended!)

Essentially the same as the Sony DVD (though some say the picture quality isn’t as good).  Like the other Kraken Releasing Blu-Rays, it includes the film’s original trailer.  If you want a Blu-Ray, buy this.  Brian owns this one.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock

It took years of terrible unlicensed releases and a lot of finagling, but Media Blasters finally gave this, arguably the most-watched Godzilla movie, an official release. Unfortunately, Toho delayed this release for nearly a year, and then only a barebones DVD and later a Blu-Ray was put out.  Ironically, some DVD copies containing special features were accidentally printed and released.  These go for a pretty penny on Amazon if found.

Buy it here by itself or here with Destroy All Monsters.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (aka Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster, Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster)

Sony

Remember what I said about Sony’s other 2004 DVDs?  Same story here: widescreen presentation, dual language tracks, and a few mostly unrelated trailers.  There’s an omission in the subtitles, though.  In a scene where a scientist talks about his special pipe, the crazy-sounding metal it’s made of is subtitled, “a???” Either the subtitler forgot to add it before the disc was released or he didn’t bother to figure out how to write it. Some people—like me—may find this humorous.

Buy it here.

Terror of Mechagodzilla

Classic Media

This is arguably Classic Media’s best release next to Gojira/Godzilla, King of the Monsters.  It includes the original Japanese version, which is the biggest plus.  However, unlike with the other DVDs, the American version in this one is the “extended” cut shown on television.  It contains most of the original Japanese footage (except for some brief “nudity” during a medical operation) and a “history of Godzilla” sequence made by editing together footage from several 1960s Godzilla films.  This was done to pad out the film to fit in a two-hour timeslot.  Both versions are in widescreen (except for the aforementioned “history of” sequence, but the aspect ratio switches when it’s done).  It includes an entertaining commentary and an image gallery, but no other special features, which is the only downside.  This is a must-have.

Buy it here.

Come back next week for Part Two!