Saturday, March 11, 2006

Big News for Gojira/Godzilla Fans (Like Me)!

This just in, and I mean just in:
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CLASSIC MEDIA BRINGS THE JAPANESE MONSTER OF MASS DESTRUCTION TO DVD WITH THE RELEASE OF THE ORIGINAL GOJIRA (aka GODZILLA)
 
The Complete, Uncut, Japanese Original Available on DVD For the First Time Ever On September 5, 2006
 
The Release is Part of a Monster DVD 2-Pack, Which Includes Both Gojira and the US Version, Godzilla: King of the Monsters
 
NEW YORK, NY (March 10, 2006) – Move over King Kong!  Godzilla is back!  On September 5, Classic Media will release the complete, uncut, Japanese original, Gojira (Godzilla), on DVD for the first time ever in the US.  

From legendary Japanese filmmaker Ishiro Honda, Gojira quickly became a monster classic.  Gojira will only be available as part of a special DVD 2-pack that also includes the re-edited US version, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, starring Raymond Burr. Both versions have been digitally remastered in HD widescreen. The Gojira/Godzilla: King of the Monsters DVD 2-pack stomps onto retail shelves late summer for $21.98 SRP. 
 
Robert Mayo, SVP of Home Video at Classic Media, said, “It’s really exciting to be able to finally bring this classic film to DVD for the American audience.  Fans have been looking forward to the release of Gojira for several years.”
 
For more information and updates closer to release date
[and a peek at the trailer! - SRB], fans can log onto
  • Gojira/Godzilla on DVD!

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    A Monster Metaphor

    Ishiro Honda’s 1954 black-and-white classic spawned a new genre called the “kaiju eiga” or, Japanese monster movie, giving way to countless sequels.  With its 50th anniversary theatrical re-release in 2004, audiences rediscovered the strong anti-nuclear message of the original Gojira film.
     
    Gojira contains 40 minutes of footage that was not seen as part of the re-edited, re-dubbed Americanized Godzilla: King of Monsters. In the US version 40 minutes were cut and 20 minutes of new scenes were added, starring Raymond Burr as an American reporter.  As a result, the original tone of the movie was changed and the anti-H-Bomb message dropped. 
     
    Gojira (1954)
    Run Time:  98 minutes
    When several ships mysteriously explode and sink off the coast of Japan, the country begins to panic.  Authorities are convinced that the unexplained activity was caused by underwater mines or volcanoes and sends officials to Odo Island to investigate. Days later, something comes ashore and destroys several neighboring houses, killing many locals.   Renowned paleontologist, Dr. Kyohei Yemane (Takashi Shimura), is called to lead a new expedition and uncovers the source of the problem – a 400-foot tall mutant dinosaur the natives call Gojira.  The Doctor insists that the monster, which was awakened from a million-year sleep by nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific, be studied not destroyed.  Gojira soon begins a rampage that threatens to destroy Japan.  Can the powerful monster be eliminated before it is too late?
     
    Godzilla:  King of the Monsters (1956)
    Run Time:  78 minutes
    When American reporter Steve Martin, played by Raymond Burr, investigates a series of mysterious disasters off the coast of Japan, he comes face to face with an ancient creature so powerful and terrifying, it can reduce Tokyo to a smoldering graveyard.  Nuclear weapon testing resurrected this relic from the Jurassic age, and now this behemoth is stomping and smashing his way through the city.  Conventional weapons are useless against him; but scientist Dr. Serizawa has discovered a weapon that could destroy all life in the bay – including Godzilla!  But, which disaster is worse, Godzilla’s fury, or the death of Tokyo Bay?
     
    About Classic Media

    Classic Media owns and manages some of the world’s most recognizable family properties across all media including feature film, television, home video and consumer products. The company’s extensive library features a diverse collection of popular animated and live-action characters such as: Casper the Friendly Ghost, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Lone Ranger, Lassie, Underdog and Rocky & Bullwinkle.

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    Let's hope this release sees light of day! Back in the good ol' days of laserdisc, I was a subscriber to the Criterion Director's Series. The final announced Criterion laserdiscs were Toho-sanctioned releases of Gojira and (if memory serves) Terror of MechaGodzilla -- I still have the flyer in my files -- but alas, Criterion folded its laserdisc division before those were manufactured, and that was all she wrote.

    I caught the nationwide release of the original Gojira on the big screen (at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center) last year just about this time of the year, and it was a joy to behold. As countless folks and sources have noted over the years, the Honda original is a much different film from the US version we all grew up with -- somber, atmospheric, haunting, and unexpectedly potent even today (though of course the audience laughed at some of the 1955 special effects sequences, a number of Eiji Tsuburaya's illusions and compositions silenced the laughter, especially during Gojira's destruction of Tokyo).

    Of course, diehard kaiju eiga fans have been circulating bootleg editions for years on vhs and DVD, but it'll be nice to have a legal edition available at last.

    Per usual, I welcome any links anyone cares to post on this matter -- updates, rumors, critiques, criticisms, fears, etc.
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    4 Comments:

    Anonymous Richard Pearce said...

    Steve -

    Not sure if you were aware of this, but the British Film Institue (BFI) screened the original version of Godzilla in British venues last year.

    Last month they released it on R2 DVD in a lovely special edition, complete with commentary, documentary on the incident that inspired the early section of the film, a design featurette, original Japanese trailer & US trailer for King of the Monsters, a gallery of artwork and an accompanying booklet.

    The BFI also released Honda's The Mysterians, albeit with slightly less in the way of bonus material (curiously, the prints for the effects sequences in The Mysterians seem quite tatty compared to the rest of the film...)

    3/12/2006  
    Anonymous Andrew Wickliffe said...

    Steve -

    It is indeed good news. (I already have it, but the set will make a nice b-day present for my fiancée)...

    Don't know if you're aware, but in Australia, there's a company releasing lots of the 1960s - 1970s titles, fully subbed and remastered. If you (or anyone) is interested, just do a search for "Godzilla" at ezydvd.com.au

    3/12/2006  
    Blogger Mike Dobbs said...

    What the hell has happened dude!?

    3/15/2006  
    Blogger Mike Dobbs said...

    What the hell has happened dude!?

    3/15/2006  

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