Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla and Mothra: Battle for Earth Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah shows us a mysterious U.F.O. that is seen flying over Tokyo, raising tensions, 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. In Godzilla and Mothra: Battle for Earth,. 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? 

Films (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
The Japanese speak fondly of a great dinosaur that saved the Japanese troops from the American forces. Radiation from the h-bomb turned that dinosaur into the savage monster they call Godzilla. Antinuclear bacteria has kept Godzilla alive but dormant for years.

A U.F.O. has been spotted flying over Tokyo. Its inhabitants have come from the 23rd century to warn the people that they are in great danger. The travelers say that Godzilla will rise up and destroy Japan. To prevent this fate, they travel back in time to teleport the dinosaur before he turns into Godzilla.
After making the trip in time the group discovers that Godzilla has been removed from history but has been replaced by something worse. King Ghidorah now terrorizes Japan. Ghidorah is a three headed flying monster who destroys buildings with ease.

It is soon revealed that the friendly visitors from the future have sinister motives and they want to destroy Japan. They went back in time to remove Godzilla from history because he would have been the only thing capable of saving Japan. Luckily Godzilla was reborn thanks to a little deep ocean radiation and may be able to save his people once again. But will the “new Godzilla” be friendly and helpful or will he turn on the Japanese people once he has finished with King Ghidorah?

Fans of the Godzilla franchise will be happy to hear the unmistakable Godzilla roar. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is takes a really long time to see Godzilla in his glory, but it’s worth the wait. King Ghidorah’s wires are visible and the zip up Godzilla suit is exactly as I remember. This is the Godzilla I know and love. Unfortunately there is a lot of set up to get through before you get to the action. Watching the film dubbed in English adds to the cheese-factor. At one point, someone actually says “Go ahead, make my day.” Be prepared for 1990s special effects, trying to look like 23rd century technology with laser blasts, teleportation, and an evil android.

Godzilla and Mothra: Battle for Earth (1992)
A gigantic egg is discovered on Infant Island and three explorers are sent to investigate. Two tiny women, smaller than a flower greet them and explain about the history of the earth. The women are the protectors of the creature Mothra’s egg. The removal of the egg from the island causes major problems when the egg hatches and Godzilla is awakened. The creatures Mothra and Battra are ready for battle and Godzilla is ready for action.

This film spends a lot of time explaining that the attacking creatures are related to the environmental conditions on earth. They talk about the earth feeling and being sad and that attempts to change its climate artificially led to creature attacks. This was a very weird and complicated story and I had a harder time getting into this film.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
The video quality is extremely hard to judge. You can see the strings holding up the creatures and can tell the difference between the miniature and full size effects. With films like these its almost unfair to judge the video – the cheesiness is part of its charm.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Both films are available in Japanese Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio and English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English, English SDH and French. Whether you choose Japanese or English audio the acting is comically bad. I first watched the films in English and thought that there was serious overacting going on with the dubbed voices but upon the second viewing in Japanese, the dialogue is just as bad. In either language the dialogue is at an even, consistent level and the explosions and destruction are better than I would have expected.
Extras (1 out of 5 stars)
Both films contain original trailers which can be selected individually or with a play all feature.
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The first double feature in the Toho collection was not quite what I’d expected. These films definitely resemble the original Godzilla films in acting and special effects, even though they were released in the 1990s. Godzilla v. King Ghidorah starts of slow but gets good about half way through and Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth starts strong and gets weird. In both films you see the zipper-suit type Godzilla destroying Japan. For me, it was easier to take them somewhat seriously when watching with English subtitles, over Japanese dialogue. While they weren’t what I expected I still enjoyed the films and I look forward to the second double feature which includes Mechagodzilla and Space Godzilla.

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