Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA

The same can be said of Classic Media’s presentation of MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA (MOSURA TAI GOJIRA, 1964), directed by original Big G director Ishiro Honda. MVG is probably the best Godzilla film of Sixties, a bright, colorful fantasy with powerful, striking imagery, and some of the series’ most memorable scenes and characters.

When a typhoon leaves a giant egg washed up near a small coastal village, enterprising entrepreneurs buy it from the villagers and make plans to build a theme park around it. Soon, two small, fairy-like women appear, and beg the greedy businessmen to return the egg to its parent, Mothra, the giant moth god of Infant Island. If the egg is not returned, they warn, there’s gonna be trouble. Of course, they are rebuffed and their warning ignored. Meanwhile, Godzilla reawakens from a coma and digs his way out of the ground where King Kong had left him buried in the previous film, and sets out for the the freedom of the sea – and coincidentally(?) making a beeline toward Mothra’s egg. Let the rumble begin!

Like the other new Classic Media Godzilla discs, MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA includes both the original Japanese version as well as the American version, originally released in the U.S by American-International Pictures under the title GODZILLA VS. THE THING.

While both transfers are very sharp and vivid, the U.S. version is presented in an incorrect aspect ratio. Instead of the "Tohoscope" 2.35:1 ratio, the best and most complete print of GODZILLA VS. THE THING that Classic Media could get their hands on had been cropped to 1.85:1 dimensions, losing a bit of picture information on both sides of the screen. Personally, I can live with it – I’m probably only going to be watching the Japanese version from now on anyway – but I can understand why some fans, especially those who grew up with the AIP version, might be unhappy.

Extras include a commentary by kaiju experts Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle, an animated still gallery/slideshow, the original theatrical trailer, and a biography of musical composer Akira Ifukube.

Despite the aspect ratio problem on GODZILLA VS. THE THING, I still have to recommend this disc to fans of the Big G and the giant monster genre. It’s the best presentation of the film available domestically and the first time the Japanese version’s been released on U.S. home video.

BUY: Mothra vs. Godzilla