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Godzilla (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Takashi Shimura , Akihiko Hirata , Ishirô Honda    Unrated   Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Product Description


The first of the Godzilla movies, and the most somber and serious in tone, Godzilla, King of the Monsters was originally a 98-minute Japanese horror film, until a U.S. company bought the rights and reissued the film at its current 79 minutes, replacing sequences involving a Japanese reporter with new inserts of a dour, pipe-smoking Raymond Burr. True to the fashion of cautionary monster movies, Godzilla has arisen due to nuclear radiation--a 400-foot, fire-breathing dinosaur resurrected in Tokyo Bay--and proceeds to devastate Tokyo. Hardly a bogus building is left unbusted, nary a toy tank unmelted, by the reptilian rogue, until scientists discover another weapon of awesome destruction that just might stop him. The special effects are impressive, with the filming done so as to mask the fact that the monster is just a guy in a rubber suit, working better here than in the sequels, where they seem to have given up any pretense to that fact, in favor of flamboyant effects and battle sequences that more often than not are delightfully, unabashedly juvenile. The DVD includes a wonderful 25-minute documentary on movie monsters, pieced together from old trailers. This DVD offers your choice of Dolby 5.1 Surround or Mono, cropped-screen or letterboxed, and a plethora of other features. It is also available in a boxed set with four more of the best Godzilla flicks by director Inoshiro Honda. --Jim Gay

Product Description

Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama made in Japan at a time when the country was still reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing. Its rampaging radioactive beast, the poignant embodiment of an entire population’s fears, became a beloved international icon of destruction, spawning more than twenty sequels and spinoffs. This first thrilling, tactile spectacle continues to be a cult phenomenon; here, we present the original, 1954 Japanese version, along with Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, the 1956 American reworking starring Raymond Burr (Rear Window).

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • New high-definition digital restoration • Audio commentary by David Kalat (A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series) • New high-definition digital restoration of Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, Terry Morse’s 1956 reworking of the original, starring Raymond Burr • Audio commentary for Godzilla: King of the Monsters! by Kalat • New interviews with actor Akira Takarada (Hideto Ogata), Godzilla performer Haruo Nakajima, and effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai • Interview with legendary Godzilla score composer Akira Ifukube • Featurette detailing Godzilla’s photographic effects • New interview with Japanese-film critic Tadao Sato • The Unluckiest Dragon, an illustrated audio essay featuring historian Greg Pflugfelder describing the tragic fate of the fishing vessel Daigo fukuryu maru, a real-life event that inspired Godzilla • Theatrical trailers • New and improved English subtitle translation • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best...Even WITH Raymond Burr March 27 2004
Format:VHS Tape
For any movie to merit a sequel, or 22 sequels for that matter, it has to be special. "Gojira" stands on the lofty summit with "Dracula"; "Frankenstein"; "Forbidden planet"; "War of the Worlds" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" as one of the great science fiction films of all time. What we have here is a synergy of a monster tale, a moral dilemma, and a powerful anti-war message. Together the film becomes a visionary tale of man trying to survive the fury of the Atom bomb made flesh. It examines the consequences of our sins, and asks directly if we have learned from our mistakes and what we are willing to do to prevent making those same mistakes again. "Gojira" is about the green big one, yes, but it also examines like no other film in the series the consequences of the monster's rampages. "Gojira" was made to be a drama first, a science fiction fantasy second. The film portrays real human suffering because of Godzilla's depredations. This draws the viewer wholeheartedly into the struggle of the Japanese people as they try to survive this catastrophe. As a drama, "Gojira" invests the time to develop characters who we can in turn invest in. Dr. Serizawa's dilemma at using his invention to save Japan at the possible cost of the world is brilliantly acted. As is Emiko Yamane's torment at having to betray her fiancée to a man she really loves in order to save Japan from Godzilla. The film doesn't shy away from messy solutions either. Like most science fiction films, the scientist uses an invention to destroy the monster at the end of the film. Unlike most science fiction films, the scientist chooses to die with his invention rather than let it be used for evil ends. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Classic Media's BLU-RAY contains the original and uncut Japanese-language version of Ishiro Honda's Gojira (1954), as well as Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956), the "Americanized" version starring Raymond Burr as a reporter covering Godzilla's rampage. You get BOTH.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific on Blu Ray May 20 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The first Godzilla movie on Blu-Ray is very interesting because I think this classic is excellent to have. It is wonderful to see the black and white Godzilla movie in high defintion on Blu-Ray. Maybe they should have an english dubbed version just as if the other Godzilla movies have them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the King June 14 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
The title pretty much says it all. Indeed, Godzilla is king of the monsters. This is in many ways the greatest of the Godzilla movies, particularly those of the original series. This first film was unique; indeed, some may not realize just how serious-minded a movie this was. The theme of this movie can clearly be seen as an indictment of the use of nuclear weapons; the images of a devastated Tokyo bespeak themselves closely of the real-life scenes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki following the atomic bombs dropped on those cities. Coming just over a decade after the end of World War II, the message condemning nuclear proliferation is understandable and easily understood. Nuclear tests gave birth to Godzilla, unleashing a havoc that proved all but impossible to contain. Only a scientific miracle of sorts and a good bit of luck saved Tokyo (and presumably the rest of the world) from the unspeakable horror unleashed by man's experiments with a weapon of mass destruction.

We tend to see Godzilla now in comical terms, due largely to later films starring the big lizard, but the debut of Godzilla must truly have seemed horrific to film audiences in the 1950s. The monster's first appearance, as his head rises up over the crest of a hill, is very well conceived and impressively presented. For the most part, the special effects in this film are excellent. The fact that this movie is in black and white helps a great deal in this regard, I believe. In no way does Godzilla appear as a man wearing a rubber suit; the face and mouth seemed particularly well done and realistic to me, and I was most impressed by the way the creature's eyes seemed to bug out at times.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japanese version is the version to watch! Jan. 25 2012
By Stephen Bieth TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I had not seen the Japanese version of this film since I was a kid. Needless to say between the subtitles and the medophors it was beyond me. I had seen the Americanized version a couple of times but was never overly impressed. I have always liked the Godzilla series of films but I kind of like them because they are so over the top and...well...bad. So when I saw Criterion was putting a version out I was really surprised. But everything I read was about how good the Japanese version is. Figured worse case I would be that much closer to collecting all the films. Man was I surprised how great a film this is. Where the Americanized version is really just another monster movie the version from Japan is much more. It deals with the fear of the atom bomb (this film was made less then a decade after the dropping of the A bombs) and since the world was probably still pretty ticked off about World War 2 I don't think a Japanese anti nuke film would go down well but do it all with Medophors and you can get away with it. This film is dark. The ending is much darker then anything being done in Hollywood at the time. If get a chance and you like great films you should give this one a shot. I was really surprised at how great this film really is. Oh and to put you mind to rest the peice of crap american Mathew Brodrick version is not a remake of this film. They came up with that crap all on their own!
One more point. This is not just a great Godzilla film it's a great film period! You don't have to like monster movies to enjoy it. Much in the same way people enjoy the original Frankenstein.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars don't buy from here
amazon.ca is grossly over-pricing their Criterion editions. I live in Toronto and bought my edition of Godzilla off the shelf for 26.95. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2012 by Waltoon
1.0 out of 5 stars Can someone explain
please why there is a difference of nearly +$15.00 between the Amazon US price and the Amazon CAN price when there's not that much difference in the exchange rate? Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2012 by Tim H.
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining!
Fun movie, provided that you're not expecting the visceral experience that comes with more true-to-life special effects (as available today). Read more
Published on July 21 2011 by eGus
4.0 out of 5 stars tokyo is burning.
it is very good. but lacks bonus features, i should know because i own three dvds of this movie. i have not seen the original japanese one. Read more
Published on Sept. 23 2010 by geeks`n freeks
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's put it into perspective
I own three DVD versions of this same movie.The Simitar version is the best.I also did widescreen and fullscreen comparisons. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by JACK LOBO
4.0 out of 5 stars I HATE RAYMOND BURR
The only reason i didnt rate this as a 5 because of Raymond Burr
splice part.First off the reason they put him in there because
they wanto up the sale on godzilla in the... Read more
Published on March 20 2004 by thatboyK
4.0 out of 5 stars See the Legend from the Beginning
There's nothing like seeing one of the most classic monster movies right from the start. I still can't get over Raymond Burr's portrayel of Steve Martin. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by Tom
2.0 out of 5 stars Release the original "Gojira" on dvd!
The Simitar two-sided dvd contains a fullscreen version
on one side, and a so-called "theatrical" "letterbox" version on the other. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2003
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