Classic Media has to be applauded for the effort not only given to presenting the best versions of INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER possible (and they truly are some of best I've seen in a long, long while), but also the work that went into the case design. The box is striking, the artwork clever, clear, nostaligc and retro-future at all the same time. It's an attractive and eye catching design that demands (and gets) a second look. My copy has been picked up, picked over, and pick-pocketed a few times off my shelf already and throughly enjoyed.
But, having said that, I must admit that INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER is one of my least favorite GODZILLA films, yet one of my all time favorite TOHO movies. Truth be told, Godzilla here is at best a supporting player in a much larger and more complex story that could have done away with Godzilla and company and still have been just as compelling. Much like THE FIFTH ELEMENT fashion and design triumph over story and plot. This is one good looking movie. From the sets (wide open, with some of the most creative future computer and advanced table top technology), to the costumes (the aliens not only sport the expected antenna atop the head, but tight pants, trim sunglasses, and high useless collars), to the spaceships (which look exactly like spaceships should look), it's all here, and it's all a lot of fun.
It is something of a minor disappointment that Godzilla has been pushed to the margins here and used simply for effect than being the engine that drives the story. Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah do loom large on the stunning minature sets on both PLANET X and Earth, and their battles are worth the long delay between the first and the last, but it does leave you wanting more. But, this does not stop INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER being a true gem.
The prints are the best possible and the extras are well done... although the commentary by Stuart Galbraith IV, while informative, fact filled and trivia stuffed is delivered in such a slow and measured way, that it sounds and feels like he's in fear of tripping over his own words if he talks too fast. Be prepared to feel like a five year old at some points when he wants to to Understand. Clearly. What. He. Is. Saying. To. You. So. You. Had. Better. Listen. While strange, it is a trip, and you will learn a thing or two.
Classic Media has done a great service to not only the fans of Godzilla, but to all those fans still to come. These DVD releases, like King Ghidorah, manages to wear three crowns and wear them well... they are entertaining, history and art all rolled into one.