Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Toho Godzilla Collection Double Feature - Godzilla vs King Ghidorah / Godzilla And Mothra: Battle For Earth (Blu-ray Ray Review) - Sony

Japan/1991, 1992
Directed By: Kazuki Omori, Takao Okawara
Written By: Kazuki Omori
Starring: Kosuke Toyohara, Tetsuya Bessho
Color/203 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: May 6, 2014

The Films

After a bit of box office disappointment from 1989's Godzilla vs Biollante, Toho decided to bring back and old favorite for Godzilla to fight. And after an annoying time travel plot involving WWII and a dinosaur, and people from the future called Futurians, fight he does as King Ghidorah is summoned to destroy Japan and prevent it from becoming the world's richest nation the dominant super power.

GODZILLA vs KING GHIDORAH has one of my least favorite plots in the series, the World War II moments do nothing at all for me and the futuristic time travel aspect just gets too "busy". That said, there is some fucking awesome action between the two monsters including a spot that would be the catalyst to the creation of Mecha-King Ghidorah. The fight scenes are long and brutal and definitely make up for a story that I don't really enjoy too much. It is interesting to note that this film won a Japanese Academy Award for special effects.

A meteor crashes into the ocean and wakes up Godzilla. Some explorers find Mothra's egg in an ancient cave and are told by the Cosmos that ancient civilizations tried to control the Earth's climate and Earth created Battra also known as The Black Mothra. When Battra became uncontrollable and began destroying Earth Mothra came to Earth's aid and waged war with Battra. Both sides retreated for many years. It is now feared that Battra has awoken as well. The Japanese military tries to stop Battra but can't and Mothra's egg hatches opening the door to a 3 way fight between Mothra, Battra and Godzilla. It isn't until Mothra saves Battra from Godzilla that the giant insects team up, and we learn of Battra's true destiny, protecting Earth from a catastrophic meteor set to hit Earth several years later.

GODZILLA AND MOTHRA: BATTLE FOR EARTH has some fantastic fight scenes ranging from alongside a big Ferris Wheel to and underwater battle in the Ocean. We get multiple stages of Mothra fighting, from a larvae to the beautiful winged protector. The story is a good way of introducing a new monster to the mix and giving him an instant history to make the fights have a bit of natural drama to them.

The Audio & Video
Sony is releasing four of these double features encompassing the Heisei and Millennium series. This first double feature has 2 blu-rays, one for each film, and things get off to a bit of a rocky start. KING GHIDORAH's 16x9 widescreen transfer could be much better, to put it simply. At its best it look okay with improved detail levels, and its worst it looks no better than DVD quality. Sony had to work with what Toho gave them, and it wasn't anything special. The audio fares better, with the original Japanese track sounding pretty crisp and clear with DTS-HD master audio. Optional English subtitles are very well done, timed nicely and read well.

BATTLE FOR EARTH is an improvement in the video department. Colors are still overly muted but seem a bit more lively, while detail is definitely stronger and the overall image quality is sharper here. This isn't reference quality but it is a definite upgrade over the DVD. Audio fares as well here as it did in the first feature on the set with the same technical specs.

The Extras
There is a theatrical trailer and Ultraviolet digital codes for each film. 

The Bottom Line
I can't say it is a home run but it is worth the cost of admission and is at the very least and upgrade from the DVD. There's plenty of great fight scenes here to have you smiling ear to ear.

The Toho Godzilla Collection Double Feature is available HERE

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