The Return Of Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla 1984) was created almost a decade soon after the final film in the series, The Terror Of Mechagodzilla but rather than stick to that film, Toho instead opted to make it basically a direct sequel to the original film from 1954.
When the film starts, a Japanese newspaper reporter is looking into the mysterious disappearance of a fishing boat. He heads out to sea and, fairly simply, finds the ship. When he does, he boards it and after poking around a bit, finds that everyone onboard is dead, the victims of a giant sea louse mutated in size by radiation… save for a single man who managed to save himself by hiding in a closet. As it turns out, the ship was attacked by… Godzilla!
The Japanese government desires to contain this news so that the population doesn’t freak out. As such, they maintain the lone survivor squirreled away from the press, but our intrepid reporter clearly knows he’s alive and he teams up with the guy’s sister to save him. Meanwhile, a submarine patrolling the region belonging to the Russian military is destroyed, and the Russians assume it was the American Navy that did it. Thankfully, ahead of the Russians launch a retaliatory attack, the Japanese uncover proof that it was indeed Godzilla that sunk the sub, therefore stopping a complete scale war. Nevertheless, this nevertheless leaves the not insignificant situation of Godzilla’s arrival to deal with… and it really is only a matter of time until the huge G arrives on the shore and heads inland. Fortunately scientists and military varieties alike have been operating around the clock to develop… Super X!
The Return Of Godzilla does a lot of factors appropriate and it makes for a quite entertaining watch. The human element is not specifically spectacular, but the plot is surprisingly strong and the way that the storyline works in components of late era Cold War nuclear fears and international politics is very clever. If the characters are not truly all that intriguing or really quite effectively developed, at least the scenarios that they uncover themselves place into are exciting adequate to hold the audience’s focus with out any genuine pacing issues.
But getting a Godzilla film and all, certainly the main draw is the scenes of monster mayhem and rampant destruction. Godzilla doesn’t get yet another monster to square off against right here, there’s no Mothra or King Ghidorah or even a Smog Monster, so we never the amazing ‘guys in rubber suits’ battles that a lot of the entries created between the 1954 image and this film featured. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter. We get a lot of wonderful footage of Godzilla attacking Tokyo, taking out a train full of passengers, dealing with tanks and military weapons sent out to defend the city and, of course, some pretty cool footage of Godzilla going at it with the Super X team. These are all carried out genuinely effectively. The miniature work, which actually is a unique art kind, is still certainly miniature operate but there’s a lot of excellent detail worked into it. The cityscapes that get trashed by Godzilla have movement and lighting and depth and they look great. The Godzilla style employed in the movie is also impressive, there is a lot of facial movement right here and a bit of ferocity to the appearance. It’s all played straight, Godzilla, in this incarnation, is a threat and not a buddy to young children or a savior of the planet. Bringing the idea back to its darker, much more significant roots was the appropriate contact to make and this film manages to pull it off fairly well.
It really is worth noting that the American version, Godzilla ‘85, is not included right here. To Kraken’s credit, they make that clear on their packaging for this release, and also produced it clear in the press release leading up to this release, so there is no deception right here on their element. As to that cut? New Globe Photos picked up the North American rights to the film and place in some newly shot Raymond Burr footage (highlighted by a exciting final speech), created a diverse dub, and made some edits to the film (the sea louse attack, for example, is shorter). The end outcome was about twenty minutes shorter and very a different film. Rights to that reduce are dicey at greatest and they just merely could not be correctly sorted out. The version of the film on this disc is the full length original Japanese edit and it is presented with Japanese titles. Neither version of this film was ever created offered in North America on DVD, let alone Blu-ray, prior to this release from Kraken Releasing.
Return Of Godzilla arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p higher definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in transfer that would appear to mirror the Japanese release (Kraken have been quite probably produced to use this master by Toho, however). Colors look pretty flat here, they don’t pop the way they may on a better transfer despite the fact that there are moments exactly where they do shine. Detail is better than a standard definition offering but it is not a huge upgrade, the image is somewhat soft. There is barely any print harm at all, the picture is certainly ‘clean’ in that regard but it is a tad on the hazy side. These familiar with some of the Toho releases that have come out in Japan will know what to anticipate, those not familiar with these releases ought to temper their expectations accordingly.
Audio options are offered in Japanese and English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with subtitles provided in English only (they are forced throughout the Japanese version). The top quality of both mixes is fine, even though the Japanese track seems to have a lot more depth to it. As to the voice work? The English dub (which is the ‘international version’ and not the Godzilla ‘85 dub) is type of goofy, so unless you’ve got an aversion to subtitles, stick to the Japanese track. The score has good range and the effects have decent presence but there is not a load of channel separation here, it is a front heavy mix. Levels are properly balanced and there are no difficulties to note with any hiss or distortion. The disc defaults to the English track when played and you cannot switch amongst tracks on your remote, you have to go back to the major menu screen to do that.
Worth mentioning is how effectively the subtitles are carried out. Kraken have gone the additional mile right here, not just translating the dialogue but also a lot of what we see in the background: indicators, newspaper articles, and so forth.. It’s a nice touch that a lot more firms dealing with foreign properties would do effectively to take into account. However, for the duration of the scenes where Japanese subtitles are burned into the image (such as scenes where characters speak a language other than Japanese), English subtitles appear more than them.
Aside from menus and chapter stops, the only extras on the disc are a 3 minute Japanese promo spot/trailer and trailers for the three other Godzilla films that have been place out on Blu-ray thus far by Kraken Releasing. Ideally the (admittedly bastardized) American version of the film would have been incorporated here, but that didn’t take place due to rights concerns.
The Kraken Releasing Blu-ray of The Return Of Godzilla isn’t going to blow you away with remarkable audio or video nor is it stacked with extras. It does, nevertheless, give fans the chance to personal the original Japanese version of the film at a far more than reasonable value point. It would have been nice to get the American reduce of the film, obviously, but rights issues are rights concerns and it really is not constantly easy to have those done away with. Ultimately, for Godzilla fans, this is certainly worth picking up for the strength of the movie alone and as such, it’s advisable.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is high-priced and loud.
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