11/10/2016

GODZILLA 1984/ THE RETURN OF GODZILLA (Blu-Ray Review)

Title: Godzilla 1984/ The Return of Godzilla
Director: Koji Hashimoto 
Writer:  Hideichi Nagahara, Tomoyuki Tanaka (story "The Resurrection of Godzilla") 
Cast: Ken Tanaka, Yasuko Sawaguch, Yôsuke Natsuki, Shin Takuma, Keiju Kobayashi,  
Year: 1984
Min: 103

Blu-ray released by: Kraken Releasing 
Specs:  
Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Image
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Plot- Some 30 years after the original attack on Toyko by Godzilla in 1954, he returns! A boat is missing and a reporter goes looking for it. When he does find it, he discovers its' crew slaughtered, and only one survivor, who claims to have seen the Big-G. And, that it is in fact giant monster that attacked the boat. To ease fears the Japanese government decides to keep things hush-hush. However, a Soviet sub is soon sank by Godzilla, prompting the Japanese to release the truth as tensions had begun to mount between the US and the USSR. Both governments want Japan to nuke Gozilla, however they refuse to confirm. They must find another way to stop the monster, as he reaches land and demolishes Toyko.
Review- American audiences best know this movie as Godzilla 1985, where it was edited and had a bunch of Raymond Burr shit added (basically the same shit that they did when they released the original classic Gojira, here as Godzilla: King of the Monsters). I actually caught it when it played in the movies as a small child. I was so pumped to see it! I was a huge Godzilla fan, and I remember loving it. I would watch it again when it aired on TV. However, it was never released on DVD, only VHS. In fact it was forever on Horrorhound magazine's list of horror movies not on DVD/ Blu-ray.
Thank Godzilla, then for Kraken Releasing who have not only put it out, but in it's uncut original non-Raymond Burr edit. It would've been nice to have them both on one release, but fuck it. This version rocks! The movie is darker, and more violent, in its original cut. In fact, so good  is this version, that it definitely places it among the best Godzilla flicks, something that many say the American cut just isn't.

The acting is solid, and the human interactions are well handled. We care what they have to say, and that is many times one of the harder things the weaker entries in franchise have conveying. The pacing is pretty good, as it builds up to Godzilla coming on land. Once he does, the movie is just awesome.
 The destruction scenes are rousing and violent. There is lots of humans dying onscreen, including a brutal scene where Godzilla immolates a group of soldiers with his fire breath. The miniature work is solid, as well. And, the Super-X is a kick vehicle introduced to do battle with him. I always loved this scene and vehicle as a kid. It still holds up, well today.
Sadly, after this battle is over the movie flatters a bit. The way that they choose to deal with Godzilla isn't terribly bad, but it does feel a little lackluster. The other problem is Godzilla, himself. Mind you the suit looks great, but the mechanical Godzilla debuted for this movie doesn't. He looks decidedly fake. Which is a shame, because the movie is meant to be a return to the more horror aspects of the first film, with Godzilla's first heel role in ages (for those of you keeping score the last movie before this one was the kick ass The Terror of Mechagodzilla, wherein the King of the Monsters was playing babyface to a tagteam of evil).

Picture- The pic quality here is good, but not great. Night and dark scenes look too soft and grainy. However, day time scenes look very good. In these scenes, there is some good rich colors with solid skin tones.

Sound- You can watch this one in Japanese or English DTS Master Audio 5.1. The dubbing is fucking terrible, of course. But, the action scenes sound killer in either version. Explosions and roaring will make your fucking unit rumble. It's a hell of a sound mix!

Extras- Sadly, it is pretty barebones, as we only get the Japanese trailer, and nothing else. The American trailer ain't here, cause, well we already discussed that that version ain't here either.

Final Thoughts- A superior edit to the American cut, the coming of this movie is long overdue. The fact that it is on Blu-ray is enough of a reason to celebrate. Violent, dark, and, mostly serious, it ranks among the best films in the franchise. The pic quality is good, but I do wish it could've been a little better. However, the sound is fucking devastating. Genre and Godzilla fans take heed and buy this one. Since you can get it a cheap price (10 freaking bucks!), there is no excuse for not owning it.

Movie: 3.5 out of 5
Picture: 3
Sound: 4
Extras: 1

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