Mothra / Godzilla Double Features

Mothra / Godzilla Double Features (1970)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

In regular intervals, Columbia TriStar Home Video is presenting us with kaiju releases, giant monster movies from the imagination and workshops of Japanese filmmakers from the Toho Studios.
Columbia usually creates double-features for these releases, including two films on a single disc, and this time Columbia TriStar Home Video has not only unleashed the infamous giant lizard Godzilla onto humanity, but also Mothra in its own double-feature disc.

"Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla" and "Godzilla vs. Destroyah" share the same disc. The films are placed on the flip sides of this double sided DVD and look incredible. Digitally remastered, you won’t believe your eyes how colorful and sharp these films look on this DVD. Any previous home video release of the films pales immediately by comparison.

In the 1994 "Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla" we are witnesses to a truly otherworldly encounter. While Japan’s secret military bureau messes with Godzilla’s brain in an attempt to gain control over the behemoth, a mutant SpaceGodzilla has set its eyes on Earth. It travels through space and lands on Earth to destroy Godzilla and to make the planet its own. In an explosive showdown, Godzilla and SpaceGodzilla square off against each other laying most of their surroundings in waste.

One year later, Toho had reassembled all the set pieces from the previous movie and started a new attack. In "Godzilla vs. Destroyah" a new Godzilla emerges. Powered by radioactivity the monster’s body is threatening to overheat and to cause a China Syndrome, a nuclear meltdown. While scientists try to find ways to safely destroy Godzilla a new threat appears in the shape of Destroyah. A ferocious creature and its descendants, that have set their eyes on mankind and Godzilla Junior. To save the planet, the scientist try to freeze the explosive monster while attempting to find a way to stop Destroyah on its path of destruction. The only solution, it seems, is to have the monsters battle things out among themselves.

"Mothra" is the creation of Ishirô Honda, who confronted the world with his creature for the first time in 1961. When the memorable encounter of "Godzilla vs. Mothra" hit theaters in 1964, Mothra quickly became a favorite kaiju among fans. After years of inactivity, Toho Studios decided in 1996 that it was time to bring the moth shaped giant monster back to the big screen and has since created a trilogy of movies around this creature.
The first one was "Mothra", which is on this DVD from Columbia TriStar under the title, "Rebirth Of Mothra." The film is beautifully photographed and brings out the best of what people liked in Mothra, including the chanting fairy twins Moll and Lora. When humans stub their forests they accidentally stumble across the tomb of Desghidora, a fierce, three-headed monster. Soon Desghidora lays waste to earth’s green landscape and the only way to rid the world of this terrible creature, is to call Mothra for help. In numerous battles, Mothra and Desghidora collide with each other, making the movie an action-packed romp.

One year later, Toho released "Rebirth Of Mothra II" to continue the environmental message that was carried by the colorful creature. This time, children uncover a hidden city and with it, Dagahra, a garbage-eating creature that soon threatens the earth’s oceans. Although not a bad movie, "Rebirth Of Mothra II" oftentimes plays almost like a super-sized "Sesame Street" episode with its educational overtones. Once again, it is a fun filled movie with plenty of explosive monster battles.

Although these films are not really old – they have been produced from 1994 to 1997 – the special effects seen in these movies are still your trademark cheesy looking puppet and man-in-a-suit movies as the 50s and 60s incarnations of the genre. It is part of the fun to watch these movies and sophisticated special effects would undoubtedly destroy the appeal these films have always had on its audiences. Watching men and puppets rampaging through miniature sets, destroying every piece of balsa wood and plastic they can find is just highly entertaining all by itself. In combination with the stories, the flashy explosions and atmospheric lighting settings, these films have a very unique charm that has long reached cult status.

The versions Columbia TriStar is presenting on these two DVDs is astounding. Taken form rather clean film prints, the material shows little to no damage and a high level of detail. I am sure hardcore fans of the films will use DVD’s frame-by-frame capabilities to evaluate every single frame of film in the numerous monster encounters, just to spot the miniatures, the effects and break-away wires, as the level of detail on these transfers maintains every bit of picture information. Colors are strong but not over-saturated on this release, making all four films spectacularly flashy movies. Columbia TriStar has even gone to the lengths to create new <$16x9,16x9 enhanced> transfers of the films that restore the movies’ original theatrical <$PS,widescreen> aspect ratios. The compression on all four films is flawless without compression artifacts of any sort, maintaining a great looking presentation throughout. Shadow delineation is also perfect, with deep shadows that always maintain a high level of definition.

The discs contain dubbed audio tracks in English language only and sadly the original Japanese language tracks are not part of the release. Presented in stereo, the audio tracks are well produced however, and although the dubs are oftentimes out of sync and a little weary, the overall experience of the movies is great. The audio tracks have a natural sounding frequency response, although slight distortion was evident in selected scenes. The discs also contain subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

If you are a fan of kaiju movies, the verdict is crystal clear. You will not find any better version of these films anywhere. Especially the image quality on these releases is spectacular, thanks to the high-resolution <$16x9,anamorphic> transfers used on this DVD. The definition and color fidelity is unmatched and beats every other version of these films hands down. I would even go as far as to say that no theatrical print looked nearly as good as the ones we get to see on these DVDs.
Columbia TriStar has made the best of these films and makes these DVDs must-have releases for every fan of the traditional Japanese monster movie genre.