It is no secret that I fancy myself a fan of the giant radioactive monster from Japan, Godzilla. From the original Toho flicks to the efforts from the good ol’ USA (excluding that horribly dreadful cinematic disaster that was 1998’s Godzilla) I get great joy out of seeing giant monsters clash with each other and destroy the Japanese landscape. Fans of Big G have never found themselves without an ample amount of Godzilla related things to keep them satisfied. Fresh off the heals of Toho’s last G film, Shin Godzilla, we had the incredible Godzilla: King of the Monsters earlier this year, and next year is the much anticipated rematch with Kong vs Godzilla. As a part of the recent resurgence in global popularity of the famous Toho Studios creation, Criterion is releasing an incredible Blu-ray box sent of all the Showa era Godzilla films from 1954-1975.
From their site:
In 1954, an enormous beast clawed its way out of the sea, destroying everything in its path—and changing movies forever. The arresting original Godzilla soon gave rise to an entire monster-movie genre (kaiju eiga), but the King of the Monsters continued to reign supreme: in fourteen fiercely entertaining sequels over the next two decades, Godzilla defended its throne against a host of other formidable creatures, transforming from a terrifying symbol of nuclear annihilation into a benevolent (if still belligerent) Earth protector. Collected here for the first time are all fifteen Godzilla films of Japan’s Showa era, in a landmark set showcasing the technical wizardry, fantastical storytelling, and indomitable international appeal that established the most iconic giant monster the cinema has ever seen.
With a hefty price tag of $179.96 (if ordered from the Criterion website), this collection is more for the ardent collector than the casual fan. That being said, it is exciting even for the casual fans to have some of these movies availability in high definition for the first time in North America.
Not sure yet if there will be follow up sets of the Heisei and Millennium era flicks, but one can hope. If this is something up your alley, be sure and head to the Criterion site to pre-order ahead of its October 2019 release date.
Features on this set include:
- High-definition digital transfers of all fifteen Godzilla films made between 1954 and 1975, released together for the first time, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
- High-definition digital transfers of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the 1956 U.S.-release version of Godzilla; and the 1962 Japanese-release version of King Kong vs. Godzilla
- Audio commentaries from 2011 on Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters featuring film historian David Kalat
- International English-language dub tracks for Invasion of Astro-Monster, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, and Terror of Mechagodzilla
- Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Ishiro Honda, conducted by director Yoshimitsu Banno in 1990
- Programs detailing the creation of Godzilla’s special effects and unused effects sequences from Toho releases including Destroy All Monsters
- New interview with filmmaker Alex Cox about his admiration for the Showa-era Godzilla films
- New and archival interviews with cast and crew members, including actors Bin Furuya, Tsugutoshi Komada, Haruo Nakajima, and Akira Takarada; composer Akira Ifukube; and effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai
- Interview with critic Tadao Sato from 2011
- Illustrated audio essay from 2011 about the real-life tragedy that inspired Godzilla
- New English subtitle translations
- PLUS: A lavishly illustrated deluxe hardcover book featuring an essay by cinema historian Steve Ryfle, notes on the films by cinema historian Ed Godziszewski, and new illustrations by Arthur Adams, Sophie Campbell, Becky Cloonan, Jorge Coelho, Geof Darrow, Simon Gane, Robert Goodin, Benjamin Marra, Monarobot, Takashi Okazaki, Angela Rizza, Yuko Shimizu, Bill Sienkiewicz, Katsuya Terada, Ronald Wimberly, and Chris Wisnia