Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Media Target's Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

"Wrong movie!!!1!1"
Well, a new update was long overdue. Today, I present Media Target's 2002 DVD release of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, the explosive, action packed 20th Anniversary installment of the franchise. In Germany, the film was released during the winter of 1974, far earlier than Cinema Shares' belated Downtown Distribution U.S. release in 1977 (Godzilla vs. The Bionic/Cosmic Monster). The film was retitled King Kong gegen Godzilla, and yes, Mechagodzilla is indeed referred to as King Kong (a la Jet Jaguar in Constantin Film's previous release of Megalon) in the excellently dubbed German dialogue.
The great Goro Mutsumi in all his hammy glory.
As you'd expect from this period in the franchise's history, it is of course based directly off of Toho's international version, even down to lazily keeping the original credits in English. Media Target has presented two versions of the same film: a scope theatrical version (not sure if it's 35mm or 16mm...), and a standard, non-anamorphic cropped 1.85:1 TV version. The anamorphically enhanced theatrical print has a very dirty image, and an unquestionable grindhouse charm, the 20% greater PAL resolution adding to the theatrical feel. It runs about a minute shorter than the much cleaner cropped version, due to numerous small splices and dodgy reel changes spread across the runtime. One small complaint I have however, is that more than a third of the film is interlaced (starting around the 38 minute mark), reverting back to a progressive scan around the last reel.
*lame "off with his head!" joke*
For extras, we have some lengthy information on the film (in German) by Peter Clasen, but I haven't any real knowledge of the language to provide details on most of what is written. I believe some of it covers Japanese/Okinawan relations up to and during the production of the film. There is also some very brief information about director Jun Fukuda, and while he had a somewhat diverse directorial career, only his Godzilla films are covered.

Now, if only you were in a Godzilla movie Tamba-san...
There is also a large selection of German dubbed trailers, among them being Battle in Outer Space, The War of the Gargantuas, Gappa, King Kong Escapes, Destroy All Monsters, Submersion of Japan, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Terror of Mechagodzilla, and The War in Space. Only a handful are accessible from the menu itself however. Also hidden in the DVD9's structure is the U.S. Ken Films 8mm reel for Frankenstein Conquers the World.

Most of the original publicity campaign for the German release is included in an animated gallery presentation, along with some German and foreign multimedia releases. Rounding out the supplements is a ten minute long excerpt from G-Fest '02 in Chicago, the focus being a fanmade Mechagodzilla costume (by one Paul Gavins), among other cosplays at the event. An odd inclusion, but interesting look back at a past G-Fest for sure.

All in all, it's a fairly good release by early 2000s standards, and a great thing to have if you're into the foreign releases of these films or dubbed '70s shlock in general.