Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby O.Supreme » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:13 pm

That is interesting...but I figure there are actually a few people out there that don't understand the concept. My daughter actually was helped to learn to read by using cc when watching TV. I explained to her however a LONG time ago, you cant watch Anime that way, or any foreign film, because the subtitles are actually different from cc and Engh subs of an Eng film.

I wonder what film they were watching however, since there are so few English dubs on the Criterion set.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:16 am

Holy maceral! I'd always wondered about that weird moment before the final fight in Godzilla vs. Hedorah when Ken seems to sense Godzilla is coming, but with these new subtitles Ken straight-up says that Godzilla has just sent him a telepathic message! WILD!
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Dr Kain » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:05 am

O.Supreme wrote:That is interesting...but I figure there are actually a few people out there that don't understand the concept. My daughter actually was helped to learn to read by using cc when watching TV. I explained to her however a LONG time ago, you cant watch Anime that way, or any foreign film, because the subtitles are actually different from cc and Engh subs of an Eng film.

I wonder what film they were watching however, since there are so few English dubs on the Criterion set.


They had a picture of DAM below the post, so I'm going to guess it was that one. I just found it hilarious.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:39 pm

I watched Godzilla vs. Hedorah and it looks damn good. It holds up to Kraken's BRD of the Sony transfer really well, with the biggest comparative weakness being the warmer, less natural colors during the opening daylight scenes. The night scenes on Criterion's BRD are much clearer and more detailed. Sony's night scenes look more like actual night but you definitely can see the monsters more clearly on Criterion's release.

As with the other movies that Sony previously released, the picture here is less cropped on all four sides. This does open up the frame in a couple of ways that may not have been intended. When Godzilla jumps back into the water after his first fight with Hedorah, the studio ceiling is clearly visible along the top of the frame, including a couple of lights. Additionally, in the trippy scene with all of the angry people shouting in a grid pattern until the grid changes into a bunch of blinking colors that span beyond the frame, the grid no longer spans beyond the frame. The grid has a comfortable amount of black space on each side of the frame now, revealing the grid to be just four rows of nine blinking stadium shapes.


lhb412 wrote:Holy maceral! I'd always wondered about that weird moment before the final fight in Godzilla vs. Hedorah when Ken seems to sense Godzilla is coming, but with these new subtitles Ken straight-up says that Godzilla has just sent him a telepathic message! WILD!


With these newly translated subtitles, it's so cool to get more clarity about what the filmmakers were going for. Telepathy certainly is a recurring trope in Godzilla films!

After I watched the movie, I went back and compared the English subtitles to those on the Sony and Kraken discs as well as both of the English dubs. I typed a lot of it up in Microsoft Excel for easy comparison:

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Shokara wrote:
lhb412 wrote:^ Yeah, I believe Sony's subs were just dubtitles culled from the International dub.


Yes and no. It was a loose yet partially accurate translation of the original Japanese script. However, the accuracy in translation was very minimal, and gaps were filled with international/export English dub script. I guess you could say the Sony DVD's subtitles were "partial dubtitles."


Ken's poem is a good example of how the translations vary for this flick.

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The first line of the poem is essentially the same in every version, although AIP's dub takes the most liberty with the wording.

In the second line, the second Japanese term that Ken says is audibly hedoro ("sludge"), which wasn't in either of the English dubs but is reflected in all of the subtitles. Assuming that Criterion's subtitles are an accurate translation of this poem, then all of the subtitles to date have had the "Even sewage" bit at the correct point, whereas the international dub moved the term to the beginning of the second line (as "Human waste"), moved "poison gas" to the second term (replacing "sludge") and added the "And all life dies" flourish at the end of the line.

While Ken says that Godzilla would be angered by the sight of all the refuse in every prior English-language presentation, according to Criterion, Ken doesn't actually say anything to the effect of "He would do something" or "He'd turn the page and clean it for you and me" in the original Japanese. I think this is particularly interesting, because it indicates that Godzilla's subsequent burning of the garbage with his atomic breath is meant only to represent Godzilla's rage at humanity's mess, not meant to suggest that burning garbage is an actual solution to pollution for which Ken is advocating.

According to Criterion, Ken closes the poem with "Ken Yano, second grade" whereas Toho's international dub and English screen text has him also say "class A" while AIP's dub has it as "class 4B." Sony & Kraken's subtitles included "class A."

The original version of the movie displays Ken's poem on the screen in Japanese text as he recites it. The international English version that I recorded off the SciFi Channel back in 2000 displayed his poem onscreen as English text, although the Sony and Kraken discs had no onscreen text for the poem. Here are screenshots of the poem's English text from SpaceHunterM's YouTube video. The wording is identical to the international dub except for the arrangement of Ken's closing. The dub has him say "Class A, second grade, Ken Yano" while the onscreen text reads "Second Grade. Class A. Ken Yano."

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One other thing I found while comparing the various English translations of this movie is that the wording of the subtitles between the Sony and Kraken discs is not always 100% identical. I haven't found any major differences but there are some instances where the wording is different, however slight.

For instance, the lab scene in which Dr. Yano and Ken talk about hedrium. The wording of the subtitles is the same between the Sony and Kraken discs right up until Dr. Yano's last dialogue. On the Sony DVD, he doesn't actually say the term "sulfuric acid mist" in the subtitles during this scene, although he does on the Kraken discs.

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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby canofhumdingers » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:04 pm

While I have yet to watch Hedorah, I can’t help but find your claim that it holds up against the Sony-based Kraken release highly suspect. I’ve seen screenshots of Toho’s video master...

I have watched MechaGodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla in the last few days (the first two movies I’ve had a chance to watch since I received the set over Christmas). They are exactly what I expected. Toho video masters that have been color corrected for US tv standards. At times they look pretty darn good. Other times they look almost insultingly soft and out of focus. But for the vast majority of the run time they look incredibly mediocre and absolutely pale in comparison to even modestly competent modern HD transfers of their contemporaries. Yet, overall they are still the best they’ve ever looked on home video, so there’s that.

I do agree the new subtitle translations are wonderful and quite revelatory. I’d actually argue the set is worth the price of admission for the clarity of the new subs alone! This is easily the biggest gift criterion managed to give to fans with this release. I’m also looking forward to diving into the extra features disc. I’ve seen the special effect outtakes doc before, but never with subtitles! I suspect that’s going to be a real treat.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:28 pm

^^ Fantastic work, Ben!
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:10 am

I've watched the Criterion Collection edition of Godzilla vs. Megalon, both subtitled and dubbed, and it looks downright beautiful! This is right up there with All Monsters Attack as one of the best visual presentations in this set. It's as clean as the Media Blasters BRD but with much more vibrant colors and stronger contrast that brings out more detail. Jet Jaguar's primary colors pop! The texture of Godzilla's scaly skin and lunatic eyes is striking! From Megalon's wings to Seatopia's decor to the bright morning in the closing moments, this movie looks absolutely radiant!

Some of the stock footage does look noticeably faded, especially certain shots from The Mysterians. I wish I still had one of my old Megalon VHS tapes to see if that stock footage has always looked so much worse than the rest of the movie.

The Media Blasters Megalon BRD had a ghosting effect in the image that was very digital-looking and distracting (which their DVDs did not have) so it's also nice be able to watch the movie in HD without that defect.

The English dub sounds exactly like it does on MB's discs, loud and clear with dialogue on the raspy side.


canofhumdingers wrote:While I have yet to watch Hedorah, I can’t help but find your claim that it holds up against the Sony-based Kraken release highly suspect. I’ve seen screenshots of Toho’s video master...

I have watched MechaGodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla in the last few days (the first two movies I’ve had a chance to watch since I received the set over Christmas). They are exactly what I expected. Toho video masters that have been color corrected for US tv standards. At times they look pretty darn good. Other times they look almost insultingly soft and out of focus. But for the vast majority of the run time they look incredibly mediocre and absolutely pale in comparison to even modestly competent modern HD transfers of their contemporaries. Yet, overall they are still the best they’ve ever looked on home video, so there’s that.


Sony's Hedorah transfer certainly has the advantage in most of the daylight scenes, in particular the opening scene with the Yano family and when Ken accompanies Dr. Yano on his diving trip. Most of the movie takes place at night and Criterion's presentation has quite an edge there. Sony's night scenes do look more like actual night, and while they're much clearer on a TV than computer screenshots make them seem, Criterion's night scenes are just more visible and detailed all-around. The colors and textures on the monster costumes are much more discernible and both monsters stand out more against the nighttime backdrop.

The Sony transfer also has a fair bit more print damage, although it does have the more natural color palette and finer detail in brightly-lit scenes. Like Ebirah and Gigan, I'd say Kraken's Hedorah BRD with the Sony transfer is the stronger presentation overall but Criterion's BRD holds up really well as an alternate presentation. As is the case with Gigan, Hedorah will look great whether I'm watching it subtitled on Criterion's disc or dubbed on Kraken's and I think it's cool that the two versions will look a little different from each other.

It's Kraken's Ebirah BRD that leaves me in a quandary. Criterion's disc has the better subtitles, so the only reason I have to watch Kraken's disc now would be to watch it dubbed, and I'd rather not hear that international dub ever again.

You pointed out that the Mechagodzilla films in Criterion's set are the best they've ever looked on home video. Whenever you've watched those MG films before in your life, haven't you always been able to enjoy them without thinking they looked incredibly mediocre? Why should you have to feel any more disappointed than before now that you're seeing them look better than ever before?

There's always room for improvement, and of course it would have been nice if Criterion had gotten to do their own transfers from the original elements, but comparing any of these Godzilla movies to hypothetical transfers or different movies altogether just seems like a recipe for gratuitous disappointment to me. We can bring that kind of pessimism on ourselves with anything but we don't have to. Watching Godzilla movies on pan-&-scan VHS tapes didn't stop me from liking them 20 years ago. Most of the Showa films got great-looking DVD releases which I've watched the hell out of for more than a decade. Now this BRD set has two-thirds of the Showa films looking better than any prior version that I've owned, some by a very wide margin, with only one movie (Son of Godzilla) looking noticeably worse than what's been released before and the rest looking solid. There's no reason to suddenly let room for improvement become something that stops me from being exactly as psyched as I naturally am to see Godzilla movies looking better than ever.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby canofhumdingers » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:08 am

I think you’re taking my “best they’ve ever looked” statement out of context. Say I’d never tasted a hamburger in my life and then ate at McDonalds. I could say, in all honesty, that it’s the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. But that doesn’t exactly paint a true picture of the quality of what I consumed...

I’m not being overly pessimistic, bitter, or angry. I’m just being honest. Unfortunately inflection doesn’t come through in typed word and so it can be difficult to express disappointment or criticism in a way that doesn’t sound just miserable.

And I’m not trying to quell your enthusiasm or enjoyment. I’m truly glad you’re enjoying the set so much. I’m enjoying it too, though probably not as much ;-)

But just as you offer your thoughts and opinions, I offer mine. Where you focus on the better details or vibrant colors, I can’t help but see the soft, highly processed video quality that is far removed from what actual film can or should look like on modern home video. We have FINALLY reached the point where home video can *very* closely replicate the theatrical experience (and in many cases even surpass it). To say we shouldn’t compare these transfers to anything other than previous outdated transfers of the same films is just sticking your head in the sand and being willfully ignorant. I can’t abide that mentality.

I have enjoyed this set so far, and will continue to do so. But I’m not going to be dishonest about it’s true quality, or lack thereof just to avoid sounding negative.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:23 pm

So many cool bits of animation in the original Japanese opening titles of these movies that have been lost for years by replacing them with generic English titles. Those laser sound effects in the opening of Godzilla vs. Gigan finally makes sense now!

Random observation: the final fight in Godzilla vs. Megalon is in many ways more well-staged then the ones in the previous few movies. The fight goes through distinct phases and both Godzilla and Jet Jaguar as well as Megalon and Gigan have a nice rapport with each other. The participants show a lot of their respective characters as they fight. There's a lot of awesome stuff in the final fight with Hedorah, but there's also a lot of empty space the drags that (very extended sequence) down, and the final fight at the end of Gigan only gets interesting after Godzilla catches his second wind and him and Anguirus pull a bunch of combo moves over the baddies.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby H-Man » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:20 pm

Benjamin Haines wrote:You pointed out that the Mechagodzilla films in Criterion's set are the best they've ever looked on home video. Whenever you've watched those MG films before in your life, haven't you always been able to enjoy them without thinking they looked incredibly mediocre? Why should you have to feel any more disappointed than before now that you're seeing them look better than ever before?


Because in the past the films have generally always looked about as good as technology at the time allowed them to look. Obviously the 1988 New World Video release of Mechagodzilla looks pitiful today because it's cropped to 4:3 and mastered at 480i but for the time that was almost revelatory compared to the previous versions available on television and video (the only better versions at that time were 35mm prints of the film or whatever was available in Japan). Despite its flaws it was a perfectly acceptable transfer for 1988. The difference today is that the 2008 Toho HiVision does not reflect 2020 video standards (let alone 2008 standards) and as such is a letdown when taken in that context.

Ken does say「テレパシーだ。」("It's telepathy.") so that's clearly something previous translators glossed over.

To note about the Titan-produced U.S. dub ("Smog Monster"): whereas the export dub and subtitle translations may be viewed as attempts to translate the Japanese dialogue, the American dub may be best viewed as an adaptation. I don't think they were as interested in preserving the original artistic intent as they were in making the film presentable for a different audience (America, instead of Japan).
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby O.Supreme » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:27 pm

For me, Video Presentation has never been an issue, since I started recording films such as these from TV broadcasts on my own in the mid-late 80's, I've watched my copies literally deteriorate from extensive viewing, until the age of digital media. I've been willing to put up with far less.

My issue now of course is with the lack of audio options. It's hard to believe that it's only been since 2004, for the 50th anniversary that we've had DVD media with multiple audio options.

*Yes I know multi language DVD's in general existed pretty much since DVDs entry into the consumer market in the late 90's, but the first Godzilla films to receive such releases in North America wasn't until 2004. Even the Heisei Gamera Trilogy and Yamato Takeru (all released by ADV) preceded any Godzilla film in terms of multi language release by a year or more.

Hearing these films in their original spoken language with subtitles was to me *neat* side-option, never could I have conceived it would be the standard, or the norm in an English speaking market. Even Less, would I have imagined a day and age where more options are available than ever, that the standard audio by which these films were heard in North America for 30+ years would be removed without reasonable explanation.

Just for the record. Ben- I love those comparisons, I appreciate all the hard work that went into it. definitely something I myself would have enjoyed doing if only I had the time. Also, Yes I have purchased the Criterion Set, basically to have a copy of the Original Japanese version of KK V G. I've watched 4 of the 15 films, and I'm generally unimpressed, sad to say. I may watch more, but Most of my preferred ways of viewing these films I can get from perfectly watchable DVDs, or from amazing looking fan restorations.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Gwangi » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:04 am

Benjamin Haines wrote:Wait until you check out All Monsters Attack!


I have, and it does look most impressive.

O.Supreme wrote:I've watched 4 of the 15 films, and I'm generally unimpressed, sad to say. I may watch more, but Most of my preferred ways of viewing these films I can get from perfectly watchable DVDs, or from amazing looking fan restorations.


What I did when I watched "Godzilla's Revenge" (and for me, it will always be that title), is I put the Classic Media DVD on my computer, turned up the volume, while I put the Criterion disk on my blu-ray player, and lowered the volume, then made the perfect sync up, and really enjoyed the film! :mrgreen:

Yeah, I've also seen what I wanted to see from this Criterion set (Revenge, Megalon, Mechagodzilla films, KK vs G Japanese and the various special features). For the rest, let's just say that they will always be there.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:00 am

Finished all the movies.

Picture quality on all of them is certainly watchable, if in some cases only a modest improvement over standard definition. I feel the most egregious flaws are the print damage in Mothra vs. Godzilla (which isn't a flaw of the transfer per se) and the weirdly muted color palette of Son of Godzilla. But some of Toho's transfers are better than others, with Ghidorah, Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla vs. Megalon looking quite superior as well as a general improvement overall in the transfers for the 70s films. The real gem among the Toho transfers is All Monsters Attack. That's the movie that looks the way all of these movies should look!

Even though we may be years off from getting the substantially improved remasters the films deserve Criterion's presentation does offer at least one huge overall improvement extended to all the films in their superlative new subtitle translations.

I'm going to save most of the extras for this weekend, but I did watch a couple and I was very pleasantly surprised by the Furuya interview. I felt it would be on the slight side, instead it felt like a ton of great stuff packed into those 6 minutes. Don't overlook this one.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:00 am

canofhumdingers wrote:I think you’re taking my “best they’ve ever looked” statement out of context. Say I’d never tasted a hamburger in my life and then ate at McDonalds. I could say, in all honesty, that it’s the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. But that doesn’t exactly paint a true picture of the quality of what I consumed...

I’m not being overly pessimistic, bitter, or angry. I’m just being honest. Unfortunately inflection doesn’t come through in typed word and so it can be difficult to express disappointment or criticism in a way that doesn’t sound just miserable.

And I’m not trying to quell your enthusiasm or enjoyment. I’m truly glad you’re enjoying the set so much. I’m enjoying it too, though probably not as much ;-)

But just as you offer your thoughts and opinions, I offer mine. Where you focus on the better details or vibrant colors, I can’t help but see the soft, highly processed video quality that is far removed from what actual film can or should look like on modern home video. We have FINALLY reached the point where home video can *very* closely replicate the theatrical experience (and in many cases even surpass it). To say we shouldn’t compare these transfers to anything other than previous outdated transfers of the same films is just sticking your head in the sand and being willfully ignorant. I can’t abide that mentality.

I have enjoyed this set so far, and will continue to do so. But I’m not going to be dishonest about it’s true quality, or lack thereof just to avoid sounding negative.


If Terror of Mechagodzilla is the hamburger in that analogy, then you would have had a hamburger before, presumably many times since you were a kid, and now this set includes a better hamburger than you've ever had before. You could look at how other foods are prepared and you could accurately speculate that there are tastier ways to prepare this hamburger but it's not like there's another restaurant somewhere else that's actually offering a better hamburger. In that scenario there's no reason not to let yourself savor every bite of the best hamburger you've had yet.

I'm glad that you are enjoying the set. It just saddens me to see some of my fellow Godzilla fans enjoying this Showa Series BRD set less than I am. :(

This genre has always been the epitome of entertainment to me. I like delving into the nuances of these movies because it's fun, not because it's something pressing or important that must be done, so of course it's something that I think merits an optimistic outlook. Isn't that why we're all drawn to this genre in the first place, because it's something that brings us joy?


H-Man wrote:Because in the past the films have generally always looked about as good as technology at the time allowed them to look. Obviously the 1988 New World Video release of Mechagodzilla looks pitiful today because it's cropped to 4:3 and mastered at 480i but for the time that was almost revelatory compared to the previous versions available on television and video (the only better versions at that time were 35mm prints of the film or whatever was available in Japan). Despite its flaws it was a perfectly acceptable transfer for 1988. The difference today is that the 2008 Toho HiVision does not reflect 2020 video standards (let alone 2008 standards) and as such is a letdown when taken in that context.


What's the purpose of letting that be a letdown, though? Does the mere advancement of technology since 1988 make it good for us to be less happy today than the fans in 1988, even when what we're watching in 2020 still looks leagues better than what they were watching back then? It's not good for any of us to hold our own satisfaction at arm's length like that, not with anything in life but especially not with something that's always made us happy.

I'm just saying that we can recognize the flaws in the presentation of these flicks without letting those flaws undercut our own joy. Back in 2012, I got to see Godzilla vs. Megalon on the big screen in Atlanta. It was an original 35mm film print from when Cinema Shares released it in the States, so the quality was extremely faded with heavy damage and a thick magenta tint. I could have gotten hung up on how I drove three hours to see such a low-quality print but then I wouldn't have enjoyed watching Godzilla vs. Megalon in a movie theater full of people who cheered, laughed and applauded throughout the show, with excited kids shouting "Jet Jaguar!" and everyone rooting for Godzilla in the tag-team wrestling match. I would have missed out on the joy of that experience if I had been preoccupied by what I could complain about, because the presentation sure did offer plenty to complain about.

Oh, and did I mention that Criterion's presentation of Godzilla vs. Megalon looks absolutely fantastic? :mrgreen:


O.Supreme wrote:Just for the record. Ben- I love those comparisons, I appreciate all the hard work that went into it. definitely something I myself would have enjoyed doing if only I had the time.


Like our Toho overlords, I am quite adept at dated technology, in this case Microsoft Excel. :twisted:

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I'll do some more of these tomorrow!
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby O.Supreme » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:38 pm

Some of the translations are very similar if not exact. But I LOVE the Diversity of DAM. Pretty different across all versions, yet none of them can really be accused of being *inaccurate*. So many ways to convey the same message in my favorite G film of all time. I love it. 8)
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:48 pm

I watched Criterion's Destroy All Monsters and it looks beautiful. Much like Godzilla vs. Megalon, it's the same clean transfer that Media Blasters released but with much stronger contrast and richer colors. The lush greens of Monsterland and Mt. Fuji, the yellow spacesuits of the SY-3 crew, the yellow-orange jumpsuits of the Monsterland crew, the red uniforms of the moon base crew and all of the film's many colorful effects sequences look more striking than ever.

I still need to check out Monster Zero in both languages and then dive into the set's special features.


O.Supreme wrote:Some of the translations are very similar if not exact. But I LOVE the Diversity of DAM. Pretty different across all versions, yet none of them can really be accused of being *inaccurate*. So many ways to convey the same message in my favorite G film of all time. I love it. 8)


The international dub for Destroy All Monsters veers into inaccuracy the most. Take Dr. Yoshida's last line to the press. After he assures them that he and the UNSC are just as curious as everyone else about why Tokyo wasn't attacked, he then beckons anyone with the answer to speak up according to both Media Blasters and Criterion. In both of the dubs, he instead asks to be excused, but while Titan's dub has him conclude with "There's not much time," the Frontier dub inexplicably has him say "I'm tired."

Criterion's subtitles don't seem to add anything extraneous to the translations, and in cases like Ken mentioning telepathy in Hedorah, Criterion seems to convey some things that previous translations have missed. On the other hand, comparing their subtitles for DAM and Megalon to those by Media Blasters suggests that Criterion did leave some details out. They're very similar for the most part and some of the differences come down to little things like Goro saying "Jet Jaguar, want to come home with us?" (MB) compared to just "Jet Jaguar, want to come home?" (Criterion).

There are some more specific details that Criterion's translation leaves out, though, like when the monsters assemble to attack the Kilaaks at Mt. Fuji. As Varan is touching down on the ground, according to Media Blasters, the reporter says "One after another, they're bearing down on the Kilaak base here in Aokigahara," and if you listen to him speak in Japanese you can clearly hear him name the Aokigahara forest. However, Criterion's subtitles for that line simply read "They're all advancing toward the Kilaaks' base."

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Here are some more Megalon comparisons:

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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Dr Kain » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:53 pm

The one thing that really annoyed me about the dub to DAM is that they still said Baragon was attacking Paris even though it was Gorosaurus. I get why it was wrong in the Japanese version since the scenes are shot separately, but the dubbers should have fixed it.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby H-Man » Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:23 pm

Dr Kain wrote:The one thing that really annoyed me about the dub to DAM is that they still said Baragon was attacking Paris even though it was Gorosaurus. I get why it was wrong in the Japanese version since the scenes are shot separately, but the dubbers should have fixed it.


You expect strong familiarity with the characters and franchise where there likely was little to none.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby SeaHawk » Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:11 pm

Benjamin Haines wrote:There are some more specific details that Criterion's translation leaves out, though, like when the monsters assemble to attack the Kilaaks at Mt. Fuji. As Varan is touching down on the ground, according to Media Blasters, the reporter says "One after another, they're bearing down on the Kilaak base here in Aokigahara," and if you listen to him speak in Japanese you can clearly hear him name the Aokigahara forest. However, Criterion's subtitles for that line simply read "They're all advancing toward the Kilaaks' base."

This is pretty standard for most higher quality subtitle jobs. It's as much about conveying the original dialog accurately as it is about retaining the general feel of the dialog and keeping you from having too much to read. More is rarely better when it comes to subtitles, and sometimes you have to make compromises. A cluttered subtitle would include the names of all the monsters and the forest in that line, but reducing it to "they" gets the meaning across without the superfluous details. Just look at how much shorter a lot of the Criterion subtitles are compared to their MB variants. When they're not shorter, they're more polished and readable. It would have been great if Criterion were able to present the missing English dubbed versions to the same high quality standards as these subtitles.

The aim of audiovisual language transfer is always to be as seamless as possible... to keep you immersed in the movie and not thinking about the translation process, and to take away from the experience everything a native speaker would have. For dubbing, the big concerns are lip sync, realistic acoustics and a voice that matches the person... for good subtitles, the aim is to keep them pithy, relatively simple, and free of obvious inaccuracy or poor writing. Since you're basically multitasking while watching a subtitled movie - switching between the movie and a translation of the movie over and over - the subtitles ideally shouldn't draw too much attention to themselves. But again, sacrifices occasionally have to be made for the sake of accuracy, readability, or pithiness at the cost of another one of those criteria, and this means a good subtitler has to make a lot of value judgments. In my opinion, subtitles carry a larger burden due to the legwork that the viewer has to put in... with subtitles you have to multitask, so if they're bad, you're doing a lot of work with little to gain. But with dubbing you get to sit back like it's a film produced in your own tongue. If the dub is bad, it's just awkward. Subtitles are intrusive, while dubbing is substitutional. One needs to make up for drawing your eyes away from the film, and the other needs to be a realistic, adequate replacement for the original audio.

I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all translation method... some subtitlers treat film/TV dialog translation like a detailed transcription, which I think is a huge mistake and results in bloated, overly comprehensive translations. This methodology seems more common in fan subtitling communities, which I understand... when you're a huge fan of something, not just a casual, you want every single detail. But I think it's still a mistake. Not every single word uttered on a movie soundtrack needs to be accounted for, and the way to discover what is and shouldn't be subtitled is to perform a thought experiment... if I were a native speaker, are any of these audible details and words just extraneous details that don't need transcription to help with understanding the full picture? Another thought experiment would be to ask yourself if a non-native speaker would, over time, understand very simple utterances like "yes" or intuitively understand something like "oh!"

Should background dialog of no real importance be given its own subtitle? No, I don't think so... it's detail that a native speaker wouldn't really be paying that much attention to, and subtitling it - or giving it as much a right to draw your attention away from the picture as any normal line in the movie - is something I'd avoid. In a dub, I think it should be dubbed not because the dialog is important, but because it adds realism. Should a word like "yes" or "OK" be translated every single time? After the first two or three occurrences, the viewer probably knows what it means, and to keep translating it kind of insults their intelligence, unless they just started watching the movie halfway through for some reason. You can't have everything... if subtitles give you everything, you miss out on a considerable portion of the action.

Seeing this whole dilemma not as "SUBS GOOD DUBS BAD" but as language transfer that takes an audible or visual form and needs to meet different goals to work correctly has helped me appreciate good dubs and subtitles, and feel compassion for bad dubs and subtitles. Translation is not easy, and it's never perfect.

(sorry for the essaypost, I've just given this way too much thought, plus I'm overcaffeinated and annoyed by overly simplified subtitle vs. dubbing debates when language transfer is so much deeper and a legitimate study of its own)
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:32 pm

Benjamin Haines wrote:Image


Here are some more Megalon comparisons:

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These are all fantastic, Ben. It really makes you think deeply about the translation process.

I know that the Criterion Collection version of Throne of Blood has two alternate subtitle tracks from separate experts. I think that's an awesome idea, and I wonder why it's not more common with more prestige, literary films where the audience would probably be interested in the nuance of translation.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby SeaHawk » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:38 pm

lhb412 wrote:I know that the Criterion Collection version of Throne of Blood has two alternate subtitle tracks from separate experts. I think that's an awesome idea, and I wonder why it's not more common with more prestige, literary films where the audience would probably be interested in the nuance of translation.

This would be cool because, again, every subtitler has to make a lot of value judgments when deciding how to phrase dialog, and sacrifices are always made. The word count is unlimited but ought to be kept at a minimum, and word choice is also unlimited, but the translator ought to know their audience. This is why there is no one-size-fits-all method to subtitling and the translator needs to envision specific audiences that will be reading them.

With dubbing, the process has certain limits in the number and types of lip movements available, but is fairly unlimited in the word choice, within the bounds of the lip movements. With subtitles, there aren't any quantifiable limits. You could make a single subtitle as long as my last post if you wanted... it's not a good idea, but you can do it. Attention span and reading speed varies from person to person, but generally you want to keep the word count as low as possible both to keep viewers' eyes on the movie as much as possible, and to sort of democratize the translation experience by keeping it from being something only people with high reading speeds can enjoy. Even if you can read a long subtitle really fast, it would be preferable for everyone to read shorter subtitles. Word choice is technically unlimited, but in some cases, it is less free than with dubbing because sometimes a non-native speaker may understand certain utterances, and if an unexpected translation is used, it might be jarring to certain people.

One thing I like about the Criterion Godzilla subtitles is the pulpiness and vintage feel of the phrasing. With words like "sonny..." they put you in the era in ways a very literal, clinical translation couldn't, even if some of these words they chose aren't what I automatically associate the Japanese words with, or at least the few words of Japanese I know.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:30 pm

^ A bit off topic, but I'm really enjoying the subtitles for Ultraseven.

I had a few qualms with the subtitles for Ultraman, what with the sometimes overly literal phrasing and the dozen or so times the word "monster" is misspelled, but overall it was decent.

I feel the subs for Ultraseven or just a bit stronger, though. One aspect I really love is that Dan is always cursing himself after, say, not noticing something suspicious or maybe not being fast enough or something like that. The subtitles translate his exclamation in these moments as "blast." Like: "Blast, I should have been more careful." I really love it. It's almost like his catchphrase!
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:01 am

SeaHawk wrote:Another thought experiment would be to ask yourself if a non-native speaker would, over time, understand very simple utterances like "yes" or intuitively understand something like "oh!"


Criterion definitely seems to have taken that route going back to their release of G'54. There are lots of instances in these movies where things like "yes" or "hey" are left unsubtitled, as well as times when characters repeat someone's name but the subtitles don't repeat it.


lhb412 wrote:These are all fantastic, Ben. It really makes you think deeply about the translation process.

I know that the Criterion Collection version of Throne of Blood has two alternate subtitle tracks from separate experts. I think that's an awesome idea, and I wonder why it's not more common with more prestige, literary films where the audience would probably be interested in the nuance of translation.


Comparing these various translations next to each other is fascinating. I'd love to have the option to watch kaiju movies in their original language with multiple subtitle options reflecting the various English dubs and subtitles from past official releases along with a current translation. The Echo Bridge/Lionsgate Godzilla vs. Biollante is the only example of that happening so far, with the optional subtitles or dubtitles.


More DAM comparisons:

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Dr Kain wrote:The one thing that really annoyed me about the dub to DAM is that they still said Baragon was attacking Paris even though it was Gorosaurus. I get why it was wrong in the Japanese version since the scenes are shot separately, but the dubbers should have fixed it.


Toho's sound department didn't fix it either! Gorosaurus emits Baragon's roar when he emerges from the ground in Paris. Gorosaurus does have a very similar voice but every other time he roars in the movie, it's less guttural and it always starts with a high-pitched snarl. Only when he's destroying the Arc de Triomphe does Gorosaurus sound exactly like Baragon. It's as though the filmmakers straight-up tried to pass off the Gorosaurus suit as Baragon for that scene, roar and all!

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Last edited by Benjamin Haines on Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby H-Man » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:13 pm

If memory serves, the actor in Frontier’s dub actually says “Beiping” instead of Peking. At the time, that was an informal name although it seems to have been used officially by some foreign governments until the 70s.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Dr Kain » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:08 pm

H-Man wrote:If memory serves, the actor in Frontier’s dub actually says “Beiping” instead of Peking. At the time, that was an informal name although it seems to have been used officially by some foreign governments until the 70s.


I've never understood the Wade Giles system for Chinese names. It's supposed to be Beijing, not Peking, and not Beiping.
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