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Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?! • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan

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

Discuss Movies and Soundtracks available in different formats, including the latest releases on Blu-Ray. As per Board policy, No Bootleg Discussions please!

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

Postby Benjamin Haines » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:45 pm

Barnes & Noble delivered my set. They're not kidding when they say this book is big. It's just barely too tall for my most spacious shelf.

I started off by watching Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla with the English dub, although I did turn on the subtitles for the scene where Professor Miyajima names the metal that he built into his pipe’s bowl. Whoever transcribed the dubtitles for the Sony DVD just gave up and typed “a???” and I always thought he said “astrenochron” in the English dub. According to Criterion’s subtitles, it’s actually astanopkron, and when I listened closely to the dub this time I could actually hear that! I don’t know if that’s just because I read it or if the dubbed audio track on this BRD is actually clearer than previous releases. Like the Sony DVD, switching back and forth between the audio options on this BRD reveals that the Japanese track sounds much more crisp and robust, especially in the music and sound effects.

Speaking of the music, the English audio track on this BRD retains a unique quirk that I haven’t heard since the days when I was watching Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla on VHS.

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Right after the statue blasts open the cliffside, when the smoke clears and the sleeping King Seesar is revealed, the first note of Masaru Sato’s musical cue actually repeats itself. It doesn’t do that in the original Japanese audio but it was always like that when I watched the movie on dubbed VHS tapes as a kid. I was perplexed back when Sony released their DVD and that scene’s iconic music cue seemed slightly shortened from how I remembered it, but it’s back to repeating that first musical note in the English audio on Criterion’s BRD! It occurs at the 1:03:45 mark on the BRD, right at the beginning of chapter 11, “Waking a defender.” That moment on the Sony DVD is at the 1:03:56 mark just before the start of chapter 10, “King Caesar™.”

After putting Sony’s DVD in my laptop to check on that, I went ahead and rewatched the ending of the movie from the moment when Godzilla joins the battle, with Criterion’s BRD playing on my TV and Sony’s DVD playing on my laptop right in front of me, allowing me to glance back and forth between the two. I don’t have a way to take BRD screenshots but after comparing both discs in real time, I think Criterion’s presentation looks better overall. They adjusted the contrast on Toho’s transfer so the colors are vibrant, if not quite as saturated as the colors on Sony’s disc. Sony’s color palette actually leans pretty heavily blue, to the point where Godzilla himself looks blue-tinted in a few shots. It’s especially noticeable in the interior scenes of the alien base and the closing shot of the Azumi shrine. The blue sky on Sony’s disc certainly pops more but I think Criterion has the more natural-looking color palette. Criterion’s picture is also a bit brighter, so blacks aren’t as deeply dark but more details are visible in dark areas. The HD upgrade is significant as there’s a lot more visible detail all-around. I’ve always known that Sony’s transfers were cropped and that never really bothered me but watching it at the same time as Criterion’s BRD struck me with just how cropped Sony’s DVD really is on all four sides. Criterion’s presentation really does enhance the cinematography. I’ve got nothing against the picture on Sony’s DVD, I’ve been happy to have it as my go-to option for watching Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla over the past 15 years, but Criterion’s BRD is a welcome improvement.

I don’t like how it’s unclear which language options I’m selecting on the main menu. However, I do like how when I use the PS4’s options button to toggle between the audio tracks while the movie is playing, it automatically switches the subtitles on or off as appropriate.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby H-Man » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:05 pm

Those audio stutters are an oddity in every release of Mechagodzilla’s HK dub prior to the Sony release. Similar “stutters” can be heard in Hedorah (where they're pretty insignificant), Gigan, and TOMG (most notably after Mugal dies). I’m not sure the technical reason for these but it seems to have originated with the original soundtrack editing. If I had to guess it would be something related to the marrying of the dubbed loops to the music and effects (M&E) track. They were carried over to American releases that used the HK dubs, e.g. Godzilla on Monster Island. There are a ton of them in GvMG. Off the top of my head: music repeats as Masahiko pokes around Gyokusen Cave; Fake Godzilla’s footfalls as he nears the Anguirus battle; repeated sound effects at the beginning of Fake Godzilla vs. Anguirus.

For whatever reason, the three 70s Godzilla films released by Sony had their dubbed tracks altered (whether by Toho or Sony, I don’t know): I think a new mono mix for each was created using the M&E tracks and the original dialogue stems (or in the case of Gigan, I think a copy of the original fully-mixed dub). This erased all the stutters and other audio “glitches” inherent to the original HK dubs. That’s also likely why the Sony DVD was missing Kuronuma’s “Move over!”

I have not seen these Blu-rays but the dubbed audio from the Janus versions on Comet seem to be the original unaltered dubbed soundtracks.

Here’s a video detailing most of the Gigan stutters:

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

Postby lhb412 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:03 am

My lazy ass is excited that multiple, often thematically linked movies will be on the same discs. If I want to watch the Mothra/Ghidorah/Astro Monster trilogy or the two Mechagodzilla movies I'll no longer have to leave my chair!
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:14 am

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

Postby H-Man » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:28 am

変の声謎だよ。
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Rody » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:29 am

I watched Ghidorah last night and Astro-Monster today. Knowing fully well, as discussed, that these transfers have issues, Ghidorah looked GREAT on my TV set, and Astro-Monster looked pretty decent too. If these are sub-par, I'm truly excited by the potential of seeing these films fully restored some day, even if it takes longer than it needs to get overseas.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:33 am

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

Postby Dr Kain » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:25 am

On the subject of there being different dubs, I honestly have no freaking idea which dubs I have seen. I rented whatever my Video Factories and Blockbusters had available. I watched whatever TNT, USA, TBS, and the Sci-Fi Channel were showing. I bought whatever versions were available when they had dumped a movie at the ugliest SLP speed on VHS tapes.

I couldn't tell you what company did what dubs, what voices were what, I just know they were dubbed.

Obviously I grew up watching King of the Monsters, Universal's version of King Kong vs Godzilla, and 1985, but other than that, I'm not sure which version of Godzilla vs The Thing, Godzilla vs Monster Zero, Godzilla vs Gigan, Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster, Godzilla vs The Smog Monster/Hedorah (as it constantly changed names), Son of Godzilla, Godzilla's Revenge, Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla, Godzilla vs Megalon, Terror of MechaGodzilla, and Godzilla vs The Sea Monster I watched back then.

I know what most of the covers looked like on the VHS tapes though. Like I did eventually buy a MechaG74 and Gigan 2 pack that was in a box with the 1985 poster while the ones I rented had Godzilla and MG standing on a hill with people running while Gigan had Godzilla and Gigan with the priestess from MechaG on it singing. I never saw Ghidorah available for rent or purchase though, so I ended up recording that one off TNT at one point. Same goes for Revenge, Sea Monster, and Terror of MechaG. Though, one Video Factory did have Terror for rent which was in a box with hand drawn artwork on it (I believe the cover is in my Kaiju poster book).

Megalon had the World Trade Center cover. King Kong vs Godzilla was in a light blue box showing people running from the monsters as they stood over a mountain and it was kind of discolored. The back of the box had them in front of the castle.

I believe the Son of Godzilla VHS I owned was in a yellowy orange box that also featured some hand drawn art, but I could be wrong on that front.

Now I had no idea Destroy All Monsters even existed until the Sci-Fi Channel aired it in 1997. Oh, and I never saw Raids Again until I bought the Region 2 DVD in 2002.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby O.Supreme » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:48 am

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

Postby H-Man » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:13 pm

Ben: There are a few minor dubbed bits that were missing in the TriStar master.



Very inconsequential of course but missing nonetheless.

Kain: We’ll stick to the Showa films, of which there are only four* films that have two dubs (Ebirah thru DAM and Hedorah). The international/export versions of the ‘60s trio were dubbed in Tokyo around the time of those films’ Japanese release, while GvH was dubbed in Hong Kong in ‘71 or thereabouts. After Hedorah, Toho continued sending Godzilla movies to Hong Kong to be dubbed until 2004; none of the Showa films after Hedorah were redubbed in America, although they were often heavily edited. (So consider Megalon: Toho has an uncut international version, dubbed in Hong Kong. It's licensed by the American distributor, which uses the existing dubbed version. But to appease the MPAA and get a G rating, they have to cut quite a bit of content. So you have an "international version," which is unedited, and an "American version" of the same, which is cut to ribbons. Both have the same dubbed audio but aren't quite the same thing. If that makes sense...)

It sounds like you grew up with the most commonly seen versions of each film in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Except for GRA, which you didn’t see until later, you saw/heard American versions of the films from KOTM thru Son of Godzilla (the international versions of Ebirah and SOG weren’t available here until the Sony DVDs). You’ve said you’ve never heard the AIP American release of DAM, so that one’s easy. :P Revenge was dubbed in America and there’s no export version (also easy).

You may have seen and heard both dubbed versions of Hedorah. That was first released here by AIP as “Smog Monster,” which was twice released on video. If the title on the film itself was “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster,” then the version you saw was AIP's. Later, in 1996, Hedorah and DAM were picked up by Sci-Fi: these were the international versions of both.

As said already, the final four Showa Godzillas were only dubbed once each, all in Hong Kong. I know you don't care much for the English versions or anything about them, so I don’t want to inundate you with minor details: I’ll say that, judging from your comment, you saw the edited American theatrical versions of Megalon and TOMG and the uncut international versions of Gigan and MG.

If you’re curious as to how all that translates to this Criterion set: KOTM, KKvG, DAM, and GvMG are all exactly as you saw/heard them as a kid. The dubbed versions of Astro-Monster, Megalon, and TOMG are the same ones you heard then too, but aren’t the same edited versions you grew up with. (IOAM is a unique and somewhat complicated case but let’s just leave it at that.) Hopefully that’s helpful and informative.

*There is probably an international dub for KKvG but its release has never been confirmed, so for the sake of simplicity it’s not really worth mentioning here.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Dr Kain » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:18 pm

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

Postby Benjamin Haines » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:26 pm

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

Postby H-Man » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:30 pm

I think SHM just synced a separate dubbed source to the TriStar footage for that video. The (audio) source is probably the Power Multimedia DVD (a bootleg from, I think, Taiwan).
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Gwangi » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:07 am

Ha! Finally saw a copy of this at one of our B&N.

However, I have the same attitude as O.Supreme. This is not a priority only because A) can't really afford it at this time and B) out of this whole set, I am really basically only interested in two features, "KK vs. G" Japanese version and the blu-ray of "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla". And while it has the discount, paying over $100 for the benefit of two movies, is still asking a lot! I will probably wait until next summer, when they have their next discount, or by some miracle, they will sell these movies separately, but not holding my breath on that.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:16 pm

I watched Terror of Mechagodzilla and it is glorious, the best I've ever seen the movie look. The upgrade in detail from the Toho and Classic Media DVDs is evident. The silvers and bright colors of the alien base really shine, the reds and yellows on Titanosaurus are striking, while the cloudy sky during the third act still tends to look more grey than blue, as this movie has always had a more drab and dreary aesthetic compared to its predecessor.

The English dub sounds good. It does have some noticeable background hiss in a few places but that just gives it that authentic VHS-era sound. For me personally, it's nice to be able to watch this movie dubbed in English without the stock footage prologue or the opening narration from the US TV release. I'm usually not picky about which variant title cards or credits a movie has when I watch it but Terror of Mechagodzilla has a unique opening with the recap of the previous film and the freeze-frame credits, and that's best represented by this widescreen Japanese cut.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby tbeasley » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:57 pm

Thank you, Criterion sale... it's quite impressive to have in hand. For some reason I was thinking it'd be the size of a hardcover trade paperback, but it's more like a thinner coffee table book. The introduction and films notes by Ryfle and Ed G are real nice. Nitpicks aside (not the best set for kids from lack of dubs) what I'm really hoping about this is people giving these films a chance when they wouldn't otherwise, realizing the original isn't the only good one, etc.

Think I'm going to watch up to Astro-Monster before switching over to Ultra Q and Ultraman.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:15 pm

I've watched both versions of King Kong vs. Godzilla on the Criterion discs. Regarding the Japanese cut, I was very surprised by just how darn good it looks! I haven't obtained any of the Japanese TV or BRD rips of this movie that have surfaced online in recent years but I knew that Toho didn't supply Criterion with their most recent 4K restoration, so I was expecting the Japanese version on Criterion's set to look about as disastrous as Toho's DVD that I've had for more than a decade. Instead, there's only a grand total of about a minute or two of footage that has that old upscaled SD look to it, and it's only within the first 15 minutes of the movie. The vast majority of the footage looks quite good, very clear and detailed, with a warm color palette and striking bronze tones. Aside from the aforementioned moments of upscaled SD footage early in the film, the biggest downside to this transfer is how the darkness of the nighttime scenes gives them less visible detail.

This was my first time watching the US version of King Kong vs. Godzilla in about 14 years. The last time was back when Universal released it on DVD in 2005 to coincide with Peter Jackson's film. I never got their 2014 BRD but I understand this transfer they provided to Criterion is identical to that disc. The color palette is much cooler than the Japanese cut, with a lot more visible detail in dark scenes. Conversely, there is quite a bit of minor but consistent print damage on the American cut, giving it more of a grindhouse cinema vibe. Film grain tends to be more visible but it doesn't always amount to an increase in picture detail.

By and large, I think this transfer of the Japanese version has better detail in the daytime and indoor scenes, while this transfer of the American cut has the edge in nighttime scenes. Even then, the extent to which more visible detail in the darkness actually benefits the picture varies throughout. The giant octopus benefits more from the way its red-orange colors really pop in the US version, while Kong looks better in the Japanese version with the stronger contrast of shadows on the suit's face. I think the Japanese cut looks more natural all-around, with daylight scenes that look suitably hot and sunny, while its nighttime scenes look less like evenly-lit soundstages and more like actual night. Neither transfer is perfect but they are both perfectly watchable and I'm psyched to have them both on BRD.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:06 pm

^ Cool! Thanks for confirming for me that the amount of standard definition footage is pretty minimal. I figured that was the case, but I was just about to ask!
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:47 pm

^ The upscaled SD footage is mostly limited to scenes with Mr. Tako and the first scene at the apartments. It's not even entire scenes, just the bits of footage that Toho must not have had in film form when they did this particular restoration. It reminds me of the director's cut of The Wicker Man on DVD except here it's only limited to the first 15 minutes of the movie.

More problematic than the video for either version of King Kong vs. Godzilla is the audio, for both cuts. The stereo sound mix on the Japanese version is wonky, with several lines of dialogue that are either too quiet or completely inaudible, particularly among the dubbed English-speaking actors. The US version sounds like it was mixed like most modern Hollywood action movies where you have to turn the volume way up to hear the dialogue and then turn it way back down for the loud action scenes.

I watched All Monsters Attack and it is freaking gorgeous! This BRD is the best representation to date of what a bright and colorful film this is, from the lush greenery of Monster Island to Gabara's teal skin and red eyes. Picture the clean image of the Classic Media and Toho DVDs but with much better contrast and more vibrant colors, with an HD upgrade that brings out a lot more detail, and you'll have an idea of what a treat you're in for with Criterion's presentation. Some of the stock footage shows a bit of print damage but it mostly looks great too.

Also, I am really digging these coherent subtitle translations for both King Kong vs. Godzilla and All Monsters Attack. When Ichiro dreams of watching Godzilla fight Kumonga, Minilla tells him that Godzilla's atomic breath wasn't strong at first either and it took him a lot of practice.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby GFan » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:07 am

I haven't listened to the Gigan/MG dubs in years, but those audio stutters are super-familiar sounding! Little imperfections that were imbedded in my childhood memory but never noticed until now.

The Toho SFX feature was amazing! I hadn't ever gotten around to getting a bootleg of it, so this is probably my favorite special feature on the set. Seeing so many deleted scenes from Showa-era films was a lot of fun.. especially MvsG!

I still have a lot of films to watch on the set, but am really glad Kraken released 3 of the Sony transfers to BRD. It's a shame they didn't bother licensing SoG & GvsMG at the time... those HD transfers are probably lost forever now.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby lhb412 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:29 pm

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

Postby Benjamin Haines » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:20 pm

^ I haven't seen The Wicker Man on BRD yet. I got back in high school which featured a reconstruction of the extended version using the restored theatrical cut with the additional footage taken from an old video master. It wasn't just new scenes but little bits of footage added to existing scenes, so the quality shifts drastically between shots in certain sequences. The brief bits of upscaled SD footage in the first 15 minutes of King Kong vs. Godzilla reminded me of that.

Also, after looking it up, apparently the BRD of The Wicker Man is a newer "final cut" running 94 minutes, which is partway between the 87-minute theatrical version and the 99-minute extended cut.

With Criterion's Godzilla set selling so well on Amazon (#1 out of all their movie/TV discs on November 2, still at #42 today on November 11), it appears to be a rising tide that's lifting all ships. In addition to WB's Godzilla: King of the Monsters still being at #86 out of all movie/TV discs, Funimation's Shin Godzilla set is currently the #1 seller on Amazon's , as they forgot to put the Criterion set in that category. Kraken's The Return of Godzilla BRD is at #10 in foreign films (how long before that one goes out of print?) with Sony's GvsKG/GvsMothra at #14, GMMG/GFW at #20, Mechagodzilla/Spacegodzilla at #21, G2K at #23 and Destroyer/Megaguirus at #32.
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Benjamin Haines
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Alpha OTS » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:32 pm

Been away from this board for a while and this set brought me back around. Been catching up on this thread in particular going back to July(most notably Jelly's post). Bought the criterion collection last week without knowing all the details assuming at worst it was decent bluray transfers and english subtitles only, but hoping it might be a complete A to Z of Showa G so I could offload some of my movies.

The packaging is alright, but the thing that bothers me most about it is that there's a Heisei G on the cover. It's not an artistic anything, it's Heisei G plain as day. For the criterion collectors and the casuals they'll probably not care nor notice. But it bugs the crap out of me. I don't even mind the Millenium G renditions in the artwork inside, it's just this cover. It's a Showa collection but that's not Showa at all. Meh. Anyway....

Now that I think I'm caught up on the details of this set, it seems that my pre-existing collection isn't going anywhere. I watched three movies(Invasion of Astro Monster, All Monsters Attack, and GvMothra) so far and the transfers are nice. But as I'm going through the set I find out that there's missing dubs, and it's just weird what's available and what's missing thus leading me back here.

I didn't think I'd ever care about what dub was included with what where, but now I'm there and wondering if I have everything. My question is out of all domestic releases dvd and bluray what combination would comprise a complete Showa G collection? Even including commentaries. So obviously the Classic Media set isn't going anywhere. In fact I think my hands around it just tightened. Anyone compile a list yet? I'm wondering if I need to reacquire things I previously gave away(for example Sony's GvHedorah and GvGigan dvds).
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Dr Kain » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:53 pm

It's fanart though. I really don't see what it matters. It looks like Godzilla.
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Re: Godzilla KOTM... from the Criterion Collection!?!?!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:07 pm

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