In Honor of Godzilla’s 60 Years, Toho Releases New Double Feature Blu-ray Sets

by Trey Hock on May 6, 2014

in Blu-ray/DVD Reviews,Reviews

Today, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the original Gojira and in anticipation of Godzilla, Toho Studios releases 8 of its Godzilla films in two disc Blu-ray sets.

Each of these double feature sets boast a new high definition digital transfer of films released from 1991 to 2004.

The sets are as follows:

Godzilla vs. King Ghodorah (1991) and Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)

Most fans will want to pick up this set because of the King. King Ghidorah, Godzilla’s three-headed nemesis, is easily one of the most recognizable of Godzilla’s opponents. A clear bad guy, Gidorah is almost always under alien control and Godzilla defends the earth against this alien monster.

Though I appreciate Godzilla vs. King Gidorah I was invested in this set for Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth. Mothra had always been my favorite. Perhaps it is this monsters protection of the Earth and ambivalence to humans, but something speaks to me. Maybe I just love giant deadly moths. Luckily with the introduction of Battra, the evil Mothra, we get a double down on aerial moth battles. The battle in Osaka scene is worth the price or the Blu-ray by itself.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) and Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)

These two films are something of a tossup.

If you’re into Mechagodzilla and Rodan, then you should check out Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. It is always reassuring that no matter the size of the mech humans build, it’s rarely a match for Godzilla and his allies. The super radioactive Rodan, which upgrades Godzilla to red radioactive fire, is an exciting touch.

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla introduces a villain created deep in the bowels of space from Godzilla’s own cells. SpaceGodzilla decides to feed on Earth’s energy sources, and since Mothra is out of the picture, Godzilla must step up as Earth’s defender. In this battle, humans join forces with Godzilla. Moguera, a transformable robot driven by the Japan Self Defense Force, makes a fun addition to the SpaceGodzilla battle scenes. If that doesn’t grab you, then maybe the giant monster eye-gouging will.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)

This set is something of a mixed bag. While Godzila vs. Megaguirus is a contrived slog, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is perhaps the best of the later kaiju films.
In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla, aglow with radioactive powers, is suffering an atomic meltdown. As the JSDF rushes to contain Godzilla, it is discovered that the oxygen destroyer, which killed the original Godzilla in 1954, created a mutant of its own. Destructive crab like creatures named Destoroyah, begin to wreak havoc on the city. The continued consequences for every human response to nature’s adaptation are an elegant throw back to the film that spawned the franchise.

In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, and new weapon opens a dimensional rift, through which emerges a giant deadly dragonfly. It deposits an egg and high tails it back to its own dimension. The egg eventually hatches and the other dimensional creatures run amok. For every solid entry into the Godzilla pantheon, there are a couple of films like Godzilla vs. Gigan. This is that film.

Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) and Godzilla Final Wars (2004)

If you’re looking for a glorious showcase of your favorite monsters from the Godzilla universe, then this is your set. It is also the only set that offers special features beyond the theatrical trailers. Each film gets a short making-of featurette.

Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S. is the better of the two films and features a new Mechagodzilla crafted in part from the bones of a fallen Godzilla. Driven by its psychic pilot, the new Mechagodzilla, Kiryu, explores the ethics behind creating this cyborg to attack one of its own kind. A fascinating film that adds depth to the monster characters Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S. is definitely worth checking out.

The last of the Toho Godzilla films, Godzilla Final Wars is an anime inspired showcase that pits Godzilla against each of its previous foes. The scene where Godzilla dispatches Zilla, the American Godzilla, is worth the film. The plot is convoluted, but this film isn’t about that. It’s a graduation ceremony and fond farewell to a Toho icon and all of the characters that surround them.

As with most kaiju films released in the states, these Blu-rays come with a disappointing lack of special features. Most only include the theatrical trailer, but if you’re a kaiju fan or even a recent convert because of films like Pacific Rim you’ll still want to check these out for the 1080p transfer, and DTS-HD sound.

In addition to contributing to Scene-Stealers, Trey makes short films and teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute. Follow him here:

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