Following the release of GOJIRA (Godzilla, King of the Monsters, before Raymond Burr was cut in) and it's sequel, Toho made their first color giant monster movie: RODAN(aka Radon, and Rodan ,The Flying Monster).Unlike most creature features of the time RODAN doesn't make you wait 2/3's of the movie for a monster to show up .Meganurons, giant prehistoric dragonfly larva make their appearance rather early in the film.It's this part of the film that's often compared to "Them".However,in RODAN the giant insects are only the set up.In the most memorable scene, when the character comes out of shock, he not only remembers being trapped underground with the Meganurons but also the hatching of a Rodan chick from it's egg.Having the audience already in on the size of the larva provides instant scale, as the hatchling devours the Meganurons.To add to the excitement of the rest of the picture we learn that in fact two Rodans have hatched.
The film is played straight, unlike later entries in what's become known as the Godzilla series.
Although Rodan has appeared in other films, Gidorah,the Three Headed Monster,Godzilla vs Monster Zero(Invasion of the Astro Monsters),and Destroy All Monsters, the look of Rodan was never as good as in this, the original.
Now for the first time Classic Media is presenting this film to American audiences in both it's original 82 min Japanese language version as well the 72 min English language version.
THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS makes it's DVD debut. It's also presented in both the Japanese Version (88 mins.), and English Version (92 mins.).
Special Features: "Bringing Godzilla Down To Size" a new Documentary (68 mins.)
If the quality of the re-mastering and source material remains the same, as it's been, since their Gojira release, in 2006, this should be the best video release of RODAN ever.
on July 25, 2008
Rodan's great, but War of the Gargantuas is the treat here. With all very due respect to the original Godzilla and King Kong, I'm just going to throw out there that there is no better giant monster movie than WOTG. I've seen it many times since it gave me nightmares the first time I saw it when I was 5 or so, and it's still nearly perfect. At least in the American version, there are almost no slow spots, some genuine terror and horror, and the monsters are onscreen for an amazing amount of time. Of course there's no putting a movie like this together without some cheeziness, but even that fits perfectly with it being a sixties film.
It's all in there: an almost funnily disinterested performance by Russ Tamblyn (looking a little unenthused and questioning whether he should have taken this gig) as the lead scientist, his babe-aliciuos assistant Kumi Mizuno, the chick lounge singer crooning, Gargantua vs octopus, Gargantua vs military (including masers), Gargantua vs Gargantua, Gargantuas vs city, a volcano... it's got it all. Of course the music is awesome, and I can't believe I'm going to see it in a wider screen view than I ever have. Can't wait!
RODAN and THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS are two of Toho's best giant monster films, and both were subjected to awkward and unnecessary Americanization jobs. With this welcome release, USA fans can now easily and cheaply make their comparisons, as Japanese and USA versions of both films are generously included.
GARGANTUAS is especially long-awaited, but, sadly, Classic Media's transfer of the Toho version is a letdown. Toho's print has always been darker, with less-saturated color than the UPA (not AIP!) print. This transfer, however, is WAY too dark, and not terribly sharp; in the scenes with Gailah vs. the military, he often looks like little more than a shadow...just awful! No, my TV settings are not to blame- this transfer is plain inferior to Toho's Laserdisc and DVD releases, which is odd when you consider how many nice DVDs of the Godzilla titles have been released by Classic Media. All the more unfortunate is that the Japanese version of GARGANTUAS works much better as a movie than the English-dubbed one. That version LOOKS much better on this DVD, but its problems are well-known and numerous. Said problems are probably the fault of the late and notoriously clueless producer, Henry Saperstein...I can just envision him looking at the rushes, smoking a huge cigar, and saying, "Don't look like no Frankenstein to me!". So, the Frankenstein references are gone, along with much of the integrity of the screenplay. Gone, also, is much of Ifukube's fine score. (replaced by stupid library music, and even by Ifukube music from previous films: why?) Add to this some ill-advised editing, and Russ Tamblyn instead of Nick Adams...Tamblyn is clearly about half past give-a-damn throughout, though his presence may not be all UPA's fault. Bottom line: this kaiju classic was nearly ruined by gaijin interference. Still, this is the version that most USA fans fondly remember, and the monster mayhem and great Toho cast make GARGANTUAS pretty tough to dislike, so it's good to finally have it.
Both versions of RODAN are fine, and the Japanese print looks great. The USA version has been released before, has many of the same issues as GARGANTUAS, but isn't nearly as painful to watch, apart from the absurd stock footage and narration. I've always been fond of RODAN.
No trailers, galleries or commentaries are included here, which doesn't bother me that much. What is included is the outstanding documentary, BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE...no, it doesn't sing the praises of GODZILLA VS. MEGALON and the like, and that clearly irks some fans, but it does pay attention to several lesser-known (but still significant) Toho FX craftsmen. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
All things considered, a flawed but still worthwhile release for Kaiju fans, especially at this bargain price.
I have been waiting for 'War of the Gargantuas' to be released on DVD for many years. I had not seen this film in 30 years and I have to say the wait was worth it! The U.S. film print here looks very good and the film is more fun than I remembered. Even better is the inclusion of the original Japanese release. Unfortunately, the Japanese print is dark and not very crisp, but since my concern was for the film I grew up with, this is acceptable to me. The Japanese version is nice to see for curiosity, but I don't see me watching it more than once or twice.
Now about the film, if your a fan of Godzilla type films (ToHo), I really don't need to point out that these films are not meant to be taken too seriously....at least in America! This film is a hoot and the FX are actually pretty good for the most part. The scene with the green "Gargantua" attacking the airport is a stand out!
This film was a quasi-sequel to 'Frankenstein Conquers The World', but all references to the first film were removed when release in the U.S. 'Sanda VS Gailah Frankenstein's Monsters' (the original Japanese title) has never looked so good!
'Rodan' which is featured on the first disc in this 2 disc set is another good film from the studio, but unfortunately, my copy would not play, so I sent for a replacement, it wouldn't play either!?? I am surprised I am the only reviewer who has experienced this problem...or at least mentioned it. The 'Rodan' disc has a new documentary on it, which is very interesting with tons of obscure photos and insight. Happy "Shocktober" to all my horror buddies! from yours truly Dr. Shock!
I sent for another replacement many months later and finally received a Rodan disc that works perfectly. It appears the problem discs have been corrected.
***End Of Update***
on October 2, 2013
The only version of "Rodan" that I ever saw was from my youth when it first came out. The Japanese original "Radan" is as different as night and day. For one is the explanation of what the insect creatures are. Also the back ground over Goro's fight and the reason some of the villagers believe he is a murder. A whole scenario along with others cut by the English language version along with the addition of Atom Bombs scenes at the beginning.
Showing a bigger difference between the English cut and the Japanese original is "War of the Gargantuas". Warning: the subtitles are not the correct translation of the Japanese script and there are references at times to Gargantuas which were never there and somehow for a film made in the 1960's Global Warming.
The original title of the film, which also is not used for the Japanese translation, was "Frankenstein's Monster's" Sanda vs Gaira". This film In its Japanese version is a direct sequel to "Frankenstein vs Baragon" aka: "Frankenstein Conquers the World". The two kaiju Sanda and Gaira are suppose to be the results of the cells taken from the severed hand of the Frankenstein boy. References to their relationship are in the English subtitles, but the direct tie to the hand is missing. Another example as with the same company's translation of "Radan" were errors are made.
However, these are two of Ishiro Honda's better works and to find them re-mastered is outstanding.
on July 27, 2008
Classic Media's RODAN/WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS collection will also include an all-new documentary entitled BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE.
Running 68 minutes, BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE goes behind the scenes of a filmmaking style that remains firmly rooted in the past even as special effects leap into the future. From the original GOJIRA (1954) through 50-plus years of sequels, spin-offs and imitations, this original documentary tells the story of the genre's creation and evolution via exclusive interviews with filmmakers, special-effects artists, actors and monster stuntmen.
Featuring Akira Takarada, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Shogo Tomiyama, Haruo Nakajima, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Tsutomu "Tom" Kitagawa, Shusuke Kaneko, Teruyoshi Nakano, Akira Tsuburaya, Ryuji Honda, Shinichi Wakasa, Yasuyuki Inoue, Toshiro Aoki, Akinori Takagi, Toshio Miike, Shiro Sano, and narrated by self-proclaimed Godzilla fan Alex Cox (director of REPO MAN, SID & NANCY), the film celebrates the artistry behind the world of Japanese monsters and ponders the future of Godzilla and his city-smashing analog brethren in the digital age.
The website SciFi Japan has an exclusive first look at BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE, packed with photos and information on this great bonus feature for the upcoming Classic Media DVDs.
on May 20, 2016
A mystery of sorts, who killed miner Yoshi? At first the blame is placed on another miner, missing in the mine. But when three more men die in much the same manner, concern shifts. What or who could possibly be murdering people and why. Then a giant dragonfly larvae (Meganulon) shows up in the village, hungry. Mass hysteria and angry men with guns soon sends the poor larvae fleeing for its life........back into the mine. When a UFO shows up, people wonder if there’s a connection.
This, is the auspicious entrance of Rodan into film history. This was before that big bully Godzilla began to take his frustrations out on the poor misunderstood birdie (of a sort). Sadly, this was the only time he was the star of a movie. Later, Rodan became just a bit player.
The second feature is War of the Gargantuas, the sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World. This movie features two giants, quasi-brothers, clones of a sort. One is an insatiable people eater; the other is a friendly guy who is never shown eating anything or anyone. Naturally, people take exception to these giants roaming around, especially the one who can’t stop popping people into his gaping maw. So they shoot at them and try to fricassee them with electrics. It’s very flashy and fun, sparks fly but no one fries.
on May 3, 2016
Clearly an excellent deal if at all interested in these two well-liked classic monster flicks. Rodan has long been a favorite, and even more so after having revisited it. While later variants of Rodan were tied to Godzilla films and generally ranged widely in degrees of (entertaining) silliness, the original was a serious, relatively well-crafted drama.
War of the Gargantuas is one of the better classic monster movies in terms of monster action. There is a lot of it and it comes off more believably than many others. You might think that being simply humanoid monsters that the suit actors would look like the humans they are, rampaging around scale cities. But the end result is quite the opposite. Russ Tamblyn is a part of the overall cast to some entertaining effect along with Kumi Mizuno, though there isn't the same chemistry that Nick Adams famously shared with her in Monster Zero.
Each movie gets a dvd to itself and with both the English and Japanese language variants. It is very easy to recommend this dvd offering.
on June 7, 2016
Wow!!! What a treat I purchased this mainly for " War of the Gargantuans" But thoroughly enjoyed " Rodan" & the special features about Japanese special effects. I was a big fan of the Japanese giant Monster movies as a kid! They were like Monster All Star Wrestling matches l.o.l.!!! Now at age 50 I am appreciating the art of the Japanese style special effects. The Japanese & Chinese have a style of their own in movie making whether your watching the old classics on Kung-Fu Theater or the Giant Monster movies...they have a pride & style that is so unique to their culture that it is very admirable!!! This is also reflected in their stunt men & what they go through to make a film! These old monster films may not have mass appeal but for those who found them endearing as a kid its certainly worth the price to revisit your youth with older eye's & appreciate these old classics on a whole new level!
on February 2, 2015
Interesting dvd's. The War of the Gargantuas American release looks and sounds beautiful. But the Japanese version looks and sounds horrible, which It don't understand. With Rodan, the American version looks terrible, but the Japanese version looks fine, not great, but ok. However neither are wide screen, perhaps this film was not released in a wide screen aspect ratio, I don't know, but it feels cropped to me. The real prize with this purchase if the documentary; Bringing Godzilla Down to Size", which is awesome and worth the price of this package alone.