King Kong vs. Godzilla [Blu-ray]
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I am addressing a complaint that I've seen in many other reviews, and one that I have myself: the lack of the Japanese (and, arguably, superior) version of this film. We've gotten spoiled by Sony and other distributors who've put both versions of the Godzilla films on their BluRay releases. The problem with doing that with this film, simply put, is a rights issue. Universal has the exclusive rights to the American version, Toho has exclusive rights to the Japanese version. As far as I understand it, this agreement is perpetual. The agreement also provides that neither studio can sell their version in the other studio's territory/market.
Therefore, fellow fans, the unfortunate truth is you will never see the Japanese version of "King Kong vs Godzilla" for sale in the USA (at least legitimately). You'll have to purchase the Japanese version directly from Japan, and then play it in an all region/region free BluRay player. That's a familiar situation for the longtime Godzilla fan, myself included, who haunted science fiction or comic conventions in order to purchase Japanese VHS tapes, and eventually DVDs, of Godzilla films long before they were ever made available through American companies. You'll have to decide for yourself if that's worth doing in this case.
The only thing I wish is for a similar quality version of the Japanese cut. I have one that's pretty good, quality wise, and I love it too, but I'd sure like another of Blu Ray caliber. Get this if you love a good time.
The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because you're only getting the American version. Just like the original Godzilla King of the Monsters (Japanese version: Gojira) and Godzilla 1985 (Japanese version: The Return of Godzilla), King Kong vs. Godzilla has a lot of extra scenes filmed and added into the American version. So many that they usually delete some of the original Japanses scenes to make room for the American scenes. You watch Gojira and The Return of Godzilla and there's about 30 - 40 minutes of scenes you didn't get in the American version. I would have liked to have seen the Japanese version included in this Blu-ray.
However, entertaining as it undoubtedly is, this American version cheapens the Japanese version with its languidly portentous American-inserted scenes in a movie which was, by the way, intended as a comedy from the get-to, and as a result remains to this day the most-attended Godzilla film of them all.
Having said that, this version is in beautiful color (Hajime Koizumi was the Japanese cinematographer) and the effects are a something of a hit-and-miss affair. Simply put, Godzilla fans tend to love it but Kong fans, well...
Certainly director Ishiro Honda had mixed feelings about making the film and it shows in his direction, uncomfortably balancing between silly comedy and tragic drama.
Some special features would have been nice (documentary, commentary, etc.), but it's hard to pass up the first movie teaming the most famous fearsome monsters of all time (both making their cinematic debuts in color) and is a must-have for the collector.
- Peter H. Brothers, author of "Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: the Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great and fun popcorn flick but my only problem is that there is no home menu for this blu ray.Published 25 days ago by MasterSnorunt
I don't know what the "Typical Godzilla fan" really is.... but I fell in love with the big lizard when I was 5 years old. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Average Joe
This movie came about when John Beck went behind Willis O’Brien’s back and sold O’Brien’s idea of a battle between King Kong and Prometheus. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Einsatz
King Kong is hanging around an island with these natives. This island is special because it is the only place where these little red berries that have special powers grow. Read morePublished 4 months ago by baker
Looks very grainy. There's only a terrible English dubbed version. There are no extras and no top menu - it plays right to the ugly looking movie. Read morePublished 5 months ago by David SM
Enjoyed watching this movie very much, it was a lot of fun to watch this old movie which played very well in my Blu-ray player, I found no problems with this blue-ray disc what so... Read morePublished 6 months ago by HHA
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