Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla III (Gojira tai Mekagojira III) (2002)

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Released 8-May-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 6
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 88:14
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Masâki Tezuka
Studio
Distributor
Toho Company
Madman Entertainment
Starring Yumiko Shaku
Shin Takuma
Kana Onodera
Koh Takasugi
Yûsuke Tomoi
Jun'ichi Mizuno
Akira Nakao
Kumi Mizuno
Takeo Nakahara
Yoshikazu Kanou
Kôichi Ueda
Akira Shirai
Midori Hagio
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Michiru Oshima


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after final credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Japan 1999; while a typhoon is raging a new Godzilla comes ashore for the first time since 1954. The weapons of the military prove unable to stop the monster and tragedy strikes as the actions of female soldier Akane Yashiro (Yumiko Shaku) inadvertently cause the death of some of her comrades. After Godzilla returns to sea, the government brings together a group of scientists, including sole parent and cloning expert Tokumitsu Yuhara (Shin Takuma), to produce the ultimate anti-monster weapon. The skeleton of the 1954 Godzilla has been discovered on the seabed and using DNA extracted from the bones the scientists create a robot Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, with a wide range of weaponry including rockets and a type of “freeze” gun. Akane is selected to join the military team controlling Mechagodzilla although one member of the team is hostile, blaming her for the death of his brother.

     In 2003, just as Mechagodzilla is ready, Godzilla approaches Japan, and the weapon is deployed. They fight, and Mechagodzilla is holding its own until a cry from Godzilla triggers a repressed memory in Mechagodzilla so that the military loses control of the robot and it goes on a rampage of its own destroying buildings. Godzilla retreats and the scientists retrieve Mechagodzilla after its power source runs down and start to make modifications. When Godzilla returns, the stage is set for a massive confrontation although questions still remain about Mechagodzilla’s readiness.

     Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (Japanese title Gojira tai Mekagojira) is the third Godzilla film of that name, after others in 1974 and 1993, although this film bares no relationship to the earlier films. Indeed, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III again, as is normal with this Millennium Godzilla series of films, ignores the existence of the two dozen or so Godzilla films that followed the first in 1954, even those earlier in this Millennium series. A reference is made in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III to a couple of other monsters including Mothra attacking Japan, but it is stated that this is the first time Godzilla has been seen since 1954.

     Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is directed by Masaaki Tezuka; this is his second involvement in a Godzilla film after Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000) and he would go on the next year to direct Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.. The screenplay for Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is by Wataru Mimura, who was involved in 4 of the 6 films in this Millennium series, so is responsible for the less than involving human characters in this one and the others. Indeed, the script for Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is basically the same script he wrote for Godzilla vs Megaguirus two years before; Godzilla attacks Japan and a female soldier’s actions cause the death of other soldiers, the weapons of the military cannot defeat Godzilla so scientists come up with a wonder weapon, use of said weapon has unforeseen consequences, woman soldier saves the day. In addition Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III piles on more clichés; a soldier on the team who has a grudge against the female soldier, a romance of sorts and a very cute kid who is knowledgeable beyond her years.

     Between the creature sequences, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is lame, predictable and clichéd. However, the creature action in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is great fun. The effects are from special effects director Yuichi Kikuchi; this is his second, and last, Godzilla film after the excellent action in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) and he continues to use more pyrotechnics than actual claw to claw creature action, but it works well and certainly looks colourful, explosive and spectacular. While there seems to be more CGI in this Godzilla film than others, the majority of the scenes with the creatures still involve men in suits and models and so look quaint, which is part of the appeal of Godzilla films.

     After Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, which concentrated upon the characters and the search for Godzilla rather than creature action, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is a return to the more usual Godzilla films where the humans come a long way second to the creatures. Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III starts with an excellent pre-credit sequence as Godzilla attacks Japan during a typhoon where the visuals of heavy rain, fire and explosions are matched with the aggressive audio of wind, gun and rocket fire, the creature screams and thud of Godzilla’s feet. Sadly, the next 25 minutes are pedestrian, and the film really only picks up again when the monster returns. However, when that happens the fights are colourful, loud and explosive, which may be enough for fans.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a great looking print. Detail is sharp and crisp, colours deep and natural. Some sequences, such as the fight in the typhoon or the creature fights in the city, are beautiful to look at with the deep black background, the lights of the city, the brightness of the flames, Godzilla’s breath and explosions showing to good effect. Indeed, blacks throughout the film are excellent, shadow detail great, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

     There was occasional minor noise reduction in some night scenes but otherwise the print was without artefacts.

    Subtitles in American English are in a yellow font and seemed error free.

    The video is spectacular.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice between Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 or English Dolby Digital 5.1, both at 448 Kbps.

     I listened to the Japanese audio and sampled the English. Effects in both were similar although the English audio was recorded at a slightly lower level. However the English voice acting, especially for the young child Sara, was indifferent.

     Dialogue was clear. The surrounds had nice separation and are used very aggressively right from the start with weather effects, music, engines, weapons, explosions and creature screams, while the rears were utilised for a number of panning effects such as helicopters. The sub-woofer gave great support to the music, the explosions, the destruction of buildings and especially the thump and rumble of Godzilla’s feet.

     The score by Michiru Oshama was stirring and martial, suiting the creature action.

     Lip synchronisation was good in the Japanese audio track but very approximate in the English dub.

     A loud, aggressive and effective audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (0:44)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for Eastern Eye Promo Reel (2:21), Godzilla 2000 (1:04), Seven Samurai (3:56), Gojira (2:51), Arahan (2:31) and Sanjuro (2:32).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are stand-alone versions of Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III in Region 2 Japan (no English subtitles) and Region 1 US; no extras are listed. While there have been various box sets of Godzilla films released, there is no equivalent of our complete “Millennium Series” collection elsewhere as most box sets include a mix from the various Godzilla series.

     Region 4 is the pick for English speakers.

Summary

     Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III, the fourth in the Godzilla Millennium series, has some spectacular creature action but between these sequences, the human plot is lame, clichéd and predictable.

     The video and audio are excellent; trailers are the only extras, but nothing more is available elsewhere.

     Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla III is included in the Madman 6 disc box set Godzilla Millennium Series along with Godzilla 2000 (1999), Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). For a RPI of $39.95 the box set is still a fabulous way to stay in touch with “the original monster of mass destruction” during his later reincarnations.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, August 26, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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