Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla (Gojira vs Supesugojira) (1994)

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Released 29-Jan-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Teaser Trailer-x 4
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Gallery-Photo
Gallery-Poster
Trailer-Madman Trailers
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 103:26
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kensho Yamashita
Studio
Distributor
Toho Company
Madman Entertainment
Starring Megumi Odaka
Jun Hashizume
Zenkichi Yoneyama
Akira Emoto
Towako Yoshikawa
Yôsuke Saitô
Kenji Sahara
Akira Nakao
Kôichi Ueda
Houka Kinoshita
Keiko Imamura
Sayaka Osawa
Kenpachiro Satsuma
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI ? Music Takayuki Hattori


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The UN-established National G Countermeasure Centre has two contrasting views about how to deal with Godzilla. The first is to continue trying to destroy him by building ever more powerful fighting machines, the latest of which is called Mogera (Mobile Operation Godzilla Expert Robot Aero-type). The second is to use psychic powers through telepathy to control Godzilla. The proponents of this alternative are scientists Dr Susumu Okubo (Yosuke Saito) and Dr Chinatsu Gondo (Towako Yoshikawa), who enlist the support of psychic Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka). Knowing that sooner or later Godzilla will come to the island where baby Godzilla is being kept, they join G-Force members Koji Shinjo (Jun Hashizume), Kiyo Sato (Zenkichi Yoneyama) and Akita Yuki (Akira Emoto) on the island, unaware that Yuki intends to kill Godzilla. When Godzilla approaches, the plan to implant the telepathy-enhancing device on his neck works, although the results are not as successful as the scientists would like, so the plan is aborted and the scientists return to Tokyo.

     At the end of Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Mothra had flown off into space, unaware that she was carrying some cells of both Godzilla and Biollante. In space, these cells have mutated and created a powerful, part-crystalline monster that will be called Spacegodzilla. That monster now returns to kill Godzilla and therefore leave the Earth vulnerable to conquest. Mogera is sent to intercept Spacegodzilla in space but is defeated. Arriving on the island, Spacegodzilla incarcerates baby Godzilla in a crystalline prison and gets the better of Godzilla before flying off. Then Miki is abducted by Okubo and the Japanese Mafia and taken to Japan because they want to harness her psychic powers to control Godzilla for their own ends. She is rescued by Yuki, Koji and Kiyo just in time for the three to pilot the repaired Mogera in the climactic three-way battle in Fukuoka city. What is the greatest menace to the world: Godzilla or Spacegodzilla?

     Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla (Gojira tai Supesugojira) from 1994 has received a fair bit of criticism, which I think is unjustified, for it is another strong Godzilla film that perhaps should not work as well as it does. First-time director Kensho Yamashita does a good job. His only previous Godzilla experience was as assistant director to the legendary Godzilla director Ishiro Honda on Terror of Mechagodzilla in 1975 – time it seems that was well spent. Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla also had a first-time composer in Takayuki Hattori, and if it is unfair to compare him to the wonderful Akira Ifukube he also does a reasonable job. As monster films depend very much upon the special effects, Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla is fortunate to have retained production designer Tetsuzo Osawa, as the effects work here is exceptional. Including a combination of models, men in suits, plus early CGI, the effects are exciting, explosive, colourful and convincing. The last 40 minutes of the film are simply spectacular. Atomic breath, lasers and cannons all blast away amid the city buildings. Urban structures crumble and crystal stakes shatter as the monsters confront Mogera. With Yuki, Koji and Kiyo at the controls, Mogera transforms into a succession of different fighting machines (above the ground and under it) in an attempt to get the upper hand. And although baby Godzilla simply looks silly, Spacegodzilla, all vibrant white crystal and flaming breath, looks wonderful.

     Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla also takes time to set up the human actors; the film benefits from their improved performances. Akira Emoto as Yuki is good, Megumi Odaka as the psychic Miki Saegusa has quite an expanded role, and Jun Hashizume as Koji is a better than usual Godzilla hero. The plot is also fairly straightforward, if one excludes the pointless Miki kidnapping subplot that goes nowhere.

     Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla may not be in the same class as Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (II) from the year before or Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah from 1991, but those two were fantastic and very hard acts to follow. Yet, Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla is another strong, entertaining Godzilla film featuring a space-cloned version of Godzilla, more robot fighting machines, exciting battles, big explosions, and more wanton destruction of buildings. It is a lot of fun.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, close to the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a great-looking print. While some back projection scenes and CGI shots are not quite as sharp as the rest, especially in wide views, the rest of the film looks very sharp indeed. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness, contrast and skin tones are good and the colours warm and natural, especially on the island where some of the sunsets are spectacular. The pyrotechnics look wonderful and the creatures, especially Spacegodzilla, are great. There is mild grain but I did not notice any film or film to video artefacts.

     The subtitling is a mixed bag. English subtitles are in a yellow font. They follow the action well and have no obvious spelling or grammatical errors. The English subtitles remain active on some occasions when English is spoken, repeating the words on the screen. However, on other occasions when English is spoken (quite a few times), white burnt-in Japanese subtitles appear. Sometime both white Japanese and yellow English subtitles run across each other, making them hard to read. The location of the action is also often provided in white Japanese script but is not translated. This is not a huge problem as the locations are fairly obvious.

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 at 448 Kbps, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps and English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 224 Kbps. The 5.1 is very good. Dialogue was clear, it has separation and reasonable clarity. The surrounds are used for music and effects, but I heard no panning effects, and the subwoofer supported the music, explosions and the thump and crash as monsters fell to the ground. While not as good as more recent films, this has a good enveloping feel that supports the on-screen action.

    The Japanese 2.0 is surround encoded and sounds quite flat by comparison. In fact, the English 2.0 surprisingly sounded sharper and is available if you simply cannot read subtitles.

     The score by Takayuki Hattori did a good job of supporting the on-screen action.

     Lip synchronisation was good.

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

Extras

Original Trailers

     Included are 4 Teaser Trailers (total 2:32), the original Theatrical Trailer (1:36) and a TV Spot (0:16).

Stills Gallery

     30 movie stills.

Poster Gallery

     5 Japanese film posters.

Madman Trailers

     Trailers for other films from Madman: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (2:26), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1:45) and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (II) (1:43).

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 2 Japanese version has an audio commentary by director Kensho Yamashita, a “Making of” featurette, multi-angles, teaser trailer, trailer and TV spot. However, the feature, featurettes and commentary do not have English subtitles.

     The US Region 1 disc and various Region 2 releases have only 2.0 audio and no extras.

     Region 4 is the pick for English speakers.

Summary

     Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla is another strong, entertaining Godzilla film featuring a space-cloned version of Godzilla, more robot fighting machines, exciting clashes, big explosions, and more destruction of buildings. Quite fun, really.

     The film is presented on a DVD with excellent video and audio but minimal extras.

     Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla is included in the Madman five-disc box set Godzilla Heisei Series, along with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Godzilla vs. Mothra: Battle for Earth (1992), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (II) (1993) and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). For a RPI of $49.95 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)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def 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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