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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Destroy All Monsters
Destroy All Monsters
ADV Films // G // May 18, 2004
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted May 20, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Some people dream of world peace. Others yearn for all the races to live in harmony.   My desire is not so lofty:  All I want is for someone to release a set of all the original Godzilla films (and other Japanese giant monster movies) on DVD in their original aspect ratios and with original language soundtracks.  It doesn't sound like I'm asking for much, but so far not one of the original movies has been released the way the creators originally intended it to be seen.

That's why I was so excited when I first heard that ADV was releasing a 25th anniversary 2-disc special edition of Destroy all Monsters.  Would this have a widescreen anamorphic transfer?  A Japanese language soundtrack?  An entire DVD of extras?!?  Alas, no.  It would have none of these things.  This 'special edition' is merely their previously released version of the movie repackaged along with the soundtrack (also previously released.)  What a disappointment.

Even without the original language, this is still a fun movie.  In the year 1999, all of the monsters in the world have been relocated to Monsterland (referred to as Monster Island in the other movies.)   They are kept on the island by the latest technology so that they can live in peace and not become a menace to mankind.

That is a situation that isn't going to last for long.  Aliens from the planet Keelac kidnap all the monsters and implant sonic control devises inside them.  The aliens then launch and all out attack on the Earth with these ferocious beasts.  Can the Earth stand up to the combined might of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Angilas, Minya, Spiega, Baragon, Gorosaurus, Manda, and Varan?  And what nefarious plans do the aliens have for King Ghidorah?

This isn't the best classic G! movie, but it is good fun.  The aliens are hokey, wearing metallic gray matching uniforms and having deadpan looks on their faces, but that is to be expected.  This movie's strong point is the action, and there is plenty of it.  The monsters are captured right away, and they start attacking cities around the world before you know it.  After the initial attacks, the action pauses a bit for some plot development, but the movie doesn't dwell on that for too long.  There is a subpplot involving a group of people who use a rocket to try to attack the aliens in their base on the moon.  Parts of this went on for too long, especially unending footage of the rocket taking off, landing, or manuvering.  This really felt like padding, and it probably was.

Of course, that battle at the end is a great scene, with several of the monsters working together.  Ghidorah is one of my favorite Toho monsters, and he has a good amount of screen time in this ultimate battle.  Overall, a fun romp with just about all of Toho's great collection of monsters.
 


The DVD:



Audio:

The two channel mono soundtrack is adequate at best.  The dubbing job is particularly bad, especially for the minor characters, which are laughably bad.  There wasn't any distortion or hiss, but the audio was rather thin and lacked force.  The monster howls and explosions sounded really weak.

Video:

I wasn't impressed with the widescreen video at all.  First off the print wasn't that great.  The colors were muted a little, and there were a lot of scratches and dirt on the print.  The image was soft, and there wasn't a great deal of contrast.  Many of the outer space scenes the body of the rocket would disappear into the black background.  Things were hard to see in the night scenes too.  There were a large number of digital artifacts too.  There was significant aliasing, and a good deal of cross coloration throughout the movie.  Not a high quality transfer.
 


Ther was a lot of cross coloration on this DVD

The Extras:

The DVD itself had absolutely no extras.  No trailers, no DVD credits, no chapter stops, not even a menu!  You just pop the disc in and it plays.  This is the most bare bones disc I've ever seen.  I can't believe the nerve of calling this a special edition.

This is a two-disc set; with the second disc being a CD soundtrack.  It's okay if you enjoy listening to instrumental music.  The musicians are talented, but the music itself doesn't do much for me.

Final Thoughts:

ADV really surprised me with this DVD.  When I heard they were releasing a SE version of Destroy all Monsters I never imagined they would use the same substandard transfer that they used for their first release of the film.  They could have at least added chapter stops and a menu.  The movie is quite enjoyable, but the poor print and many digital artifacts makes this movie a rental.
 

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