Note: I'm reviewing the
Special Edition version of
this movie, which has never been officially released by Media Blasters. It's hard to find, but worth the search.
Back in 2011 Media Blasters acquired the rights to a couple
of Godzilla films from Toho Studios and started preparing deluxe
editions of Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla
Vs. Megalon. They arranged some nice
extras for each film
including commentary tracks, featurettes and extensive still galleries. Sounds great, right? They
mastered both releases, pressed a bunch
of copies and put out Destroy All
Monsters first. Unfortunately, Media
Blasters did not clear the rights to the stills that they included. Still images have copyrights too, and when
Toho found out that they were not pleased.
They told Media Blasters to pull all of the copies of Destroy All Monsters with unauthorized
images. Some got out and they're a
But what about Godzilla
Vs. Megalon? They had the disc all
ready to go. They had no choice but to
delay the release. They went back and
wiped ALL of the extras off the disc (including the ones that didn't
anyone's copyright), remaster it, and then put it out.
And that's what people have been able to
purchase since last August, a bare bones copy of the movie.
Fast forward to October, 2012. Some lucky
fan bought a copy for GVM, popped
it into his player and discovered that he received the disc as it was
originally intended, extras, unauthorized stills, and all.
It was posted and soon others started
reporting that they too were able to buy a copy of the movie that
extras. It is hit or miss... some people
were able to get the SE version of the film from one retailer (or
while others purchasing at about the same time received the bare bones
edition. To make it harder, there is
absolutely no way to tell which version you're holding unless you open
and pop it into a DVD player.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy of the SE,
and that is what's being reviewed here.
Godzilla Vs. Megalon has a rather poor reputation among
Godzilla fans. The movie is goofy,
silly, and the plot is advanced by random events that just sort of
no real good reason. The story doesn't
make much sense either. But I happen to
love it. It's pure escapist fun. Bright colors, huge monsters, Godzilla
whacking the crap out of his enemy with a tree... what else could you
want? I remember seeing the movie when I
young and I ate it all up. (In my defense, I realized a lot of the plot
were silly even then. I just didn't
The underground kingdom of Seatroplis has been devastated by
the testing of atomic bombs that the 'surface dwellers' have done and
had enough. The leader of Seatropolis
decides to send their god, the giant monster Megalon, to the surface to
all of the people living there. Before
he can to that however, he needs a flying robot so he can guide his
As luck would have it, an inventor named Goro has just
completed his robot prototype named Jet Jaguar.
Seatropolis agents attack the inventor and (eventually) manage
capture the robot. Megalon is then sent
to the surface and Jet Jaguar leads him to a dam, which he destroys.
Goro, with the help of his nephew Rokuro and his friend
Hiroshi, manage to retake control of Jet Jaguar however, and send him
off to Monster
Island to get
Godzilla. When Seatropolis discovers that
coming, they contact Nebula M and ask for assistance, and the monster
sent to help them. When Jet Jaguar
that it's two against one, he programs himself to grow to monster-size
joins in on Godzilla's side. All that's
left is a titanic struggle between for mega-sized creatures to
fate of the Earth.
Yeas, this film was made on the cheap. Eiji
Tsuburaya who did the special effects on
the earlier films had passed away and in addition the budget was very
small. To cover these two holes a lot of
footage from other movies is recycled which gives the film a cheap feel
it. That's the main reason that this is
often listed as one of the worst Godzilla movies from the original run.
That doesn't mean you can't have a good time though.
The key to enjoying this film is to just sit
back not ask any questions. If you start
wondering how Seatropolis knew that Goro was building a robot, or why
couldn't build one themselves, you're missing the point.
It's just a goofy, fun, hilarious way to
spend the afternoon. When Jet Jaguar
sees trouble, he grows to 10 times his original size!
When the subterranean dwellers get into trouble they call alien
another star system faster than you can say "Deus Ex Machina." Who cares if it doesn't make sense, it got
Gigan into the rumble, didn't it? Anyone
who can still remember what it was like to be glued to the TV screen
were 7 awed by the giant monster battle unfolding in your living room
a kick out of this film.
This disc includes three, count 'em, three audio
options: a stereo English dub, the
original Japanese stereo track, and a newly created DD 5.1 track. I screened the film with the 5.1 track
playing and it's decent but not perfect.
The rears get quite a bit of use, especially during the fight
but the mix isn't as precise as I would have liked.
It's more of a wall of sound coming from the
rear rather than discrete effects originating from specific corners of
room. The sub gets some time in though,
and that's a great improvement to the movie.
The film arrives with a nice anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 picture. I've never seen the film look so good
before. After decades of being available
(on VHS and DVD) only in washed out, soft prints this new release is a
watch. The colors are vivid, the lines
are very sharp and the picture just pops.
There is one flaw that keeps this from getting a higher rating. There are several times throughout the film
where a single line of static appears.
It always seems to happen during edits, so I'm sure this was a
the master that Media Blasters received.
Still, it mars an otherwise wonderful looking disc.
(I've included a screen cap of the error
below. Note the static at the very
bottom. Sorry the image itself isn't more
exciting.) (Update: Alert reader Dave C. says that this glitch "is most like a badly made cement join on the negative." Since it's always on the edits, it sounds very plausible.)
Here's why this disc is so much better than the bare bones
version. The bonus items start off with
an excellent commentary track with Steve Ryfle and DVDTalk reviewer
Galbraith IV. Even if I didn't know
Stuart I'd still recommend this track.
The two scholars talk about the film's genesis, and how Jet
to be, what was going on behind the scenes, and generally have a good
discussing the movie. There's a lot of
information (including a mention of how Greenpeace came to be) but it's
dry or boring. Later in the track Mel
Maron, who distributed the film in the US,
talks about his experience selling the film in America
and even the Godzilla for
President campaign that he launched during the 1976 Democratic National
Convention. Overall, it's a fun and
Next up is an interview (audio only) with Ted Thomas who was
a voice actor on the dub track as well as the narrator.
He talks about the art of dubbing and
discusses the nuts and bolts of changing the language of a movie. It's a nice half-hour talk.
There's also a series of TV spots promoting the movie as
well as various versions of the credits from the English dub, which was
thing to include. Rounding off the
extras is a pretty impressive reel of stills that lasts over 13-minutes. It includes production stills, movie posters
from various countries, and even the pages of a Godzilla Vs. Megalon
It is really too bad that this Special Edition version of
the movie was never officially released.
Media Blasters claim that it was a flub on the part of the
who used the wrong file to make the film, while others on the Internet
hypothesize that this was the company's way of using the discs they
before the plug was pulled. Ultimately,
it doesn't really matter to fans who should be happy that the disc is
available, if only on a very limited hit-or-miss basis.
If you have any interest in this movie, go
ahead a buy a copy from your favorite vendor... you might get lucky. This version with the extras comes highly