Ebirah: Horror of the Deep:
By 1966 the creators of the Godzilla franchise were clearly feeling punch-drunk and cocky; leading with tropical-styled surf music to gently introduce us to the fact that we are indeed sitting down to watch a giant prawn give the claw to some poor fishing boats. While lacking the requisite city-wide destruction we love, this goofy kaiju wrestling match will have monster kids of all ages buying into this presentation no problem, horrible voice-overs and all.
Pretty much since Godzilla Raids Again, (AKA Gigantis the Fire Monster) plot has been a negligible aspect for Kaiju movies, serious intent seems to have quickly flown the coop. True, we want to see guys in rubbery suits crush buildings, but how will we get from point A to destruction? Ebirah throws a lot of silly plot at us: dorks on a stolen yacht, natives forced to make giant prawn repellent, and more. It makes sense in its own way, and you're welcome to it. I can't wait for the monster-on-monster action.
I've always loved Ebirah, a giant crawdad who can stand on his hind legs, and my love is still strong. Ebirah raises the claw from stormy depths. The magic of special effects makes this seem pretty real. Then Ebirah crushes a toy boat and all bets are off. In between plentiful Scooby Doo shenanigans inside headquarters of The Red Bamboo - bad guys who want to enslave Ebirah or something - our hapless idiot heroes discover and accidentally wake up Godzilla, who then throws a beat-down on a giant condor. What?
Mothra crops up too - conveniently worshipped by nearby natives -while Godzilla gets a chance to go all Red Lobster on Ebirah, only he forgot his butter-bib! As far as Kaiju battles go, Ebirah misses the mark, if only for the fact that there is very little citywide destruction that we all love so much. In fact there is no city destruction at all, since Godzilla and Ebirah trade punches - and play a little sandlot baseball - on the high seas instead. Albeit childish fun, the melee makes it more patently obvious than usual that we're watching dudes in suits. However Ebirah scores major monster-points with a number of great scenes featuring little humans running around in the foreground while Godzilla's tail wags in the background. You can't get much better human/kaiju scale action than this!
Even more interesting is Godzilla's new attitude. The dude is ready for some human loving or something, as he takes King Kong-like interest in a lovely lass, stooping down to give her a closer look, undressing her with his lothario eyes. At this point, my notes break down a bit; "G battles V J-hive." I have no idea what that means, although it garners four 'plus' signs, so know that there is something great capping this lesser entry in the Godzilla canon.
Kids of all ages who grew up on Godzilla movies will buy into Ebirah: Horror of the Deep. While lacking the requisite metropolitan destruction, and containing just a tad too much hapless-idiot-intrigue, Ebirah sports Mothra and a giant condor, plus those great claw scenes, and a lot of other goofy goodness to keep your monster kid satisfied. It even has "G battles V J-hive ++++!" Recommended.
Ebirah rises from the depths in a sharp looking DVD transfer. The 2.35:1 ratio presentation features rich colors and a sharp image with no readily discernable problems. There's no indication that this transfer is any different from the 2007 DVD release, but as such, it looks fantastic anyway.
Dubbed English language and Japanese Language tracks (with English subtitles) in Dolby Digital Mono Audio are your listening options. While the English track features simpering stupidity as far as dubbing is concerned, the sound is fine, if a little thin. The Japanese track is slightly more robust. The goofy score is solid and not too loud, dialog is easy to understand, and those volleys with a giant boulder pack decent punch.
Extras are limited to English Subtitles and the Japanese Trailer for the movie.
Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster (AKA Ebirah: Horror of the Deep) is one of the sillier entries in the Godzilla canon, and it lacks much of what kaiju fans crave - monsters crushing a city. Its weirdness works in its favor, though. Godzilla and Ebirah play catch, Ebirah raises a truly ominous claw, Godzilla lusts after a human girl, and more! This bare-bones release looks great, and will resonate with Monster Kids the world over. Even in this simple form, if you love it, you know it, and it's recommended.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com