Received and watched the Universal US English language cut of King Kong vs Godzilla this afternoon. I had placed my order through Amazon over the weekend and was a little concerned when I didn't get any sort of usual shipping notification per usual Prime but it showed up before lunch time so no complaints there.
First off, while the Blu-ray release is a decent upgrade from the older US dvd, that comment comes with a major caveat. The Blu-ray transfer while appearing to come from the same source as the near-decade old dvd, is noticeably darker, especially during the night scenes such as when Godzilla attacks the train in the mountains. Fine detail is better on the Blu-ray, but the quality of the print as with the older Universal dvd varies wildly between some scenes, some scenes look exceedingly grainy while most scenes involving human actors look pretty good. Obviously, some of the bluescreen work looks the worst (the octopus scene has always looked terrible) but there's numerous scenes with no matte work that look pretty rough as well. There may be some DNR, but it isn't excessive, especially for Universal. My guess is they did a down and dirty 2k scan of their very good quality print in the last few years and slapped it on this release with no additional work.
This is about as bare-bones a disc as I've ever seen. No extras of any sort, not even a menu, the disc loads and starts the movie after a useless Ultraviolet ad. It's chapter encoded, but there's no other audio track besides English 2.0 mono (odd as this was Tohos first stereo soundtrack Godzilla movie when it was originally released) and subtitles are either English or French. This should be a $5 priced release.
I have this movie in the original Japanese cut as the laserdisc (both early 80's truncated Godzilla Death Battle champion cut and last "digital master" uncut laserdisc release) and cd jewel case dvd releases as well as the US English language dvd release via Universal so I did some comparisons.
Comparing the US dvd and especially Blu-ray release print and transfer quality to *any* of the Japanese (un)cut home video releases, the older US dvd and now Blu-ray release looks unquestionably better, due in large part to Toho not having ideal quality archival material when they assembled their now outdated digital master (the circumstances of which are discussed elsewhere on this forum). I am extremely curious how Tohos Blu-ray release will look when it comes out in July in Japan as the HD master originally done for the WOW HD channel about 7 years ago looked very impressive judging from screencaps.
I'm not a big fan of King Kong Escapes and will probably wait months until I see it in the bargain bin before even considering buying it.