All Godzilla Movies Japanese Import Blu-Ray Review Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 153 Old 09-21-2009, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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As it's likely a lot of opinions and reviews of the Japanese import blu-ray Toho Godzilla and related films will soon show up here due to the release of the various films in groups of 5 every two months, I thought it might be nice if there's one all-inclusive thread to cover the releases.

Anyway.........

I just got through viewing the Japanese blu-ray of the original Godzilla. Overall, I think fans of the movie will be very pleased with the transfer, extras and the overall package.

To preface my comments, I have bought this movie both US and Japanese import releases from vhs tape, through various laserdisc releases to dvd. I'm pretty familiar with how this movie could and should look.

Overall, the movie has never looked better on home video. Of course, there appears to have been some small sacrifice to get an overall superior presentation.

There is evidence of some DNR to clean up the print as in some scenes, daylight sky looks a little too smooth, grainless and flat in some scenes but on the other hand, fine detail in well lit scenes has never looked better. Obviously, because of the rather (now) primitive filming techniques and use of stock footage of varying film stocks as well as the age and condition of the original print, this movie is never going to look pristine or even on a level of similar b/w genre films already on blu-ray such as the original "The Day The Earth Stood Still." And it has to be said, the night scenes of Godzilla trampling through Tokyo are often oppressively dark with borderline black crush losing some very fine detail that can be previously seen on the washed out, brighter image on the first issue in the 80's of the Japanese laserdisc. However, much of this can be rectified by minor adjustment of black levels on the monitor.

The framing is identical to most other home video releases, notably the Japanese import region 2 dvd.

In fact, this release carries over a number of features from the Japanese dvd release. The audio option includes the original 2 channel mono PCM soundtrack as well as the music (left channel) and sound effects (right channel) audio track and a commentary track. It does not include a soundtrack only audio track like the dvd did though. Overall, the movie's audio track is a slight improvement over the Japanese dvd release - a bit more full and a tad more bass.

Regarding the extras, the (very) long video interview from the original Japanese dvd is ported over in standard definition. Trailers for the movie are included as well as a extensive stills gallery documenting the movie from the script through suit design and construction through filming. One of the nicer features is a PiP storyboard option while watching the movie. Also, there is a cool new short feature filmed in '08 that is a live orchestra playing key music cues to respective scenes from the movie.

The menu is initially a bit tough to navigate, primarily due to the language issue but visually from a graphics standpoint, it's nicely designed.

The slipcase is a typical BR case with a cardboard sleeve with matching artwork. There is a tri-fold sheet advertising not only Toho's next two batches of monster films coming on BR through the end of '09, but 3 volume "Akira Kurosawa - The Masterworks" collections. Also, there's a tiny blurb mentioning blu-ray releases of (wait for it........) the 1964 films "Mothra vs Godzilla" and "Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster" in March of 2010.

I revised my original Amazon Japan order after getting and being a bit disappointed with the Gamera '90's box set to only buy the original "Godzilla" and see how this one turned out befor springing for the rest of Toho's quickly blossoming blu-ray releases. Overall, I'm *very* happy with this release and look forward to emptying my wallet for the rest of Toho's blu-ray releases.

T.B.
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post #2 of 153 Old 09-23-2009, 04:27 PM
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Nice review. There are no English subs correct?

"The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests. And cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened. Spoils will be enjoyed!"

 

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post #3 of 153 Old 09-23-2009, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ThePrisoner View Post

Nice review. There are no English subs correct?

Unfortunately, that is correct.

T.B.
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post #4 of 153 Old 09-23-2009, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW, for those that may be interested, here's photos of the packaging:



The outer cardboard slip cover has "glitter" printed on it:



The neat Godzilla resin model doesn't come with the package. He's just there to lend support.

T.B.
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post #5 of 153 Old 09-24-2009, 04:50 AM
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I like the outer slipcase.

"The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests. And cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened. Spoils will be enjoyed!"

 

-Bane

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post #6 of 153 Old 09-24-2009, 05:13 AM
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yes its really nice movie i like it most.i watch this movie many time.Amazing
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post #7 of 153 Old 09-24-2009, 05:18 PM
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I hope Godzilla can visit the United States soon in Hi Def. I still have some of his movies that I want to purchase. What's my chance of getting a signed copy of his movie?
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post #8 of 153 Old 09-25-2009, 08:22 AM
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Oops, I did not notice this topic until after I posted my own. Well, here is what I put in that one:

I got all 3 Godzilla Blu-Rays that Toho released last Thursday, and now that I have finished watching all 3, here are my quick reviews on them:

Godzilla:

Video 4/5: Not perfect by any means, but wow, just simply wow. This is the first B&W movie I have watched on Blu-Ray, and it was a sight to be held. THe details are so rich in tone, the blacks are very dark, and I've never realized that Serizawa had scars below his patch before. Not just that, but most of the scratch marks are gone and the only thing I can take away points for is that it seems like the movie feels like it is flashing every now and then. Still, there will never be a better print than this.

Audio 5/5: Very clear and clean, with no distortions that I could hear. There really isn't much to say about it, as it is not supposed to be booming like the later movies.

Extras 3/5: All are the same as the Region 2 DVD, with interviews, art work, and so forth, so nothing too spectacular, but for a movie this old, it is nice to see some good stuff nonetheless.

Godzilla vs Biollante:

Video 4/5: The video looked spectacular, especially during the rainy scenes, and the details in Godzilla's skin was incomprehensible. Unfortunately, this is the first time I have watched the movie on a HDTV, as I have never watched my region 2 DVD since getting one, so I cannot comment on how it compares, as I just do not remember. Nevertheless, it was the look of perfect. Oh, and the scenes with Biollante were also superb. The only reason I lowered the score is because of the enriched grain and that it does not stand out as well as 54 did (which again, could be because I haven't watched this movie in years) in terms of the remastering job, but nevertheless, it is nearly flawless and I doubt we will see anything better.

Audio 4/5: To be honest, I am a little disappointed. The audio is fine and clear, but I was really expecting to actually hear audio coming out of my rear speakers without being three inches away from them. Other than that, no complaints.

As for the extras, I haven't watched them yet as I am too lazy to put the machine in the PS3 right now since the disc menu is frozen on my Samsung player for some reason, but I'm quite certain they are the same that are on the DVDs. If I get the chance to check them out later, I'll let you guys know.

Godzilla Final Wars:

Video 5/5: Now this movie is just down right gorgeous. Grain aside (won't go into that argument), the picture is just one part of a masterpiece. In fact, this is definitely a Blu-Ray you will want to use to show off Blu-Ray to your friends, especially if they have seen The Dark Knight or Casino Royale a million times. Oh, and Monster X's transformation into Kaiser Ghidorah is just eye dropping.

Audio 5/5: Now this is more like it!! Rear speakers are a spectacle to hear. I even have to say that the audio in this movie matches up to that of Akira's Japanese track, as it is full of non-stop rumbles. I'm actually surprised the neighbors did not come over to ask me to turn it down, as I haven't had this much fun listening to a movie since the DTS audio in The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions. If you are an audiophile, this is a must get.

Extras: Again, right now I am too lazy to put them in the PS3 to see what there is, but hopefully they are the same extras that are on the other two discs from the DVD set.

So with that said, all three of these movies are a must buy if you are any bit of a Godzilla fan. Due to there being no region codes on these things, there are no longer any excuses you can use other than the lack of subtitles, but if you are a fan, you most likely have already seen these movies either dubbed or subbed several times by now, so even that is not a completely valid excuse. Sure, I'll buy Final Wars again on Blu-Ray if it is released in the US, but I doubt the quality is going to match up to Toho's releases, as even the DVDs were not as good whether it was the audio or the video that made it feel like it was lacking. Disc menu issues aside, buy these discs right now before you find yourself so far behind that you need to take out a mortgage just to afford them.

I look forward to the next batch of movies in Nov, especially GMK, as that is my favorite, and one I tend to watch at least 3 times a year.

The format wars are over Primal, you lose - Megatron from Beast Machines (partially)

So long HD-DVD, I will miss you no matter how much I complained about Combo Discs.
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post #9 of 153 Old 09-25-2009, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Kain View Post

(snip)

I look forward to the next batch of movies in Nov, especially GMK, as that is my favorite, and one I tend to watch at least 3 times a year.

Thanks for posting your thoughts. I expected Godzilla Final Wars to look and sound really good as despite the movie being generally terrible, it's a pretty sharp looking movie with very good audio, at least on the region 2 dvd.

I am also really looking forward to GMK as it's in my top 5 favorite Godzilla films.

T.B.
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post #10 of 153 Old 09-25-2009, 12:01 PM
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Hmm....the 1080i japanese HDTV rip of the remastered version was soft as hell, and only the channel logo was high def sharp.

Was Toho afraid that poeple would record them onto BD and gave the TV station low resolution versions instead??

My hopes of the remastered BD:s just went up again

Thanx fo the review
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post #11 of 153 Old 09-26-2009, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Kain View Post

Godzilla vs Biollante:

Audio 4/5: To be honest, I am a little disappointed. The audio is fine and clear, but I was really expecting to actually hear audio coming out of my rear speakers without being three inches away from them. Other than that, no complaints.

Were you listening to the 5.1 soundtrack? The disc defaults to the theatrical 2.0 matrixed surround track. You have to go into the menu to choose the 5.1 remix.
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post #12 of 153 Old 09-27-2009, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cougartiger View Post

Were you listening to the 5.1 soundtrack? The disc defaults to the theatrical 2.0 matrixed surround track. You have to go into the menu to choose the 5.1 remix.

Yes I was, but there still not too much coming out of my speakers. Oh, and just so you are aware, the disc menu is inaccessible on the Samsung BDP3600 player, so you can only change the audio while in the movie. Thank the gods that Final Wars has the english audio version as the default version, otherwise I would have been screwed on that one. I do not know what the issue is, but the main menu is just locked, as the only thing you can do on the Samsung is hit OK/Play to play the movie. Hopefully Samsung fixes this issue in their next firmware update or I'm going to be pissed.

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post #13 of 153 Old 09-27-2009, 09:22 AM
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Dr Kain, can you post some screenshots of Biollante? I really want to see how it looks.
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post #14 of 153 Old 09-30-2009, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Rated-rsuperstar View Post

Dr Kain, can you post some screenshots of Biollante? I really want to see how it looks.

Unfortunately I have no way of doing so, as my computer does not have a BD Drive in it.

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post #15 of 153 Old 10-17-2009, 04:27 PM
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I wish Sony would get their act together and port these for the US market with the dub tracks or at least subtitles. Actually, forget dub tracks. I just want subs. But that won't ever happen.
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post #16 of 153 Old 10-17-2009, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

I wish Sony would get their act together and port these for the US market with the dub tracks or at least subtitles. Actually, forget dub tracks. I just want subs. But that won't ever happen.

The problem is, Toho's films are spread across many studios for distribution outside Japan. Sony only has the US rights for maybe 10 - 12 films. Universal has rights for the English language only versions of King Kong vs Godzilla and King Kong Escapes. Godzilla 1984/5 is in legal limbo original being held by long defunct New World Pictures.

Worse, some key films have passed through several studios over the years losing the original English language dub (which in some cases is a key part of the appeal of the original English dubs) and now have "International English language dubbing" which in most cases is far more bland and generic. Most if not all the otherwise excellent Tokyo Shock dvd releases suffer from this issue. I think "Destroy All Monsters" is one movie which once again is in limbo as to who actually has US distribution rights.

T.B.
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post #17 of 153 Old 10-26-2009, 11:55 AM
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Godzilla Vs Biollante arrived today. I really like the shiny slipcover case. Unfortunately I can't take screenshots so I took some quick pics. Sorry, it's not the best quality. I plan on watching it tonight, so I'll give my thoughts on the picture/audio once I'm done.






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post #18 of 153 Old 10-26-2009, 12:18 PM
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^
No subtitles right?
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post #19 of 153 Old 10-26-2009, 04:41 PM
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^
No subtitles right?

No english subs.



Alright, after watching GvsB I'm quite pleased with this release. I can't compare the BD to Toho's dvd release but it's definitely the best version to own on the market.

PQ 4/5 The picture is pretty much clean of any dirt or scratches. There is a layer of grain over the picture. Some might not like it but I think it adds to the film. As most have said, the picture tends to be soft. Some scenes are worse than others but this is the best it's gonna look. There's not much more Toho could do to a film that 20 years old and wasn't preserved under the best circumstances.

AQ 4/5 Again, the film probably sounds the best it ever will. The track is front heavy but sounds clear. There are 3 scenes of dialogue where hissing can be heard in the track but it quickly goes away. One of my favorite aspects of Biollante is the music. And it sounds fantastic. It beats the hell out of my old vhs copy.

Extras 4/5 The disc comes with 2 teaser and 2 theatrical trailers all in 1080p. Also there is a 50 minute making of. It's all in japanese but has lots of great special effects footage along with a couple of deleted scenes. And last is a commentary.

Godzilla vs Biollante is my favorite G movie. And I'm just glad I can finally own the best version of the film. Recommended.

One last thing. For the longest time I always thought the soldiers at the beginning of the film were American. Turns out, their actually British soldiers. I was surprised to see them all have accents.
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post #20 of 153 Old 11-20-2009, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.toho-a-park.com/tokusatsu-bd/

Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster
Mothra vs Godzilla
The Mysterians
Atragon
Godzilla vs Megaguirus

The March 2010 wave of releases looks great. I knew Mothra vs Godzilla and Ghidorah '64 was in the 3/10 wave based on a tiny blurb in the advertisement included with the Godzilla '54 blu-ray, but seeing Atragon (which has one of the best Akira Ifukube music scores he ever did) in this batch is a great surprise. It also looks like the March wave of blu-rays will have some new bonus features in addition to 'porting over the previous bonus features from the older dvd releases.

I am also looking forward to "Godzilla, Mothra King Ghidorah - All Out Monsters Attack" arriving on blu-ray in the next few days along with Godzilla '84 and Godzilla vs Ghidorah. GMK is in my top 5 favorite Godzilla series movies.

T.B.
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post #21 of 153 Old 11-21-2009, 03:13 AM
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I have GMK on DVD and that is one of my favorites. I would love to get that one on BD. The 5.1 track is great, too bad no english subs tough. Still looking forward for your review.

"The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests. And cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened. Spoils will be enjoyed!"

 

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post #22 of 153 Old 11-22-2009, 09:35 AM
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Wow... Frankenstein is available? how do I order these movies? I need this movie, destroy all monsters and monster zero!


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post #23 of 153 Old 11-22-2009, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow... Frankenstein is available? how do I order these movies? I need this movie, destroy all monsters and monster zero!


War of the Gargantuas("Frankenstein") will be released in Japan in January. There is no release date yet for "Monster Zero" or "Destroy All Monsters" as well as Gargantuas' sorta prequel, "Frankenstein vs Baragon" aka Frankenstein Conquers The World. However, given Toho's aggressive release schedule of groups of 5 films every two months on blu-ray, it's likely those films will be released on blu-ray sometime in 2010 or early 2011 at the latest.

If you can read Japanese or at least navigate a Japanese language website using a language translation website, Amazon.com Japan, aka http://www.amazon.co.jp is probably the cheapest solution to buy these titles and anything else in entertainment media available only in Japan. Otherwise, CD Japan as well as a few other websites that export Japanese cds, dvds blu-rays, etc might be a better though more expensive option. Be aware the US dollar is really weak against the Japanese yen right now - it's something like 100yen equals 88 cents US. Thus, you can expect to pay anywhere from $55 to $70 per title plus about $10 - $25 for shipping, making these movies a very pricey option for fans of the genre.

T.B.
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post #24 of 153 Old 11-22-2009, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rated-rsuperstar View Post

Godzilla Vs Biollante arrived today. I really like the shiny slipcover case. Unfortunately I can't take screenshots so I took some quick pics. Sorry, it's not the best quality. I plan on watching it tonight, so I'll give my thoughts on the picture/audio once I'm done.







Very upset at the lack of english subs. Are there plans for an American release? As well as Godzilla 1985?
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post #25 of 153 Old 11-23-2009, 05:58 PM
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Thanks for your help... I want original japanese language anyway

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post #26 of 153 Old 11-24-2009, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RabidWolve View Post

Very upset at the lack of english subs. Are there plans for an American release? As well as Godzilla 1985?

There are no plans currently for an American release of Biollante or 1985 on bluray.


Quote:


If you can read Japanese or at least navigate a Japanese language website using a language translation website, Amazon.com Japan, aka http://www.amazon.co.jp is probably the cheapest solution to buy these titles and anything else in entertainment media available only in Japan. Otherwise, CD Japan as well as a few other websites that export Japanese cds, dvds blu-rays, etc might be a better though more expensive option. Be aware the US dollar is really weak against the Japanese yen right now - it's something like 100yen equals 88 cents US. Thus, you can expect to pay anywhere from $55 to $70 per title plus about $10 - $25 for shipping, making these movies a very pricey option for fans of the genre.

Amazon.jp is the best option if your gonna buy the titles in bulk. Since Amazon.jp is gonna charge $20 for shipping regardless if it's one or 5 titles. For individual titles, along with CD japan, I'd recommend Yesasia.com and Playasia.com.
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post #27 of 153 Old 11-24-2009, 11:03 AM
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All this thread does is make me hate my parents.
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post #28 of 153 Old 11-30-2009, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally got to watch my recently arrived blu-ray release of "Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack." I want to preface my comments by saying this movie is or was one of my more eagerly awaited Toho releases and in my top 5 Godzilla movies of the entire Toho monster/sci-fi genre.

The movie itself is certainly one of the more unusual and entertaining takes on the whole "Godzilla" series. Toho gambled with allowing maverick director of the revitalized Gamera series Shūsuke Kaneko almost total control over the franchise for this film and while not always successful, it's easily the best Godzilla movie of the so-called Millennium series which encompasses the last 6 movies ending in 2004. The plot returns Godzilla to it's evil roots as not only a nuclear-inspired monster, but the embodiment of Japans WWII dead. Old routines such as Godzilla razing cities, fighting the military and battling monsters Baragon, Mothra and King Ghidorah seem fresh after decades under Kaneko's direction and staging.

That said, doing a direct comparison to the 3 disc Japanese dvd box set, imo the blu-ray is a very modest upgrade.

The transfer and overall video quality is a barely perceptible step up from the dvd. The image is fairly soft (as is the dvd transfer) and the black level seems to be noticably lighter than a typical dvd/blu-ray so there's very little instances of truly solid blacks even in the dark night time scenes. The audio is a more significant improvement over the Japanese dvd. Much better bass, more defined separation between channels and surrounds and mixed at a higher volume than the dvd on the TruHD audio track. Be aware that the default audio is the stereo PCM track when first playing the disc.

It appears all the extras (still in standard defintion) from the 3 disc dvd box have been ported over to the blu-ray. It does not appear there's any new extras on this release however.

I also will say that the overall menu graphics and packaging in all of Toho's new blu-ray releases are a step down from their dvd releases. Even the early wave of Toho's dvd releases in cd sized jewel cases all had nice, colorful booklets crammed with stills, posters and info which shame the rather uninspired blu-ray packaging which is high lighted by a blue glitter cardboard sleeve housing the case with only a flyer for other Toho releases and the usual mail in card inside with the disc.

It's a minor quibble, but it bugs me that the opening menu screen before the disc loads the motion video menu is a poor quality screen cap from the actual blu-ray transfer complete with heavy micro-blocking. Toho's apparently standardized menu design with multiple clips from the respective movie running in frames with the various menu selections on the left is really the only new and welcome touch from a design standpoint for their blu-ray lineup.

I also quickly checked "Rodan" which came this week. It looks to be a more significant upgrade from the Japanese dvd release and includes a new bonus feature not on the dvd release detailing the special effects work apparently focusing on the sets and miniature work for the film. It also includes the strangely hilarious and colorfully illustrated kids book narrated in breathless Japanese. More on that on a couple days.

Overall, I am not as impressed with Toho's blu-ray releases as I initially thought I'd be and it appears the older 50's and 60's films will benefit the most from the HD remastered upgrade.

T.B.
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post #29 of 153 Old 12-01-2009, 03:51 AM
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I agree wholeheartedly with T.B.'s assessment. The blu ray transfer of "GMK" is very soft and offers little improvement over even the Tri-Star DVD release. I found the True HD track to be too hot in the low end, rumbling my sub even when no action is on screen. A very disappointing waste of $67 USD.

I also purchased Final Wars on blu and while the video is a more definitive upgrade over the Sony DVD, I found the Dolby Digital track on the DVD to be better than it's lossless counterpart on the blu ray. The True HD track is severely lacking in low end and the sometimes annoying techno soundtrack of the film is even more shrill than that of the lossy DVD mix. Just my 2 cents.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbuick6 View Post

I agree wholeheartedly with T.B.'s assessment. The blu ray transfer of "GMK" is very soft and offers little improvement over even the Tri-Star DVD release. I found the True HD track to be too hot in the low end, rumbling my sub even when no action is on screen. A very disappointing waste of $67 USD.

I also purchased Final Wars on blu and while the video is a more definitive upgrade over the Sony DVD, I found the Dolby Digital track on the DVD to be better than it's lossless counterpart on the blu ray. The True HD track is severely lacking in low end and the sometimes annoying techno soundtrack of the film is even more shrill than that of the lossy DVD mix. Just my 2 cents.

The original Japanese region 2 3 dvd set for Godzilla: Final Wars which I bought when it was first released is significantly better in both audio and video than the US dvd so you've probably just saved me about $65, not that I had that blu-ray anywhere near the top of my buy list.

One other thing I forgot to mention on my opinions of GMK, at the beginning of the movie when Godzilla's back and glowing fins are seen as it moves behind an undersea ridge, there's very noticeable posturization/banding like something out of a heavily compressed digital tv broadcast. Completely unacceptable for a HD transfer.

T.B.
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