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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
King Kong vs. Godzilla aka "Kingu Kongu tai Gojira" [Blu-ray]
(Ishirô Honda, 1962)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Toho Company
Video: Universal / Criterion Spine # 1000 Disc #2
This, disc 2, is the 1963 US version of King Kong vs. Godzilla with intercuts scenes from director Ishirô Honda's 1962 Japanese release with new material by Thomas Montgomery.
Region: FREE / 'A' / 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:30:48.317 / 1:30:59.454
Disc Size: 33,577,607,947 bytes / 47,811,330,768 bytes
Feature Size: 25,071,974,400 bytes / 25,210,816,512 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.05 Mbps / 32.94 Mbps
Chapters: 18 / 21
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom Package (see below)
Release date: April 1st, 2014 / October 29th, 2019
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1871 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1871 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
NOTE: This is the second disc of the Criterion's Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975 and the 8th disc has the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla (which we have compared HERE)
English (SDH), French, none
English (SDH), none
•Japanese Trailer (2:16)
Shares the disc with
Godzilla Raids Again
Description: The Terrifying Battle Between The Mightiest Monsters of All Time! The two biggest monsters of all time battle in the thrilling adventure classic, King Kong vs. Godzilla. When an underhanded pharmaceutical company goes to a remote tropical island to steal King Kong for advertising purposes, they get more than they bargained for when the gigantic ape attacks an unsuspecting village and an enormous octopus. Meanwhile, far below the sea, a submarine crew unleashes reptilian terror when they melt a block of ice and release the ferocious Godzilla from his icy lair. When both destructive monsters descend on Tokyo, it's a fight that holds the future of mankind in the balance in this knock-out film that was the first theatrical release to bring its larger-than-life contenders to the big screen in glorious color.
Ishiro Honda directs this classic Japanese sci-fi adventure featuring a clash of the cinematic titans as King Kong and Godzilla square off for a monster showdown. At the same time as a pharmaceutical company manager undertakes an expedition in search of the mystical berries that confer gigantic size on the legendary Kong, a team of American pilots have discovered the frozen tomb of the fearsome Godzilla. When they thaw him out, the stage is set for a titanic battle between the two oversized creatures.
King Kong vs. Godzilla - built around a preposterous battle between the huge ape King Kong and the fire-breathing dinosaur Gojira -- marked the beginning of Toho Studios aiming their monster films at children rather than general audiences. Director Ishiro Honda stages the battle scenes atop Mt. Fuji for laughs, as the two lovable beasts play ball with a large boulder and generally behave like professional wrestlers horsing around for the camera. Persistent rumors claim that there exist two different endings to this film, with Godzilla winning in the Japanese version and Kong prevailing in the American print. These rumors are incorrect, as Kong wins in both versions. Gojira survived to battle Mothra the following year in Mosura Tai Gojira, while the Asian Kong returned in King Kong No Gyakushu (1967).Excerpt fromS B+N located HERE
King Kong vs Godzilla marks an important turning point in the
Godzilla series. It isn't the first time Godzilla fought another monster
(that would be 1955's Godzilla Raids Again), but it is a dramatic
departure from the the serious tone and melodrama of the previous two
films. Instead, King Kong vs Godzilla plays like a big colorful
fantasy film, with lots of humor along the way. The movie also
sacrifices some of the realism of the previous films in order to make
the fights and destruction more fun.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
King Kong vs. Godzilla is one of the more appealing titles of this genre to arrive on Blu-ray. To get specific ,this is basically the English version (John Beck). It's dual-layered with a very high bitrate, rich colors, but still some dirt, scratches, and speckles every few frames. This Blu-ray has pleasingly visuals in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. To be honest, it looks solid in-motion - there is consistent grain, and it looks to come from the original negative. I wasn't displeased at all - despite it laving the vibrancy of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Quite a jump over DVD, though...
The Criterion disc #2 is the the 1963 US version of King Kong vs. Godzilla with intercuts scenes from director Ishirô Honda's 1962 Japanese release with new material by Thomas Montgomery. It seems to be from the same source with the exact same light scratches. It is not as robust as the Universal transfer as it shares the did with Godzilla Raids Again. I can't see much difference at all in the image quality although the Criterion can look occasionally brighter and has heavy grain texture.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Blu-ray captures
The audio is rendered in a DTS-HD Master stereo at 1871 kbps (24-bit) - only in the English DUB version - Universal does not license the Japanese track. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The Criterion also only has the English DUB but via a linear PCM mono track (24-bit). It is a 'mixed' version with John Beck credited for the English context. Typical bombastic effects coming through with faux-crisp obviousness. There is a typically aggressive score credited to Akira Ifukube (King Kong Escapes, Anatahan, The Mysterians, the original Godzilla - and other Godzilla features - the bulk of Zatoichi series, plus Kurosawa's The Quiet Duel and many others.) There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the Criterion in North America is Region 'A' while it is Region 'B' in the UK.
Criterion (Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975) - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray
The are no supplements - nor a static menu.
The Criterion King Kong vs. Godzilla shares this disc with Godzilla Raids Again and there is also a short trailer for King Kong vs. Godzilla.
We will compare to the Japanese language version of King Kong vs. Godzilla when we get that screener disc (#8). This version of Criterion's King Kong vs. Godzilla wouldn't be the major reason for picking up the Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975 Blu-ray set - there is so much more. But this remains a hugely fun film.
November 25th, 2017
October 1st, 2019