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19 January, 2008

DVD Review: GOJIRA: FAINARU UÔZU ~aka~ GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

Title: GOJIRA: FAINARU UÔZU ~aka~ GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

Year of Release—Film: 2004

Year of Release—DVD: 2005

DVD Label: Sony


THE MOVIE

Billed as the Big G’s last appearance, this is one of the franchise’s best outings, certainly the best of the Millennium series. It definitely qualifies as the most destructive, with nearly every Kaijû Toho created making an appearance, and not only Tokyo but also the entire world being laid to waste.

The plot had been a standard one for Toho’s Showa films, but was quite a departure for the Millennium period, with a race of aliens bent on conquest of the Earth using the various Kaijû as their weapons of choice. It seemed very much like a remake of 1968’s KAIJÛ SÔSHINGEKI ~aka~ MONSTER INVASION; DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, one of my favorite Kaijû movies.

One thing this movie has that works very well is a sense of humor. Several sequences feature a Kaijû named Zilla, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the beast from the 1998 American version of GODZILLA, destroying Sydney, Australia. Godzilla, arriving in Sydney, gives the interloper a disdainful look and easily puts him away. You gotta love it if you’re a true Goji-fan!
This is Toho at its best, and I love it. No, it’s not the most intelligent film you’re likely to watch, but if you can’t get excited by this level of Kaijû-ass-kicking, then call the coroner.


THE DISC

This is a beautiful disc from Sony, perhaps the best Godzilla presentation I’ve yet seen. One feature that especially pleases me is the original Japanese audio track is included, and is the option I selected; no longer do I have to sit through a comically bad dubbing job. Subtitles are something I always use; this way, at least I don’t get distracted by matching up the lip movements to the voice-overs.

The print of the film, as expected, is perfect; bright, sharp, and clear. The audio is better than average; no doubt due to the use of the original tracks in the option I viewed. Overall, this is a great looking-and-sounding DVD.



THE SPECIAL FEATURES

This disc doesn’t have a ton of extra features, but it does have a few good ones. There’s a short B-roll of behind-the-scenes footage that’s fun to watch, and both the Theatrical trailer as well as TV promos for the film. Not a great selection of special features, but what we get is interesting.



IN CONCLUSION

For fans of the Toho Kaijû films, it would be hard not to recommend this DVD, especially considering its Japanese tagline: “Gojû-nen no Rekishi ga Owaru. (The 50-Year History Comes to an End.)” The list price is average; at $19.95, it’s right at the edge of what I consider affordable for an everyday purchase. But it can be found cheaper, and for fans of the Big G, I’d say it’s worth it.

And as for this being the big guy’s swan song? I wouldn’t bet Monopoly® money on that one!

















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