Friday, July 26, 2019

Godzilla: The Showa Era films on Blu-ray from Criterion!

The rumored, highly-anticipated announcement finally arrived yesterday. The Criterion Collection's spine #1000 milestone has a massive subject to match: Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975. The fifteen original films and extras are spread across eight Blu-rays. Nine of these movies will be on Blu-ray for the first time in Region A! The discs are packaged in a 10" x 14" hardcover book with notes on each film and new full-page illustrations from sixteen artists.

The highlight of the set might be the inclusion of the Japanese version of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962) in HD. This will be the first time it has ever been on home video in America (or anywhere else outside Japan, I believe).

I'll keep my Classic Media DVDs, and Media Blasters and Kraken Releasing Blu-rays of these titles for completeness, however. The US versions of GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS (1956) and KING KONG VS. GODZILLA are here, but the only other English dubs included are for INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER, SON OF GODZILLA, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, GODZILLA VS. MEGALON, GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA, AND TERROR OF MECHAGODZILA. These are the Toho International dub tracks, not the AIP or Titra dubs many of us remember from Saturday afternoon movie matinees or TV showings.

Despite not being as complete as many fans would like, this is still a monumental achievement. Every Showa-era G-film is now on Blu-ray. Seeing an entire block of Godzilla films joining a prestigious film collection like this, and with the symbolic designation of #1000, should make all kaiju fans proud.