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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #399  (Vol. 8, No. 46) This edition is for the week of November 12--18, 2007.

The Tampa Film Review for November  by Nolan Canova and Chris Woods
The Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show  by Nolan Canova
"Before The Devil Knows You're Dead"  by Mike Smith
DVD Review: "Mothra vs Godzilla"  by ED Tucker
Tampa Comic Con Report - Nov. 11, 2007  by Andy Lalino
Next Week .... Passing On .... Now I Can Concentrate On World Peace .... Golden Globe Time .... Should I Get In Line Now? .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 33: Sean Connery  by Mike Smith
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CF Presents Retrorama

DVD Review:
“Mothra vs Godzilla”

Released By: Classic Media
Release Date: April 3, 2007
Number of Discs: 1
Approximate Running Time: 176 Minutes
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Image Galleries, Akira Ifukube Biography
Suggested Price: $19.99

The Source:
The fourth of Toho Studio’s original Godzilla films, 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla, represents a high point for the series. When a giant egg washes ashore, it attracts the attention of not only greedy entrepreneurs, but also the twin fairies of Infant Island and Godzilla! This time around it takes the combined forces of the Japanese military, an adult Mothra and two larvas to stop the rampage of a decidedly mean spirited Godzilla. A work in progress up to this point, the Godzilla films hit their stride with this installment that pits the Big G against another Toho franchise for the first time. While Mothra may not be the most menacing of adversaries, the special effects are excellent and the writing and acting are both well above average.

The Fanboy Factor:
More familiar to US audiences as Godzilla vs. The Thing, Mothra vs. Godzilla is the last of the “serious” Godzilla films where the giant lizard is still portrayed as a threat to humanity. After this Godzilla would rapidly fall into the hero role, protecting the Earth from all manner of threats and even teaming up with some of the monsters he had previously battled. This was also the first Godzilla film to be shown in the US largely unaltered from its original form, other than a very wise title change. While Mothra was a popular character in Japan, American audiences had not embraced the first film and were not likely to view a giant moth as much of a challenge to Godzilla. When American International Pictures bought the film for US distribution, they immediately hired an artist to work up a new advertising campaign that left Mothra completely to the imagination. The result was an image of a very dragon-like Godzilla locked in a fight to the death with a writhing mass of tentacles obscured by a censor stamp!

The Product:
Both the US and the original Japanese versions of the film are presented on the disc in remastered form. Each version looks great but the US print is noticeably clearer and brighter than the television screenings most fans remember growing up with. Audio commentary is provided by Godzilla experts Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle who provide an overwhelming amount of production information as well as personal insights and memories. Other extras include the Japanese trailer, a slide show of promotional material from the Japanese release, and a documentary on Akira Ifukube who provided the memorable scores for this and many other giant monster films. Conspicuously absent is any material dealing with the US release under the alternate title, Godzilla vs. The Thing. The marketing is so unique to the US versions of these films that it seems remiss a theatrical trailer, campaign images, or poster art is not included to compare and contrast with the Japanese material provided.

The Bottom Line:
Once again, Classic Media has provided Godzilla fans with a tremendous bang for their DVD buck. This DVD is highly recommended to both the casual and the advanced Godzilla fan.

"Retrorama" is ©2007 by ED Tucker.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.