At long last Gargantuas
This is a good time to be a fan of Japanese kaiju flicks. For years we suffered through badly edited and badly dubbed releases just to get a glimpse of our favorite monsters. But now there is Classic Media, putting out the best releases of some of the most obscure kaiju films, and doing them with a respect and quality I never imagined possible. It is a dream come true!
This two DVD set contains two of the most sought-after films, 1956’s “Rodan” (“Sora no daikaiju Radon” or “Giant Monster of the Sky Radon”) and 1966’s “War of the Gargantuas” (“Frankenstein no Kaiju: Sanda tai Gaira” or “Frankenstein’s Monster: Sanda vs. Gaira). Both have had previous US releases, but with considerable edits and we are seeing the full films here for the first time. As with other Classic Media titles in the Godzilla series, both versions of the films are included, the original Japanese release and the US dubbed and edited version. It is nice to have both, but it doesn’t take a genius to know which one you should be watching! Interesting bonus documentaries are also included, making this set an absolute must have.
“Rodan” was the first kaiju flick filmed in color, and the mutated pteranodons still look great. Although a single Rodan would soon crossover into the Godzilla series with Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster, here there are actually two of the beasties to torment Japan, a male and a female. Because they can fly, “Rodan” is quite quick paced and action-packed compared to many kaiju flicks, as the two monsters zoom around doing battle with jet airplanes and destroying bridges. No slow motion stomping here. Without giving away any spoilers, the ending of “Rodan” is a tear-jerker, a hard task for a film featuring men in giant rubber suits.
“War of the Gargantuas” is a real treasure, and I am so happy to finally have a nice copy on DVD. A sequel to the 1966 Frankenstein Conquers the World, (but not to the planned but never produced “Godzilla vs. Frankenstein”. Sigh…), the story has the mutated cells of the Frankenstein monster spawning two giant hairy beasts, Sanda (mountain monster) and Gaira (outside monster). Because the both monsters are human-like, the suitimation really shines here, and the two beasts are able to get really down and dirty in their battle. In fact, their fight was the basis for the battle between The Bride and Elle Driver in Kill Bill. It is knock-down drag out.
If you like giant monster flicks, you are going to want this DVD. It is that simple.