When the new Godzilla hits theaters on May 16th, it will end a ten year hiatus for the big guy that began after Toho released Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004. In honor of his return to the silver screen, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are releasing eight of the eleven pre-retirement movies as a series of four, two-disc/two movie Blu-rays called The Toho Godzilla Collection, the last of which presents 2003’s Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. as well as the aforementioned Final Wars.
In the former, when Godzilla and Mothra head towards Tokyo, the Japanese prime minister decides to send the new Mechagodzilla to stop them, even though it may not be ready.
Then, in Godzilla: Final Wars, when aliens use all of Godzilla’s former enemies to take over the Earth, it’s up to the big guy to kick all their asses. And I do mean all.
As Godzilla movies go, neither of the ones on the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray are as good as his first, 1954’s Gojira, or some of the ones that followed in the ’60s and ’70s, such as 1964’s Mothra Vs. Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla Vs. Mothra) or the one-two punch of 1974’s Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla and 1975’s Terror Of Mechagodzilla.
In part, this is because while the original was a serious sci-fi film, the ’60s and ’70s movies were a fun mix of cheesy, low-rent special effects, and silly storytelling that made for some silly escapism. And while the movies on the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray also have bad special effects and stories, they don’t have the same goofy charm.
That said, they’re still a lot fun, and definitely better than some of the other films in The Toho Godzilla Collection, most notably 1993’s Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II, 1994’s Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla, and 1995’s Godzilla Vs. Destroyah. Especially since these final flicks have some rather huge fights.
Godzilla: Final Wars also deserves credit for having the biggest cast of the entire Godzilla movie series — as it featurettes appearances by such pals as Mothra, Rodan, and Hedorah, to name just a few — but without it causing the plot to become all convoluted like when Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II had a half-dozen monsters on set at once. Instead, it makes for a nice final film, one that has closure for Godzilla and his pals.
Both of the movies on the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray also get extra points for dismissively mocking the 1998 Godzilla movie with Matthew Broderick. Though I won’t spoil how.
Needless to say, if you haven’t already seen both movies on the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray, you really should, if only so you can check them off your bucket list.
And when you do, this is the way to do it. For starters, both movies on the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray have been digitally remastered for HD, which makes them look far better than they do on DVD. In addition, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, while Godzilla: Final Wars is in 2.40:1. Though, admittedly, they don’t look as good as, say, the new Godzilla will when it comes out on Blu-ray, nor as they as much of an improvement over their respective DVDs as when Criterion made their Blu-ray of Gojira.
The Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray also has remastered sound, with the original Japanese audio and the English dubbed track on both films coming in 5.1 surround sound. Which, like the picture, makes them sound better here than they did on their original DVDs.
Along with the movies, the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray comes with codes for digital copies of both films, as well as their original Japanese trailers. Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. also includes a fairly typical making-of featurette called “Making Of Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.,” while Godzilla: Final Wars comes with the equally generic “Godzilla: V-Roll To Film,” both of which were also included on their respective DVDs.
But while this is more than any of the original entries in The Togo Godzilla Collection got, it still seems a bit lacking. At the very least, it would’ve been nice if Godzilla: Final Wars came with some kind of career retrospective. Or, at the very least, one of the trailers for the new movie.
Still, all things considered, the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray is still pretty good. Sure, the movies aren’t the best Godzilla ever made, but they’re still rather fun, and both look and sound better here than they have before.
To read my review of the Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla Vs. Mothra Blu-ray, click here.
To read my review of the Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II/Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla, click here.
To read my review of the Godzilla Vs. Destroyah/Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus Blu-ray, click here.