Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 2nd, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Japan, 1963
Director: Ishiro Honda
Cast: Kenji Sahara, Tadao Takashima, Yu Fujiki, Yoko Fujiyama
DVD released: February 7th, 2006
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital Mono Japanese, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Media Blasters / Tokyo Shock
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Several of Japan’s prominent engineers start to disappear after a recent outbreak of tremors. The source of these tremors and disappearances are the people who populate the underwater continent known as the Mu Empire. The Queen of the Mu Empire and her royal subjects want to reclaim their former place as one of the worlds most dominate nation. Japan unbeknown to its own people and the rest of the world have a secret weapon a submarine known as Atragon that they have been working on since the last days of World War 2. The survival of Japan rests solely on the shoulders of Captain Jinguji and the crew of the Atragon.
Atragon is action filled adventure that fits in nicely with the rest of the Kaiju Eiga movies from this era. Atragon was directed by Ishirô Honda, who around this time was hitting his peak as a director with classic films like Mothra vs. Godzilla and Frankenstein Conquers the World. It had been nine years since Ishirô Honda directed Gojira (Godzilla) the film that literally started the whole Kaiju Eiga monster movie craze. Through out these intervening years he shows no sign of slowing down or ruining out of ideas. The special effects designed by Eiji Tsuburaya fare really well as they hold up better all these years later then most from this era.
The story is rather unique and interesting idea of an under water society on a sunken continent. There is plenty of action to off set the drama and a budding romance between the two leads. The obvious showcasing of nationalism in this film might turn some viewers off while most may not notice it or be affected by it since it is for the most part subtly just on the surface and in the forefront of the plot. Ultimately Atragon is entertaining film that hardcore fans of Kaiju Eiga films should thoroughly enjoy and it is a good choice for first time viewers who want to sample these types of films.
Atragon is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Yet again another exceptional transfer from Media Blasters that boasts lucid colors and details look sharp in the background and foreground. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or print damage.
This release comes with four audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono mix in Japanese and a Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono mix in English. All four audio mixes sound clean and offer more then adequate sound range with the 5.1 mixes sounding fuller then their mono counterparts. Removable English subtitles that are easy read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include a trailer for Atragon. Also included with this release are trailers for Dogora, The Mysterians, Space Amoeba and Varan the Unbelievable. The main extra included with this release is an audio commentary with assistant director Koji Kajita who remembers in great detail the various technical aspects about making Atragon and working with director Ishirô Honda.
Overall Atragon is another solid DVD release from Media Blasters, who continue to introduce U.S. fans of Ishirô Honda to his non-Godzilla films by presenting them in their best English friendly home video versions to date, highly recommended.