Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 20th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, December 20th, 1964
Director: Ishirô Honda
Writer: Shinichi Sekizawa
Cast: Yosuke Natsuki, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yuriko Hoshi, Akiko Wakabayashi, Emi Ito, Yûmi Ito, Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Hisaya Ito
DVD released: June 5th, 2007
Approximate running time: 93 minutes (Japanese Version), 85 minutes (U.S. Version)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Classic Media
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.93
Synopsis: Strange things start to occur after a meteor lands in Japan. A princess named Sergina narrowly escapes death after her plane en-route to Japan explodes. After surviving the destruction of her plane princess Sergina resurfaces possessed by the soul of a being from the planet Venus. She tries to warn Earth about a three headed monster named Ghidorah who destroyed her planet and was plotting to do the same to Earth. Government officials refuse to take her seriously and they soon find themselves at the mercy of Ghidorah. Government officials with the help of Mothra convince Rodan and Godzilla to join forces in putting an end to Ghidorah’s reign of terror.
Ghidora, the Three-Headed Monster marked a turning point in the Godzilla series with it being the first film in which Godzilla works with the humans he once tried to destroy. Ghidora, the Three-Headed Monster also marks the screen debut of Ghidora. This film was also the third and final appearance of Mothra’s twin priestesses the Shobijin Fairies. The plot for Ghidora, the Three-Headed Monster focuses more on the human characters with the monsters taking a more secondary role until the final act. One of this film’s most satisfying assets it the time and effort put into developing the characters’. The only moment that kind of drags is the scene where the Shobijin twin fairies are introduced on a T.V show were they end up performing on. This seen just takes you out of the rest of the film with its lighthearted tone.
The English version of the film is about eight minutes shorter and besides missing some footage that is in the Japanese version the score for the English version is also different. Ghidora, the Three-Headed Monster is one of the liveliest Godzilla films with many memorable actions sequences between the monsters. The special effects and the monster suits rank near the better to appear in the Godzilla series. Yet another solid cast with the standout performances being Yuriko Hoshi as Naoko Shindo, Yosuke Natsuki as her brother Detective Shindo and Akiko Wakabayashi in the dual role of Mas Selina Salno and Princess of Sergina.
Ultimately Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster is one of the best films to emerge out of the “Showa” era Godzilla films.
Both the versions of Ghidorah The Three-Headed Monster included on this DVD release are presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Japanese language version looks slightly better than the English language version and outside of some minor print damage the transfer looks very good. The English language version looks softer then the Japanese language version. Overall both transfers are on par with the other Classic Media Godzilla releases.
Both versions of the film come with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix. The Japanese language version comes with English subtitles that are error free, easy to read and follow. Both audio mixes sound evenly balanced and clear.
Extras for this release include the original Japanese trailer, an image gallery/slide show of movie posters, a seven minute segment titled “Eiji Tsuburaya Biography” and an audio commentary with author David Kalat. This audio commentary is filled with interesting and insightful information about Toho Sci-Fi/Monster films from the 1960’s. Overall this is another spectacular release from Classic Media that finally gives Godzilla fans a chance to buy a fully loaded English friendly release of Ghidorah The Three-Headed Monster.