Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 28th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Japan, 1970
Director: Ishiro Honda
Cast: Kenji Sahara, Akira Kubo, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yukiko Kobayashi
DVD released: February 14th, 2006
Approximate running time: 84 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: An unmanned spaceship is sent to Jupiter and along the way it disappears. One day the ship returns and resurfaces after it crashes near a remote island in the Pacific. A wealthy real-estate developer has plans of building a tropical resort on this same island. Immediately after their arrival the real-estate developer and his co-workers are confronted by the alien beings that came back with the unmanned spaceship. Will the alien life forms succeed in their plan for world domination or will they be stopped by the inhabitants of this remote island in the Pacific?
Space Amoeba was directed by Ishirô Honda the legendary Japanese filmmaker who is most remembered for directing the Kaiju Eiga film Gojira (Godzilla). Space Amoeba is Ishirô Honda’s last great film. The direction is top notch especially the under water sequences. The special effects also fare really well even though there are a few moments where they show their age.
The story is well done and the characters are all interesting. Having strong characters also helps since the first monster doesn’t appear tell about thirty five minutes into the film. The film also features another remarkable score from composer Akira Ifukube. This score ranks among some of his best work with Ishirô Honda.
A lot of Space Amoeba’s charms come from the fact that the story is a virtual melting pot of every idea every used before in other Kaiju Eiga films. The three monsters featured in Space Amoeba are Kamoeba, Gezora and Ganime. They are all larger then life in size and yet they all lack the ferociousness that previous Kaiju Eiga monsters like Godzilla. Ultimately the amount of enjoyment one gets from watching Space Amoeba solely relies on how high you set your expectations going in.
Space Amoeba is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The transfer looks colorful and detailed through out with no noticeable print damage. Overall this transfer is on par with Media Blasters other Toho Kaiju Eiga DVD releases.
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 are in good shape with no distortion or other audio defects. Also I didn’t detect that many differences between the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes and the Dolby Digital mono mixes.
Removable English subtitles that are easy read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include a special announcement and trailer for Space Amoeba. Also included with this release are trailers for Dogora, The Mysterians, Atragon and Varan the Unbelievable. Other extras include three brief segments one for each monster Kamoeba, Gezora and Ganime that are featured in the film. These brief segments give background details on the monsters and their origins. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with producers Fumio Tanaka and Tomoyuki Tanaka. The audio commentary is in Japanese and it comes with English subtitles. They are both lively and informative as they go into great detail about this project and working at Toho in general.
Overall Space Amoeba is Toho’s last great non-Godzilla monster movie and Media Blasters gives Space Amoeba its best English friendly home video release to date, highly recommended.