Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 19th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, March 14th, 1975
Director: Ishirô Honda
Writer: Yukiko Takayama
Cast: Katsuhiko Sasaki, Tomoko Ai, Akihiko Hirata, Katsumasa Uchida, Goro Mutsumi, Tadao Nakamaru, Shin Roppongi, Tomoe Mari, Toru Ibuki, Kenji Sahara, Kotaro Tomita
DVD released: April 29th, 2008
Approximate running time: 83 minutes (Japanese Version), 89 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: Aliens wanting to take over Earth team up with a disgruntled scientist who helps them build a 400 lb robot named Mechagodzilla.
Terror of Mechagodzilla was the fifteenth and final film in the original Godzilla film series. Terror of Mechagodzilla is also the last feature film directed by Ishirô Honda a filmmaker who more than any at Toho helped shaped their Sci-Fi films and the Godzilla series. The plot for Terror of Mechagodzilla revolves around a scientist named Doctor Shinji Mafune whose research regarding a dinosaur that he discovered was shunned by the rest of the scientific community. An alien race helps save Doctor Mafune’s daughter Katsura which leads to a partnership between the two to create a robot dinosaur to destroy mankind. The scientists of Earth try desperately to find a way to stop this robot known as Mechagodzilla. In the end Earth’s only hope for survival is paring up with their once enemy Godzilla. The plot bears some similarities to the previous entry in the Godzilla series Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.
Visually director Ishirô Honda is in top form and this is an outstanding swan song from the “Showa” era Godzilla’s most influential director. The special effects and the monsters are all well done. The battle scenes between Godzilla and his two foes Terror of Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus are wonderfully choreographed. The original U.S. version of the film follows the Japanese version very closely with minimal changes outside of an opening pro-log not included in the Japanese version of the film. The cast for Terror of Mechagodzilla features many actors/actress’ who have appeared in previous Godzilla films and they are all very good in their respective roles. The film’s most shocking scene is a scene where Katsura’s breasts are exposed during an operation. This is one of the rare moments of nudity in the Godzilla film series. The most memorable performance in the films is Tomoko Ai who portrays Doctor Mafune’s daughter Katsura. Tomoko Ai performance as Katsura ranks near the top of all the female leads from the “Showa” era Godzilla films.
Ultimately Terror of Mechagodzilla despite its pessimistic story it remains one of the more fascinating of the “Showa” era Godzilla films.
The original Japanese version of Terror of Mechagodzilla is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Japanese print looks really good with strong black levels, colors and details look crisp throughout. The English language version of the film is presented in a cropped 1.85:1 aspect ratio during the opening pro-log. Then the image is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen for the rest of the film. Overall the English language version looks very similar transfer wise when compared to the transfer for the Japanese language version.
The original Japanese version of Terror of Mechagodzilla comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese and English subtitles that are error free and easy to follow. This audio mix sounds clear, evenly balanced and there are no audio defects. The English language version of the film comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio while more than serviceable it is not in as good of shape as the audio is on the Japanese language version of Terror of Mechagodzilla.
Extras include a poster/stills gallery and a ten minute segment about actress from Toho’s Sci-Fi films of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s titled “The Women of Godzilla”. The main extra is a superb audio commentary with Godzilla experts Keith Aiken and Bob Johnson. The audio commentary is only accessible while watching the English language version of Terror of Mechagodzilla. This is another first rate DVD release from Classic Media that comes with a handful of insightful extras and multiple versions of Terror of Mechagodzilla making this release a must have addition to every Godzilla fans collection.