Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
October 6, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is a film that many Godzilla fans have wanted to see released on Blu-ray and DVD. Especially its uncut/uncensored version. I absolutely enjoyed this film and if you are a kaiju film fan, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © 1984 Toho, Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla
YEAR OF FILM: 1984
DURATION: 103 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Kraken Releasing/Toho
RATED: PG-13 (For Sci-Fi Violence and Brief Mild Language)
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Directed by Koji Hashimoto
Written by Hideichi Nagahara
Produced by Norio Hayashi, Kiyomi Kanazawa
Associate Producer: Fumio Tanaka
Executive Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka
Music by Reijiro Koroku
Cinematography by Kazutami Hara
Casting by Tadao Tanaka
Edited by Yoshitami Kuroiwa
Production Design by Akira Sakuragi
Art Direction by Akira Sakuragi
Set Decoration by Akio Tashiro
Costume Design by Kenji Kawasaki
Ken Tanaka as Goro Maki
Yasuko Sawaguchi as Naoko Okumura
Yosuke Natsuki as Dr. Hayashida
Shin Takuma as Hiroshi Okumura
Keiju Kobayashi as Prime Minister Mitamura
Eitaro Ozawa as Finance Minister Mitammura
Taketoshi Naito as Takegami, Chief Cabinet Secretary
Mizuho Suzuki as Foreign Minister Emori
Junkichi Orimoto as Director-General of the Defense Agency
With a higher budget and more advanced special effects than any previous film in the series, THE RETURN OF GODZILLA® returns Japan’s greatest monster to his intended role as an epic force of destruction and the film’s spectacular success re-launched the Godzilla® franchise after nearly a decade in suspended animation.
Unfortunately for North American audiences, this direct sequel to the original 1954 feature film has previously only been available in a highly edited version that cut over twenty minutes of original footage and effects, changed key plot points and altered the dark dramatic tone and narrative by inserting additional scenes and humor in an attempt to “Americanize” the film. But now, at long last, the acclaimed kaiju masterpiece finally hits American shores in all its uncut original glory! Get ready for the biggest Godzilla® epic that you’ve never seen as Kraken Releasing unleashes the complete and unedited THE RETURN OF GODZILLA®!
With a string of Godzilla films since the original 1954 film, Toho decided to do a reboot of the Godzilla franchise for its 1984 release.
The 16th film in the Godzilla franchise and the first film in the Heisei series, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” was created to be a direct sequel of the original 1954 film.
So, as many of the Godzilla films became lighter toned and featured Godzilla taking on other kaiju monsters, the 1984 film is a return to the darker tone of the film and featuring Godzilla as the antagonist of Japan.
While the film was released by New World Pictures as “Godzilla 1985” and re-edited to feature footage with Raymond Burr (to connect to the film, “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!”), the original Japanese version will be released for the first time in the US uncut and uncensored courtesy of Kraken Releasing.
The film begins with the crew of the Yahata-Maru Japanese fishing vessel being caught in strong currents after a volcanic eruption on Daikoku Island.
As the fishing vessel drifts into shore and the island erupts, a giant monster comes out of the volcano.
A few days later, we see journalist Goro Maki (portrayed by Goro Maki) sailing in the area and spotting the vessel. As he goes inside, to his shock, he finds nearly everyone killed.
He finds a survivor inside a locker, Hiroshi Okamura (portrayed by Shin Takuma) who has been wounded. What Goro doesn’t know is inside the boat is a giant Shockirus sea louse which attacks him immediately. To Goro’s suprise, a sea louse which is usual a few inches long is several feet tall and nearly kills him until he is rescued by Okamura. Okamura tells him of the huge monster he and the crew had come across.
As Goro and Okamura are rescued, Goro writes an article but his editor refuses to publish it because the huge monster has been reported to be Godzilla and if they publish the news that Godzilla has returned, it may cause widespread panic. Meanwhile, the Japanese government continues to find out how to protect Japan in case Godzilla attacks, knowing that he needs radiation to recharge.
Meanwhile, when a Russian submarine spots an anomaly in the ocean, it tries to attack it with torpedoes, thinking it may be the Americans. The anomaly turns out to be Godzilla who destroys the submarine and killing the crew inside it.
This causes the Russians to go on full alert and accuses the Americans and World War III could possibly erupt. This forces the Japanese government to lessen the tensions by announcing that Godzilla has returned.
As the Japanese, the American and Russian government have their own thoughts of stopping Godzilla, one which the Americans and Russians feel is necessary is to nuke Godzilla, the Japanese government want to find ways to destroy Godzilla their own way.
Professor Makoto Hayashida (portrayed by Yosuke Natsuki), Hiroshi Okumura and his sister Naoko (portrayed by Yasuko Sawaguchi) and Goro Maki try to find ways of stopping Godzilla and observing Godilla being distracted by birds.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government puts their trust into their superweapon, Super X to take on Godzilla.
Can anyone stop the terror of Godzilla?
VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is presented in 16:9 anamorphic and English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD. The film features quite a bit of action sequences, so there is good use of the surround channels during these moments. Dialogue is crystal clear.
It’s important to note that the film will be available on Blu-ray for those who want the best in picture and audio quality.
The film is presented with optional English subtitles.
“Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” comes with the Japanese theatrical promo.
As a fan of kaiju films and also having watched many of the Godzilla films. May it be from the Showa Series, Heisei Series, Millennium Series to the recent Shin Godzilla release in Japan this year.
While the original film from the Showa timeline that debuted in 1954 still remains my favorite Godzilla film as it introduces us to Godzilla and the terror the behemoth brought to the people of Japan, somehow the films have went to a more lighthearted storyline.
While we would see Godzilla taking on Mothra, King Ghidorah, Biollante, Mechagodzilla to name a few, and also to see Godzilla’s son, Minilla and humans helping Godzilla, while entertaining its own way, it departed from the original dark storyline of the original film.
To remedy that, Toho rebooted the series with “The Return of Godzilla” and is known as the Heisei series (only one Godzilla film was released during this time). The film is a direct sequel to the 1954 film and ignores the lighthearted films in the series from the Showa era.
And for me, this return of Godzilla was entertaining, especially how it incorporated the real life tensions between the U.S. and Russia during the early 1980’s. And Godzilla was a true antagonist and we would see the Japanese trying to find ways to defeat Godzilla, but now seeing other countries interfere and wanting to nuke it. No doubt a message about the nuclear arms race that scared everyone in the early ’80s.
While the film was acquired by New World Pictures, the film was recut and re-dubbed with the addition of American shot scenes with Raymond Burr. The film was only released in VHS and LD and has not been released on video since.
In 2015, Toho struck a deal with Kraken Releasing to release “The Return of Godzilla” and the version to be released is the uncut/uncensored version and it’s definitely the version of the film that I wanted to see.
As the picture quality and the audio is good as it can get on DVD, for those wanting the best picture quality and lossless audio will want to go for the Blu-ray release of the film. Included is the Japanese and English dub in 5.1 Surround Sound. And while I’m not a big fan of ’70s and ’80s English dubbing of kaiju film (or Asian martial arts films), it was great to watch this film in its original Japanese audio presentation. Unfortunately, there is no major special features aside from the theatrical promo but aside from the first film, Godzilla films DVD or Blu-ray releases never really had any major special features at all.
Overall, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is a film that many Godzilla fans have wanted to see released on Blu-ray and DVD. Especially its uncut/uncensored version. I absolutely enjoyed this film and if you are a kaiju film fan, “Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla” is highly recommended!
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