"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog


Thursday, March 31, 2011

"GODZILLA VS. MEGALON" COMING TO R1 DVD!
First Official Home Video Release In The Works


GODZILLA VS. MEGALON ©1973 Toho Co,, Ltd.

Right off of the bat, I have to begin by stating that this is not some April Fool's post. Now, after more than three decades of questionable cropped and dupey public domain copies of Jun Fukuda's ultimate kids monster movie, GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973) is finally getting the deluxe, anamorphic release that it deserves, according to some sources. Sure, most serious Godzilla fans seem to revile its mere existence, because of its singular attempt at imitating the colorful, kinetic, and psychotronic Terebi Manga and Henshin Hero programs which had taken over the Japanese airwaves and seized the minds of tens of millions of viewers, at that time. Hence the faux Ultraman stand-in, Jet Jaguar. While it was a far cry from the original GODZILLA (1954), MEGALON was emblematic of trends in Japanese pop culture in the early-to-mid 1970s.

After the release of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS in 1968, Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka thought that if Godzilla were to continue, the films would be specifically made and marketed to children. Starting in 1969, with the release of Honda's GODZILLA'S REVENGE the subsequent films were issued as part of Toho's "Champion Festivals", a package of cartoons and re-edited kaiju eiga to keep kiddies occupied for hours, while their mothers shopped in peace. While it is far more polished than its predecessor, GODZILLA VS. GIGAN (1972), MEGALON is far more juvenile — like a kid's daydream — right in step with Tanaka's dictum. While the battlefields are sparse, and the city-destruction relegated to stock footage, there are some nice miniature effects (the destruction of the dam), with impressive photography by Yuzuru Aizawa (DESTROY ALL MONSTERS).

As for the proposed upcoming release, according to a relative of one of the people who worked on MEGALON, a licensed Special Edition is being prepped, and will be replete with special features — including an audio commentary — which are underway or being negotiated for this proposed anamorphic release for the US market. It is not known whether MEGALON will be issued on DVD and/or Blu-ray at this writing, but we have been told that the film has is being licensed by Media Blasters. The New Jersey-based label made a mark issuing a number of classic Toho Fantasy Films, including THE MYSTERIANS (1957), MATANGO (1963), and ATRAGON (1963). Previously, MEGALON was offered to Sony, when they picked up a number of Godzilla titles for release in 2004/05, but passed due to a glut of public domain releases.

In any case, will GODZILLA VS. MEGALON finally be released in all of its scrumtrulescent glory for American fans to rejoice? Toho is notorious for being difficult to work with and Media Blasters' recent stability has been in question, so let's hope that they both can come to a quick agreement and get the wheels on this running as soon as possible. Personally, I can't wait to see a visibly embarrassed Robert Dunham wearing a silky toga and silver tiara in glorious HD, and turn up the volume on legendary vocalist Masato Shimon singing "Godzilla & Jaguar, Punch! Punch! Punch!" — and let myself be transported back to 1976, when things were more simpler and sweeter for children, and Godzilla was our undefeatable King of the Monsters!

9 comments:

rogue evolent said...

This is so cool August. Thanks not only for alerting us to the upcoming release, but also for the nice history and back-story about the film!
- Jay (r/e)

Hellbilly Hollywood said...

Yeah, I dont care what anyone says, this is my favorite Godzilla movie. The monsters, the soundtrack, the vibe. I am very excited to hear this news and so glad I didnt buy one of those expensive copies on Amazon! Thanks for the post.

prof. grewbeard said...

this is great news and yes, i did think it was an April's Fool joke. saw this one in the theatre back in the day, sat through it three times!

Soiled Sinema said...

Yes!!!

-mAQ

docvoltage said...

I sprung for both the German DVD (which is from a battered print) and the legit Australian R4 release which is anamorphic, but perhaps a tad soft. Triple-dip? If the package is like previous Media Blasters release...you bet !

Danny Coffin said...

Man,August,I REALLY hope this comes to pass!''G VS MEGALON'' was the first Godzilla movie I saw on the big screen(a drive-in,in fact)&I will ALWAYS love this flick.The amount of vitriol heaped upon this film&''GODZILLA'S REVENGE'' could probably fill a book ,but I frankly don't give a damn-Megalon,Gigan&Gabara are among my all-time favorite kaiju...
Thanks for posting this!

Nathan said...

Oh hell yes, now all I need is Return and Biollante and my collection will be complete :)

Claymore Cutlass said...

Too bad it's not true.

August Ragone said...

Claymore,
Actually, the story is true. Whether the DVD comes out or not, is another. Some of the people involved behind-the-scenes have been dodging this by denying it. Please check out the follow-up stories on this debacle.