follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Classic Media presents
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

"Do all of you still not understand? Earth will perish. King Ghidorah will turn the Earth into a dead planet."
- Princess Maas Doulina Salno (Akiko Wakabayashi)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 17, 2007

Stars: Yosuke Natsuki, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akiko Wakabayashi
Other Stars: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Hisaya Ito, Susumu Kurobe, Kenji Sahara
Director: Ishiro Honda

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (giant monster violence, gunplay violence, mild language)
Run Time: 01h:32m:57s
Release Date: June 05, 2007
UPC: 796019802734
Genre: fantasy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B BB-C- B+

DVD Review

In Godzilla's fifth outing, one of his most memorable foes was introduced: Ghidorah, a gold, three-headed lightning-breathing monster with a mean streak that makes the rest of Toho's stable seem like downright pacifists. Unlike the earth-born Gojira, Mothra and Rodan, Ghidorah apparently comes from the stars (its origin is left rather vague) as part of a plot for destruction of our world, and Ghidorah is more than happy to comply, wreaking havoc at a pace that will entertain fans of the kaiju eiga.

The plot is horrifically complicated and lacking in any sort of logical flow; many different plot threads interweave almost at random, making it feel a bit of a mess. Tokyo Police Detective Shindo (Yosuke Natsuki) is assigned to be the bodyguard of Princess Maas Doulina Salno (Akiko Wakabayashi) princess of fictional Sergina (where they apparently wear Elizabethan costume, for reasons also unexplained). But on the way, the Princess is lifted off her airplane by a flying saucer, moments before the plane explodes. She later reappears claiming to be a Venusian from 5000 years in the past, prophesying doom and destruction. Shindo's sister Naoko (Yuriko Hoshi) is a television reporter covering professor Murai (Hiroshi Koizumi), who is investigating a series of meteor showers. As the princess' prophesies of Armageddon become true, Rodan and Godzilla revive and go on a rampage. The miniature women, the Peanuts, who lead the worship of Mothra (now back in larval form), bring the lepidopteran back to Japan, in hopes of convincing Godzilla and Rodan to help defend the earth against Ghidorah and his rampage. In the meantime, a disgruntled minister of Sergina is determined to assassinate the Princess.

What helps keep the picture amusing is the scattering of monster mayhem and battles throughout most of the movie, once the mass of plot threads is finally set into motion. The effects work is somewhat uneven; the flying sequences for Ghidorah are well done (even if there's no way those flimsy wings could move that gigantic bulk), but those for Rodan are pretty poor indeed. The most interesting part is the humanization of the lead creatures. After a history of mindless rampaging, Godzilla has a sense of rivalry with Rodan, irritation at Mothra, a sense of humor about when bad things happen to the other monsters, and a childish glee at his own prowess. It's occasionally silly but it lends the monster a humanizing aspect. The fights with Rodan are a bit repetitive, though there's still plenty of amusement to be found in the contrast of the brute tactics vs. the tactics of finesse in flight. Perhaps the most memorable sequence is the loppy one in which Mothra attempts to convince Godzilla and Rodan to defend the world against Ghidorah, with the Peanuts providing translation. Another memorable sequence is the Peanuts' rendition of a song to Mothra that is hauntingly beautiful. And of course Akira Ifukube's score contains plenty of familiar cues.

The cast is reasonably good, with Natsuki making a reasonably competent lead, and the assassination plot allows him to go into full-blown 007 mode by the end. The female leads are interesting, with Hoshi being appealing and charmingly headstrong, while Wakabayashi lends Princess Salno a distant weirdness even before she claims to be taken over by Venusian spirits. She's subjected to quite a few abuses during the picture, ranging from medical experimentation to being shot. There's a bit of excessive gunplay and a surprising amount of blood for such a movie, so it may be too much for younger viewers. There's a fair amount of comedy, but it blends well into the story and the little boys in short pants are thankfully kept to a minimum of screen time. Ther ending manages to be rather unsatisfying, leading as it does to the sequel, Invasion of Astro-Monster (Godzilla vs. Monster Zero in the US).

The disc also includes the re-cut US version Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster, which rearranges a number of sequences and changes the flow to improve the logic in places, but at the cost of much of Ifukube's score.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Both the original Japanese and US versions are presented in full Tohoscope 2.35:1 ratio, anamorphic widescreen. While this is admirable, the elements have obviously not been treated well over the years. There is frequent speckling throughout, and the picture is rather soft. Black levels are quite weak, but color is generally acceptable. It's certainly a major step above the usual bootleg-quality video, but there could still be room for improvement.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoJapanese, Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The mono audio has moderate crackle and hiss as the main defect. Range is unsurprisingly limited, and audio quality is charitably described as thin. It gets the job done but it's hard too say much more than that.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by David Kalat
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo and image galleries
Extras Review: All Day Entertainment mogul and Godzilla historian David Kalat offers a highly enthusiastic commentary on the English-language version of the movie, and he offers not only a defense of dubbing, but explains why he believes the US version is generally superior to the Japanese (other than the regrettable replacement of the Ifukube score, which even he admits is tragic). He offers plenty of background on the cast and crew, and is having such fun talking about the picture you can't help but be amused along with him. He starts to run on a bit fast at the end, though, as the clock ticks down. The other key extra is a biography (7m:12s) of Eiji Tsuburaya, who was responsible for the effects of the early Godzilla films. The Japanese version includes a Japanese trailer among its special features, and both versions include a poster and photo gallery.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

One of the most fun of the Japanese giant monster movies, with a reasonably good transfer and some good extras. See whether David Kalat can convince you that the US version is actually superior to the original.


Back to top

Microsoft Store

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store