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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents

Godzilla the Series: Monster Mayhem (1998-99)

Monique: Godzilla! What's he doing here?
Nick: He must have sensed I was in trouble.
Mendel: Or he felt the sudden radical reversed ionic polarity in the air.
Monique: Actually, it was a rhetorical question.
- Brigitte Bako, Ian Ziering, Malcolm Denare

Stars: Ian Ziering, Malcolm Danare, Rino Romano, Tom Kenny, Charity James, Brigitte Bako
Other Stars: Estelle Harris, Tate Donovan, Roddy McDowall, Clive Revill
Director: Frank Squillace, Alan Caldwell, Sam Liu

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (monster mayhem)
Run Time: 01h:04m:24s
Release Date: 2006-03-28
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

In the wake of the U.S. film version of Godzilla, starring Matthew Broderick, a cartoon series made its way to television and lasted two years. Having little to do with the film beyond the less-than-spectacular design of Godzilla, it takes off on its own tangent with Godzilla working with HEAT (Humanitarian Enviornmental Analysis Team) to fight monsters and giant mutations that threaten the earth. The team features leader Nick Tatoloulos (Ian Ziering), cowardly scientist Dr. Mendel Craven (Malcolm Denare), Hispanic wiseacre Randy Hernandez (Rino Romano), Dr. Elsie Chapman (Charity James), weapons specialist Monique Dupre (Brigitte Bako) and robot N.I.G.E.L. (voiced by artist Tom Kenny). This DVD collects three episodes from the first season of the series, all featuring various giant monsters in combat with Godzilla.

In episode 7, What Dreams May Come (original air date 11/7/1998), the HEAT team is faced with the mystery of a gigantic electrical monster wreaking havoc in New York City. It seems to be connected with the subconscious of a disgruntled bus employee, of all things. Even Godzilla is stymied, since his breath just makes the creature, dubbed the Crackler, even bigger. There's plenty of city-wrecking mayhem, as numerous landmarks are destroyed. Mets fans will enjoy the lengthy Shea Stadium sequences as well.

The team heads south to Mexico for Bird of Paradise (episode 10, original air date 12/5/1998). Elsie's old sweetheart, ornithologist Lawrence Cohen (Tate Donovan) has accidentally released the Quetzalcoatl from an ancient temple and the HEAT team tries to recage the creature. Godzilla doesn't get much to do in this episode until nearly the end of the program, but the creature design of the Quetzalcoatl, like a gigantic Archaeopteryx, is impressive. There is some poor writing though, such as when Quetzalcoatl is referred to as an "urban legend." Well, urban Teotihuacan, perhaps.

The final episode on the disc, episode 11, Deadloch (original air date 2/6/1999) takes the gang to Scotland where they investigate sudden activity by the Loch Ness Monster. For some reason it seems to have decided to destroy the Pisces Institute of Dr. Hugh Trevor (Roddy McDowall, in one of his last parts before his death). There's an entertaining comic subplot as Dr. Craven is suckered by Scottish con man Eustace McPhail (Clive Revill); he gets off a great line about the "great haggis famine" that may go over younger viewers' heads. It's probably the most engaging episode on the disc.

The animation is not too limited, though it does seem that corners have been cut by making everything move in slightly slow motion, which I found annoying. The stories are presented with the assumption that the viewer already knows all about HEAT and why Godzilla is working with them (the first episode explained that this is not the Godzilla of the film, but an egg hatched by HEAT and trained to work with them). The action is plentiful and the monsters are more than happy to wreak the requisite destruction, so young Godzilla fans will find a lot to like here.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Unlike most offerings from Sony/Columbia, there's no sign of artificial edge enhancement here. The picture is quite beautiful, with finely delineated linework and brightly vivid coloring throughout. No damage is visible. The only thing keeping it from an A+ grade is minor aliasing visible on curved lines.

Image Transfer Grade: A

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround audio is very active and lifelike; Godzilla's characteristic howl echoes through the speakers with great immediacy. There's plenty of solid deep bass and the music by Jim Latham comes across nicely. Very clean, without hiss or noise. An exemplary Dolby Surround track.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Open Season, Zathura
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than two unrelated trailers and a handy "Play All" button, there are no extras.

Extras Grade: D

Final Comments

Some good building-wrecking selections from the series, with an excellent audio and video transfer.

Mark Zimmer 2006-03-27