Plot: What’s it about?
The menace of Godzilla has been absent for five decades, a period long enough for most people to put his presence to rest. So a lot of citizens don’t even know about Godzilla, while others are disinterested in the chaos the beast once caused. After all, the monster was put to rest and has never returned, so all is well that ends well. Now an American submarine has been demolished, an incident that Admiral Tachibana is convinced was the work of Godzilla. The Admiral’s parents were killed in Godzilla’s original rampage, so he approaches the government right away, in order to fend off another potential disaster. Godzilla is soon revealed to be alive once again, but even then, his presence doesn’t concern the government. As Godzilla continues on his path of rage, he is unable to be stopped by normal military methods. With few options, the government scrambles for a solution, but only a mystical cure seems to have potential. An old man named Isayama awakens the sacred guardians of Japan, Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, who have been in a magical slumber for some time. At the same time, Tachibana is preparing to mount his own assault, to settle the score with Godzilla. But even against a determined man and three mystical beasts, can Godzilla be stopped before another disaster unfolds?
As you can tell from the title, this movie is an all-out battle royale of kaiju superstars, so the expectations have to be high. GMK (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah) is one of those movies that looks like it could be one of the best genre offerings of all time, or perhaps burn out and be a total disappointment. After all, a lot of recent Godzilla films have been lackluster, so the doubts were more than reasonable. But this time, Godzilla is back to his prime and then some, in perhaps his most sadistic, vicious state ever. The green machine kills for pleasure this time, burning and crushing citizens at will. So no, Godzilla is not the heroic kaiju he was once upon a time, but if you ask me, this heel turn is for the best. That allows Godzilla to be more about smash & bash, which as we all know, is what the beast does best. In addition to Godzilla, we also have Mothra and King Ghidorah of course, but the fun doesn’t end there. Baragon also surfaces in GMK, which means the battles are sure to be epic. Shusuke Kaneko, who directed the excellent recent Gamera films, looses his beasts with a vengeance and kaiju has never been this brutal. The battles are complex and violent, the kind of clashes genre fans love to experience. In truth, GMK is one of the best kaiju films I’ve ever seen, which is a compliment, since I’ve seen countless entries. Columbia’s disc is lax on extras, but the movie itself is just too damn good to miss. A loaded Special Edition would have been awesome, but even this bare bones edition is worth a purchase.
Video: How does it look?
GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is an excellent movie, so it deserves an excellent visual treatment, which is just what Columbia delivers with this release. As a 2001 release, the elements haven’t been worn in the least, so we have a superb source print here. As such, the visuals are so crisp and refined, you’ll think you’ve died and went to kaiju heaven. The image has a lot of depth, which means even subtle visual touches are prominent. The rich, vivid colors don’t miss a beat, so hues are bright and vibrant, which really adds to the visual punch. I was quite impressed with the black levels also, as contrast is deep and stark, with no flaws in the least. I have to applaud Columbia for this treatment, as Godzilla fans have never had it so good.
Audio: How does it sound?
I had just watched Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, so when the audio performed the same this time around, I decided to port over my comments. In a move that sure to thrill fans, this release includes the original Japanese soundtrack, in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, no less. This is a fantastic inclusion, as we can view the film as it was intended, so let’s hope Columbia continues this trend with their future kaiju releases. The mix is quite good too, as the smashes, crashes, and bashes of the film offer ample chances for the surrounds to show off. Whenever Godzilla starts to trash the town, the surrounds come to life and put you right in the middle of the chaos. So when glass breaks and buildings collapse, you might find yourself ducking for cover in your own home. The mix doesn’t have the sheer power of the elite level soundtracks out there, but it has some punch and sounds terrific. The dialogue is clean also, while the music is full and rich as well. This disc also includes a new English language track, as well as subtitles in English and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.