I'm watching the 2 disc 2012 Criterion DVD set of Godzilla today. Instead of just watching the 2 movies I'm listening to the David Kalat commentary on the two movies that come in the set. One is the original 1954 Japanese film and the other is the 1956 US version. The dvd is packed with some nice features. Here is the list from the Criterion site:
- New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- New high-definition digital restoration of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Terry Morse’s 1956 reworking of the original (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- Audio commentary for both movies by film historian David Kalat
- New interviews with actors Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima and special effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai
- Interview with legendary Godzilla score composer Akira Ifukube
- Featurette detailing Godzilla’s photographic effects, introduced by special effects director Koichi Kawakita and special effects photographer Motoyoshi Tomioka
- New interview with Japanese-film critic Tadao Sato
- The Unluckiest Dragon, an illustrated audio essay featuring historian Greg Pflugfelder describing the tragic fate of the fishing vessel Daigo Fukuryu Maru, a real-life event that inspired Godzilla
- Trailers for Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman.
Kalat's commentaries are rather chatty and personal but they have a lot of information and history on the films. The interviews and featurettes are good. You can learn more about the Lucky Dragon #5 and their encounter with the H-Bomb. The interview with Tadao Sato helps remind us of the importance of the original Godzilla film and the big guy's relevance today. I haven't read the essay yet. For those that like the big guy from Japan, or want to learn more about him, the set is a nice addition to your sf collection. Well worth picking up.