Thursday, December 6, 2012
Godzilla Vs Biollante (1989)
"Godzilla's 17th Outing."
Godzilla Vs Biollante, the seventeenth outing of Japan's biggest monster, makes it's way to the U.S. on Blu-ray for the first time since it's original VHS release in 1992 by HBO Video for Miramax, pre-Disney buyout. After the events in the 1984 reboot, Godzilla (or Godzilla 1985 to us in the States); Godzilla is reawakened after a Middle Eastern terror cell and a group known as "Bio-Major" blow up Mt. Mihara. Which is where he was sucked into at the end of the last film. At the same time, a mad scientist takes Godzilla cells and mixes them with the DNA of a rose and accidentally creates a giant monster named Biollante. The first incarnation of Biollante is in the form of a beautiful rose but with some nasty vines with Godzilla-esque jaws. Biollante is quickly defeated and burned up by Godzilla's heat ray. Biollante returns in a deadlier form ready to take on Godzilla and save Japan.
I remember being about four years old whenever I saw this, probably around 1993. This was the first Godzilla film I saw in it's original aspect ratio as HBO presented all VHS copies of this film in 1.85:1. A rarity as most Godzilla films were presented in their hacked up 1.33:1 crops. What I love about this film is that this is like Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla in a way, we have a monster that is Godzilla-esque. Especially when we have the final form of Biollante going up against Godzilla, it's DNA really makes it close to Godzilla. I give the film a 5/5.
The video source is the Toho remaster from 2008. Which is amazing that both Echo Bridge and the horrible Media Blasters can get their hands on the Japanese prints as opposed to being handed the international prints by Toho. My biggest complaint about this restoration is that since this is the Japanese remasters, it has Japanese subtitles burned into the video for whenever the film has English dialogue. The overall image is soft; it doesn't hurt the detail at all in the image. There is some slight compression that is noticeable when there's smoke, but only if you are looking for it. 4/5.
We have three audio tracks present on the disc; Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA; Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0; and English Mono Dolby Digital 1.0. For an old English Mono track that seems that it's sourced from a VHS tape, it's passable. The Japanese DTS-HD MA track is beautiful. I believe this is the remixed audio created back in the early 2000's. The 2.0 Japanese track sounds ok. I give it a 5/5.
We have about an hour of bonus material, presented in SD. This making of was presented on the Thai DVD that I own, so I have seen it before. It contains behind the scenes footage as well as deleted scenes. Then we have concept models made for what Biollante was originally supposed to look like. There was like three or so designs that we had on it. It's pretty amazing. I give the extras a 3.5/5.
For us Godzilla fans, this is a no brainer, considering that it's going for $7.99. This Blu-ray is amazing and is a must own. We got the same restoration as Japan got and for a fraction of the price that it goes for over in Japan. I give this release a 4.5/5.