Seen every Godzilla movie hundreds of times over?
Gamera flixs don’t seem as exciting as they once were?
Think you’ve might have seen it all where US releases are concerned? MaybeÂ maybe not.
A few years ago, as part of their “Icons of” line, Sony/Columbia PicturesÂ released Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection. A three disc collection of someÂ classics movies, all directed by the legendary Ishiro Honda. One of theÂ creators of Godzilla… for the two or three of you not in the know, I’mÂ assuming it’s a really big rock you guys have been under but I digress. TheÂ collection includes the classic Mothra and two movies released for the firstÂ time on DVD, The H-Man and Battle in Outer Space.
The latter two are the reason to buy this particular set. To my knowledgeÂ neither movie has been released on the home video market in any format beforeÂ now. Granted my research on thisÂ particularÂ subject didn’t go farther theÂ wikipedia and imdb so I may be wrong. But the two, along with Mothra, did haveÂ a US theatrical release. And if you grew up in the 70s and 80s you might haveÂ caught one or two of them on a weekend movie matinee on TV, hosted by a horrorÂ character type of host if you were lucky.
I should go into each movie so you’ll know what to expect before you buy.
I’ll start with the one most of you have probably seen several times now, justÂ to get it out of the way, Mothra. This is the original one that has seenÂ several VHS and DVD releases. You more than likely know this one by heart. AÂ Group of scientists(and aÂ reporter) travel to an island they think is destroyedÂ by nuclear testing only to find a lush tropical area as well as the tribesmenÂ and two teeny, tiny littleÂ priestessesÂ that inhabit the hiddenÂ paradise. One ofÂ the scientist takes something they shouldn’t and the world, and the viewers,Â are introduced to the island’s mysticalÂ protectorÂ Mothra.
The second movie in the collection is Battle in Outer Space. Now this movie isÂ considered to be a loose sequel to the Mysterians. Evil alien (why are theÂ space aliens evil 95 percent of the time?) target Earth and start abductingÂ severalÂ people. Of course Earth doesn’t take this lying down and quicklyÂ develop a space mission to stop them. But the aliens find out and plant aÂ saboteurÂ on the mission. Now on a personal note I’m pretty sure this one mightÂ have been shown on those weekend matinees I mentioned earlier because some ofÂ it did seemÂ familiar.
Which brings us to the last film in this triple feature The H-Man. The moviesÂ starts with a person apparently melting in the rain, which leads to severalÂ similar death including a man withÂ criminalÂ ties. The police suspect hisÂ girlfriend in hisÂ disappearance, as does hisÂ formerÂ associates, so to speak.Â But a researcher friend of the one of the investigator thinks there might beÂ something else involved. And he starts to think a man made of hydrogen mightÂ be the culprit(an H-Man get it… never mind move along nothing to see here).Â Now not to spoil anything but they do figure out a way to defeat the H-Man andÂ I’m assuming the plan works… I’m just saying might have wanted to put just aÂ little more thought into it. If you watch it you’ll know what I’m talkingÂ about.
All three movies are presented in their original “Toho Scope” film ratio. AndÂ all three movies have bothÂ EnglishÂ and Japanese audio track and of courseÂ English subtitles. And as in some cases in movies released at the time theÂ Japanese version is longer than the English version, sometimes by severalÂ minutes. And I have to say that I was actually surprised at the amount ofÂ English that was in the Japanese version of Mothra. I should also point outÂ point that these movies were released during the late 50s and early 60s soÂ there is no CGI anywhere.But there are a lot of models,Â miniaturesÂ and drawn inÂ special effects. So if old schoolÂ practicalÂ effects turns you off just beware.Â And if those type of effects get you going then you guys might want to keep aÂ box of tissues handy. (Joking) For those of you who have watched Toho films from this particular era will see some familiar faces cast in some of the roles.
The set itself isn’t that bad. All three movies are in a regular size DVDÂ case. The one downside to this packaging is that these’s no middle flap like there usually is withÂ cases like this with multiple DVDs inside. Instead they’re allÂ stacked on top of each other, so scratching might be an issue. Extras are aÂ tad slime. Commentary tracks are available for Mothra and Battle in OuterÂ Space and some previews of various collections on the H-Man disc. I not sure whyÂ there’s not a commentary track for H-man, perhaps they couldn’t record one inÂ time before the release date. And IÂ personallyÂ would have liked someÂ theatrical trailers for the three movies but what can you do?
Now would I recommend this set? If you can deal with the lack of extras andÂ old school special effects then yes I would recommend it. If you’re lookingÂ for a daikaiju movie set, well Mothra the only movie that fits the bill. TheÂ other two are your standard sci-fi and sci-fi/horror type of movies. I wouldÂ give it a 4 out of 5 stars.