• Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster/Ebirah Horror Of The Deep



    Released by: Section 23
    Released on: May 6th, 2014.
    Director: Jun Fukuda
    Cast: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Chôtarô Tôgin
    Year: 1966
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    The Movie:

    The first of director Jun Fukuda’s five Godzilla films, this 1966 pictures introduces us to Ryota (Toru Watanabe), a teenage boy who is determined to track down his brother Yata (Toru Ibuki), believed to be lost at sea. To do this, he’s going to need a boat but he doesn’t have any money to buy one. Through a completely random set of circumstances, he winds up at a dance contest where the prize is… a boat. But it’s already started, Ryota is too late. He quickly befriends Nita (Hideo Sunazuka) and Ichino (Chotaro Togin), two of the contestants who didn’t make it to the finish, and they agree to show him some boats. They cruise around a marina and board a boat that they figure is empty. Oops. Turns out Yashi (Akira Takarada) is onboard, and he’s not really too happy that they’ve come onto this ship without permission. He pulls a gun on them but eventually wind up sleeping the night away on the boat. When they wake up they find themselves floating around somewhere in the South Pacific and shortly thereafter the boat is attacked by a giant lobster-like monster named Ebirah.

    The boat gets trashed and the four men wind up washed ashore a small island. It turns out this island is inhabited by a tribe of natives who worship Mothra but that a militant terrorist organization named Red Bamboo have enslaved them. They force them to work in a factory producing a yellow spray that they use on their boats to keep Ebirah away. The four men soon team up with a pretty native girl named Dayo (Kumi Mizuno) to try and save the natives, completely unaware that Godzilla is slumbering in a nearby cavern. When he wakes up and Ebirah shows his ugly head again, the fate of the island and its inhabitants is put into pretty serious jeopardy…

    Although Godzilla doesn’t really do much in this movie until two thirds of the way through the picture, Ebirah Horror Of The Deep (which was retitled Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster when it originally debuted on American television) is plenty entertaining, if sometimes for all the wrong reasons. There’s a fairly inspired sense of random lunacy running throughout the movie from the dance contest through to the scenes where Godzilla and Ebirah stand around throwing giant boulders at one another. The Red Bamboo guys, led by a sinister dude who sports an eye patch emblazoned with a dragon on it, don’t really do much until they realize their nuclear threat towards the end but their secret lair looks like it was lifted straight out of a James Bond movie (no doubt this was intentional).

    The fact that we get a few cool monsters here definitely helps. The opening Ebirah scene where he emerges from the waves and trashes the boat is pretty great and when he and Godzilla duke it out later on in the movie the giant lobster beast pulls his foe into the depths of the sea for an underwater battle that’s definitely creative. Mothra is underused here for the most part, just sort of lying in a dormant state until the big finish but her presence does at least add an element of mystery to the storyline. Although this one leans a little too heavily on goofy comedy at times, it’s still a pretty enjoyable sixties Godzilla entry with some quality rubber suit and miniature effects and a few enjoyably quirky characters.

    Note: The movie uses English text in the opening titles and uses the Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster title on screen.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and for the most part it looks excellent. Colors really impress throughout, the reds on the life jackets really popping against the rocks when the guys wash up on the island. Lots of lush green plant life stands out and the blues of the ocean are nice as well. Black levels are pretty solid here while detail is generally quite strong. There’s barely any print damage at all with only a hint of obvious grain evident. There isn’t any obvious tinkering in terms of edge enhancement or noise reduction and all in all, this is a very strong transfer indeed.

    Audio options are provided in Japanese and English language DTS-HD Mono with optional subtitles in English only. The quality of both mixes is fine, though the Japanese track seems to have more depth to it. As to the voice work? The English dub is ridiculous, the four main guys have really hokey voices, so unless you’ve got an aversion to subtitles, stick to the Japanese track. The score has nice range and the effects have decent presence. Levels are well balanced and there are no problems to note with any hiss or distortion.

    Aside from menus and chapter stops, the only extra on the disc is the original Japanese theatrical trailer.

    The Final Word:

    Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster is a lot of fun even if it takes a little bit of time to really hit its stride. While it’s very obviously a product of its time it features some great monsters, a cool location and a couple of bizarre plot twists to help keep things interesting. The Blu-ray release from Section 23 is light on extras but it looks and sounds very good. Fans should be quite pleased.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






























    Comments 1 Comment
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Where are the Ito sisters?Forgot there was a film with different peanuts also featuring the vocal stylings of Barney Miller ( an early voice dubbing job gig for Hal Linden )