That’s the new Godzilla trailer right there. It’s like they released it today to coincide with this post.
Back when I first started this blog, nearly 3 years ago, I figured a good way to try to grow the site would be to marathon review entire series of films at a time. This would usually be done to hype myself, and maybe you guys, up for an upcoming release. The first season I did was for the X-Men films. It was a manageable set of films to cover in a few days, what with there being only 5 films at the time. Gradually these seasons got a little larger though. Harry Potter was 8 films. Batman had 18 films, to which I’ve added another since. James Bond season featured 23 films. It was that season that prompted me to create a category just for Bond film reviews. Next month the Gareth Edwards directed, Legendary and Toho Pictures produced Godzilla film is released. It was looking pretty impressive when the first trailer leaked out, now it’s looking pretty damn incredible. Last year I decided it would be a good idea to review as many of the Godzilla films as I can in the build up to the release of this film. Little did I know how tricky this would become. Click the links for words regarding the upcoming Godzilla season.
Quite some time ago a bill was edging toward being passed called SOPA. It would have meant that any company, for the slightest reason, could request your site be removed from the internet and you could potentially be charged. The reasons could be for something as small as using a screenshot for a film without their permission in your review. They had decided that as people pirate films and music quite often and then comment on it, sometimes by using clips from these products as examples, that the only answer was to blanket ban anyone that made reference to films or music without approval. I don’t condone pirating films at all. Have always purchased every film I review in some capacity, be it via Netflix or from my cable TV or a physical disc. I shut down the site for a day as part of a protest against that and stated that I am against this nonsense. I also established that I never use pirated or torrented copies of any film I review. This ties into Godzilla season.
I knew that getting every Godzilla film would be tough. There is a total of 30 films spread across a 60 year period of film history. In Japan Toho has released all of these in a nice, and very pricey, boxed set. Outside Japan, well… it’s kind of a giant mess. You see, at some point in the distant past, Toho decided to license Godzilla films out individually to various publishers. Universal retained King Kong Vs Godzilla, as they had part produced that film, and that remains one of only 3 Godzilla films to be released on DVD in the UK. One of the other films was the original Gojira, which was released in an excellent remastering by the BFI, although never on Blu-ray. This is the same as the Criterion release in the US. The third film was that fecking 1998 Roland Emmerich abomination. The rest of the films I was going to have to acquire from the US. This would prove tricky.
Of the 29 currently released Godzilla films around 8 of them were on sale on Amazon for what I would consider a stupid price. This ranged from £30 for Godzilla Final Wars to nearly £500 for Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster. Suffice to say I did not have the money for these films. I set out then to grab as many as I could. The current list of attained Godzilla Films is as follows.
Bolded title have been added since this article was posted.
Gojira (I have the Americanised Raymond Burr starring version too)
Godzilla Raids Again
King Kong Vs Godzilla
Mothra Vs Godzilla
Gidorah, The Three Headed Monster
Invasion of the Astro Monster
Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster
Son of Godzilla
All Monsters Attack (I actually accidentally purchased this twice… whoops)
Godzilla Vs Hedorah
Godzilla vs Gigan
Godzilla Vs Megalon (Which dropped suddenly from £90+ to £5 in recent weeks)
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Godzilla Vs Biollante
Godzilla Vs King Gidorah
Godzilla Vs Mothra
Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla II
Godzilla Vs Spacegodzilla
Godzilla Vs Destoroyah
Godzilla 1998 (Ugh… yes I actually purchased this. For £1)
Godzilla 2000: Millennium
Godzilla Vs Megaguirus
Godzilla, Mothra & King Gidorah: Giant Monsters All-out Attack
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
Godzilla: Final Wars
Add to that the new film which I certainly will be seeing and I think that’s not a bad set. This list may grow before I’m done though. Yup, I am not finished getting these just yet. I have a relative that collects Godzilla films and I will be raiding his collection. I know for sure that he has Final Wars, and hopefully a few of the other missing films. Sony have recently announced a set of double packs they’ll be releasing on DVD and Blu-ray on May 6th in the US. Hopefully these receive a UK release too, although I won’t count on it. To add to that a number of other, previously very rare, Godzilla films are seeing releases throughout may. These include Vs The Sea Monster, Vs Hedorah and Vs Gigan are getting a release in May. Destroy All Monsters is down for release in July, this is important to me as it was one of my favourite Godzilla films as a kid. As I’m sure I can get Godzilla Final Wars this leaves me with 3 films to find, and they may be a challenge.
For both Son of Godzilla and Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla there is believed to be no current license holder in the US. Wikipedia has them listed as being owned by Sony Pictures, but most fan sites seem to disagree and, if they were with Sony, wouldn’t they be getting released alongside the 4 double pack they’re bringing out soon? It would make sense that the license has lapsed since the last time they were released so acquiring a old copy seems to be my only chance.
The last Godzilla film I need is a whole other kettle of fish. To the best of my searching and knowledge the rights to Godzilla 1985, or the Return of Godzilla as it is also known, are not just unclaimed but no-one knows for sure who owns them. Not even Toho. Word is that a company called Lakeshore had the rights at some point, then they’re catalogue got purchased by Image but all enquiries to Image seem to result in a dead end. The consensus is that Image don’t own the rights either, suggesting that Lakeshore had lost them before being acquired. I’ve also read that Toho are merely waiting for the license to expire so they can sell it on again, butt his would mean they know who has it now, surely? Regardless, a release of Godzilla 1985 seems very unlikely in the near future.
So, I have my work cut out for me. It appears that, worst case scenario, I will be reviewing just 22 of the 30 Godzilla films. I have a chance to grab a few more, and if any cheap copies surface of the films I am missing I will be adding them to this list. No matter what happens, though, I have a lot of films to cover over the next month. Best part is, Godzilla isn’t the only special set of reviews I’ll be doing. April 25th is The Film Dump’s 3rd birthday, and as is tradition, I will be picking a “special” film to review on that day. All these Godzilla films will also take me up to review No.300, which will mean another “special” review. If you don’t know what I mean by “special” just look up the what I have reviewed at every 50 film mark. With the exception of Chinatown they’ve all be decidedly “special” films. I have films in mind for these, look out for them as this month rolls on. On top of that The Amazing Spider-man 2 is out and, provided I have the funds… I’m kinda skint right now, I’ll be reviewing that too. So, busy month ahead. Come back on Monday for the first Godzilla film review which will be, of course, Gojira!
UPDATE: So I just popped around to my Uncle, the B-movie collector, and had a look through his collection of Godzilla films. I have now attained a further 5 films to knock off the list. They are Godzilla Vs The Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, Godzilla Vs Gigan, Godzilla Vs Hedorah and Godzilla: Final Wars. This leaves just 3 that I have been unable to attain, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla and The Return of Godzilla/1985. Not a bad set I’d say. I’ve added them to the list above.