Godzilla: The Series DVD Review
DVD Review- Godzilla: The Complete Animated Series
Distributor: Mill Creek Entertainment
Street Date: April 29th 2014
Technical Specifications: 480P Video, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio, Color, 1:33:1 Full Frame Aspect Ratio
Runtime: 14 Hours, 14 Minutes
I would venture to say that most Godzilla fans have little respect for Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Americanized Godzilla film. Truth be told, no matter how you feel about it, Emmerich had little to work with and was forced to create a Kaiju that looked nothing like Toho’s classic creature. But the problem didn’t stop there, the movie itself featured some downright horrible acting (from some otherwise talented performers), a concept that felt bloated and borrowed, and paid little to no homage to our favorite mean green fighting machine.
But one thing that fans of both animation and Godzilla do seem to agree on is this: the 1998 animated series that followed was actually quite enjoyable and unique. Picking up directly where the film left off, the animated series features Dr. Nick Tatopoulus (Ian Ziering) and his research team discovering the only remaining hatchling from the Zilla that attacked New York in the film. Unlike its mother, the young offspring befriends Nick and the team to help fend off the increasing number of incoming Kaiju that seem bent on destroying New York City. Another important aspect of the series focuses on Nick and his team convincing both the military and politicians of New York to embrace Zilla Jr. as a friendly weapon, and not a foe.
Unfortunately due to licensing issues between Sony and Toho, the Kaiju that either battle or befriend Godzilla in this series are either original or legendary creatures from mythology (the Loch Ness monster, Quetzalcoatl, etc.). Classic foes from the Toho series such as Gigan, King Ghidorah, and Mothra are nowhere to be found. But with this curse comes a certain blessing, as it’s fun to experience the creativity from the folks behind the series in conjuring up original Kaiju for Zilla to battle.
For an animated show aimed at the late 90’s elementary-age crowd, this is absolutely a fun and lively series. The characters are certainly more developed than the 1998 film, the animation has a classic 90’s-era style, and the plotlines are fairly consistently entertaining. This is also the first time we have been able to see the entire 40-episode series in one complete set, as previous releases have only featured select episodes.
Mill Creek Entertainment has delivered Godzilla: The Series to DVD in a mostly respectable 1:33:1 full frame transfer. The lack of a high definition presentation obviously limits the overall quality, but it wouldn’t be fair for me to judge based solely on that. For a DVD, and an animated series at that, this looks pretty good. Colors are accurate, and artifacts and anomalies are at a minimum. There is a strange white line that occasionally appears at the top of the image area, which I would suspect is the result of the transfer from video elements, but it only rears its head from time to time.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track works well enough to support dialogue, the show’s numerous sound effects, and musical score. It can sound slightly “tinny” at times, but this is likely an accurate representation of the original broadcast audio, probably better in fact.
Godzilla: The Series arrived on DVD completely bare bones. For an animated children’s show that ran only two seasons, I suspect there wasn’t many (if any) special features produced back in 1998. It would have been nice to see a newly produced featurette on the making of the show or even a select-episode commentary from the writers or animators, but again, it’s fairly obvious why money wasn’t spent on a couple of bonus segments aimed at a niche audience.
As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this DVD release from Mill Creek Entertainment comes with cover art depicting one of the main sequences from the opening intro for the show. On the reverse of the case you’ll find a synopsis for the series, as well as a few review quotes. Inside the case there are four DVD discs, all stacked on top of each other. This style of packaging has been fairly consistent from Mill Creek over the past year, and makes sense monetarily, but this is never good for minimizing scratches on a disc format that is easily marked up.
Godzilla: The Series is a fun children’s show that easily bests the 1998 feature film in character development, Kaiju battles, and plotlines. The DVD release also marks the first time that fans of the show can see all 40 episodes in their entirety. The picture quality here suffices for the format, featuring bright and accurate colors, and the audio seems authentic to the original broadcast. Though I do have a slight complaint regarding the disc stacking, overall this release provides hours of entertainment, and is an essential addition to any Godzilla fans collection.