Last Friday Criterion announced their January lineup of films to be released on DVD and Bluray. There were some interesting releases, including a Bunuel film and some other fun stuff, but as I scrolled down, my eyes caught the most glorious sight...
I can't really describe my reaction to the announcement of this release in any way that can do it justice. But I will say that I screamed... a lot. Godzilla was a big part of my childhood, and I grew on up quite a few of the Showa era movies, like Godzilla vs. Mothra, The Terror of Mechagodzilla, and yes, even Godzilla vs. Megalon. However, the only one to ever actually scare me was the very first film, Gojira (or Godzilla: King of Monsters, the version I saw as a child). I first watched it about a year or two after 9/11, an event that I couldn't grasp fully when it happened due to my age. However it was a memory that stayed with me throughout childhood and even to this day.
The afternoon I popped the film in the player was a beautiful, clear day in the late summer. After sitting glued to the screen for its 90 minute run-time, I remember walking outside and looking out at the neighborhood. I imagined seeing the silhouette of the Monster stalking towards the city in the distance, silently. I began to feel uneasy and went inside. Since then, I've had a place in my heart for the film. Now I can appreciate the black-and-white cinematography, the great score, the wonderful special effects, and the dark and brooding atmosphere, but I will always remember the day I first saw it. A day when the fears of the people in post-WWII Japan reminded me of my own fears in post-9/11 America.
I am (no doubt like many other fans) thrilled that Criterion will be releasing this gem of a movie. I've taken a look at the special features list, and am absolutely blown away by how all-out they went for this edition. Can't wait for January to swing around, and I will most likely be preordering the Bluray, good deal or no.