Let’s face it–if I, or anybody following this project with even the slightest enthusiasm, thought that the original Japanese cut of The Return of Godzilla were perfect in any way, this edit would not be necessary–or even exist. TROG is most certainly one of the best Godzilla films out there, a remarkable piece of critical Japanese art made at the height of the Cold War, but its flaws are readily apparent to even the biggest fans. Numerous shots run a little too long, breaking an ideal pace for its many scenes of tension and suspense; emphasis is placed on sub-par visual effects; several pieces of music are, shall we say, not up to scratch, whilst other sequences lose impact without any music or key sound effects.
For these reasons, among others, perhaps explains why the alternate cuts of TROG, namely the International Cut prepared by Toho and the New World Pictures-produced Godzilla 1985 are so popular. For every mistake these versions make, they fix several present in the original cut. Perhaps this is also why a hybrid cut of these disparate visions of Godzilla’s first triumphant return is so attractive to fan editors; KingAsylus91 embarked on his own years before, as well as another fan on TohoKingdom. And now, here I am.
While preserving the original Japanese dialogue and Koji Hashimoto’s intent to portray a serious, question-raising kaiju film that was very much in the same spirit as Gojira (1954), Resurrection will also pull from the best changes made to these other versions. After all, it is, at its core, a hybrid cut.
But which changes to retain? Which to disregard? Here was one of the biggest problems surrounding this fan edit, what to do about these versions. While the previous hybrid cuts were happy to try and meld the American scenes starring Burr into the Japanese version as is, creating a straight-forward mix of the two films, I decided to try something different.
Contrary to popular belief, the biggest changes (in quantity, at least) to G85 had to do with cuts and rearrangements made to existing TROG scenes, not to the added footage. Some of these changes were questionable, but others actually did much to improve both the pace and flow of the picture. It was these changes I decided to retain in at least some capacity.
But what are they? Below is a list, by no means comprehensive, of some of these changes:
- Maki’s encounter with the Shockilas more closely resembles the G85 version, cut down to remove more laughable shots of the monster prop and to tighten the action of the scene.
- An establishing shot of Tokyo from the air used later on in TROG has been moved to its earlier G85 position, setting up the return to the city after the sequence aboard the Yahata Maru more clearly.
- The reveal of the Soviet Nuclear Attack Satellite has been moved to after Kasirin’s deactivation of the weapon, as in G85.
- Many pieces of the Christopher Young score have been added back to their respective scenes, including Maki’s search of the Yahata Maru, the Soviet Sub sinking, the JSDF dock massing, and Okumura’s near-death under the helicopter.
- G85 additions of Reijiro Koroku’s score have been reinstated, such as during the lure test and Maki and Naoko’s attempted escape from the lab building during the Super X battle.
- Some new sound effects added into G85 have been reintroduced, such as the Shockilas cackle, some new Godzilla roars, and the famous “B-mix” Godzilla scream from both G85 and the International Cut.
- Numerous little cuts, additions, and other alterations, ranging from some rearranging of the JSDF massing at the docks to trims of the life-size Godzilla foot.
But how were these alterations made to Resurrection? While many, most involving simple cuts or editing, were achieved by working directly with the Kraken blu-ray, the added Pentagon scenes and other pieces of alternate audio had to be culled from other sources, namely the G85 and EOST (International Cut) reconstructions by Red Menace and Servanov.
Red Menace’s G85, while in 1080p resolution, presents the added American scenes in standard definition with added film grain to partially hide this fact. With no other source available, I have resorted to integrating the footage from this release and blending the two sources together with an application of grain to the rest of the picture. The same goes for Servanov’s EOST, which is presented at 720p; this source had to be used to substitute any scenes involving “foreign” (not Japanese) dialogue have been resourced with Servanov’s International Cut reconstruction to remove burned-in Japanese subtitles present on the Kraken print. In the final product, additional grain will be used to better hide the lower resolution. While this will add much noise to the film, my hope is that the film will achieve a certain worn, almost “grindhouse” patina, as though Resurrection has seen much love in the 1980s during its theatrical run but has not been able to benefit from an extensive restoration with digital noise reduction.
In the end, however, this is only half of the veritable cake mix of Resurrection. There are many other changes, much more esoteric and exclusive to my own tastes and rationales, that make up this ambitious fan edit. In my next post, I’ll talk a bit more about them.
Until then, ciao.