Media Blasters Finally, and Officially, Announces Godzilla Acquisitions

Discussion in 'Asian Horror and Other Pleasures' started by Shawn Francis, May 27, 2011.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Closet SCREAM fan

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    Word on the street is that Toho was unhappy either because the DESTROY ALL MONSTERS disc had too many special features or the behind-the-scenes stills gallery had images that were not cleared. If it's the latter of the two possibilities then there might be good reason the current hold-up on re-pressings, as Japanese laws with regards to the use of people's photographic images are different and much stricter than the American ones and could land Toho in some trouble. Of course one wonders why Toho did not catch it before it went in for pressing, since they presumably signed off on the master that Media Blasters created.

    My overall opinion of Toho as a company is pretty low. Their recent output of films, Godzilla or otherwise, seems to have a very great "meh" factor to it. Their record on film preservation is adequate at best, and if you're unhappy with with image quality on DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, you should also know that this disc is from a restoration of the film that Toho commissioned. Their record on the presentation of their films is also adequate at best, with just one example being their domestic Blu-Ray of SEVEN SAMURAI, which was basically DNR'd to death. And of course their anal retentive nitpicking licensing policies, like making commentators get every word of their track approved in advance, is ridiculous. Toho has a reputation as being extremely hard to work with, and the more I think about it the more amazed I am at what a strong and long-lasting professional relationship Toho has managed to have with the Criterion Collection. Those guys must have the patience of saints.

    Four years or so back I toyed with the idea of doing a brief video documentary on the el-cheapo EP and LP mode releasing VHS companies like Goodtimes and Star Classics and the like, the ones who released a lot of public domain or thought to be public domain films on cheap editions. The two examples that I wanted to use were NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and GODZILLA VS. MEGALON, since those were two of the most common VHS releases for two bit video labels. The NOTLD clips I wanted to use were no worry since the film was truly public domain, but I knew that GvM was not and therefore I needed clearance on the footage. But no real budget to pay for it. I made a request to Toho explaining the situation and proposing the use of limited clips from GvM for the purposes of explaining that the film was not actually public domain and that dozens of companies had spent years passing it off as such and defrauding Toho of royalties. Toho turned down my request, which didn't surprise me, since I was (and still basically am) a pretty much no-name filmmaker, so I understood why they would not be willing to enter into that kind of arrangement. Actually the person who contacted me back - a fellow named Kenji Sato, who was based at Toho's Los Angeles office on Century Park East - was unbelievably courteous to me in every communication we had, although there was an ominous sentence that he included in one of his messages: "May we remind you that unauthorized use of our films, Godzilla name and character (and any other Toho monsters' name and characters) would constitute trademark/copyright infringement." That is an exact quote from the e-mail that he sent, and it was clarified by him to mean that mentioning the film or the characters at all would constitute an infringement. Which was total bullshit. Not using footage, sound or pictures - or even VHS sleeves for that matter - from GODZILLA VS. MEGALON was an understandable restriction, but not even being able to mention the movie or the characters? That would not stand up in an American court, but that is the sort of legal BS that Toho has tried on others. I think my mental reaction at the time was that Toho deserved to have every two bit video company rip off their movie, since apparently even mentioning it in order to tell people that they OWNED IT was not okay with them.

    Anyways, Toho owns not just the Godzilla films, but also most of Akira Kurtosawa's greatest works, as well as a number of other classics of world cinema. Basically they are a third rate company with a first rate legacy. Which is not unusual in today's world (think of the big American car companies who are still in business, for example).
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  2. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    ^ Don't use me as a witness in your trial, but in the US fair use has been well established and the Godzilla vs. Megalon trailer would most certainly fall under fair use. This is why you'll often see trailers or commercials used in documentaries.

    From what little we've all heard on DAM, it sounds like Toho just wants more money for the stills. And Media Blasters says they're willing to oblige; which is more surprising to me because their own quality standards would lead me to believe they're stingy bastards.

    It sounds like Media Blaster's discs will be back in action without any alterations. Which is just my luck because I ran out to buy DAM. However Criterion's Godzilla disc has already been confirmed to be edited for content:
    http://moviemorlocks.com/2011/11/12/the-importance-of-being-godzilla-part-2/
    http://moviemorlocks.com/2011/11/19/the-importance-of-being-godzilla-part-3/
     
  3. MorallySound

    MorallySound Mad Mutilator

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  4. Nailwraps

    Nailwraps Well-Known Member

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    Now when you say that, what does that mean? The film or the extras?
     
  5. MorallySound

    MorallySound Mad Mutilator

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    Didn't you read the articles posted below that comment? Because that explains it. The commentary was edited right before final pressing.
     
  6. Nailwraps

    Nailwraps Well-Known Member

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    Well, if it just the commentary(ies) than that's fine with me (forgive me if you disagree) just as long as both cuts are uncut.
     
  7. Darga

    Darga Narcissistic Personality

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    Yes, that looks pretty wild. I'd never even heard of it before.
     
  8. Nailwraps

    Nailwraps Well-Known Member

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    Update!:

    http://forum.blu-ray.com/blu-ray-mo...lla-vs-megalon-blu-rays-dam-review-up-31.html

    "Media Blasters MEGALON Update: The MEGALON DVD and Blu-ray were put on hold late last year because there was an issue between Toho and Media Blasters over some of the extra content on DESTROY ALL MONSTERS. Both companies wanted to resolve that problem, and after that Toho would review MEGALON before it went to press so there wouldn't be a repeat of what happened with DAM.

    The DAM issue is still unresolved, but regardless Toho has now started their review of MEGALON. That review may take some time so there's no word yet on when the discs will be released, but at least there's now some progress towards that happening."
     
  9. rxfiend

    rxfiend Joe Six-Pack

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    I finally got an email from Deep Discount the other day that they finally cancelled my order. Definitely sucks as I ordered it back during their sale and it was only $15. I hope Media Blasters / Toho get their shit worked out so we can get this blu-ray sometime this year!
     
  10. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    That's weird because Amazon.com still has it in stock! After this tidbit, it's shit or get off the pot time for anyone indecisive about picking it up.

    I'm somewhat surprised because Amazon did have it in stock, after being out of stock, so I figured Media Blasters worked through it. Still glad I picked mine up.
     
  11. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    With Media Blasters laying off 60% of their workforce we've got another ominous piece of news:

    Stuart Galbraith IV has posted the following:
    http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum...DVD-Coming-Soon--Media-Blasters-#reply-797807

    Media Blasters has been on the precipice for awhile now and frankly I'm amazed they've lasted as long as they have but because of that I'm reluctant to say that they're clearly done.
     
  12. Jeremy

    Jeremy Closet SCREAM fan

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    While they may not be clearly done, it's unlikely that Media Blasters will ever return to its previous levels of "accomplishment" (with their uneven output quality the quotation marks are entirely appropriate). Companies that slash their workforce that badly may survive, but they usually don't regain the prominence and market share that they have lost. At best, Media Blasters will limp along, probably renting out cheaper office space in New Jersey and cutting the number of releases they put out.

    Anyways, those on the fence should pick up DESTROY ALL MONSTERS on DVD or Blu, and also think about picking up some of their other Toho DVD releases and their more obscure Eurocult discs. Lots of companies don't want to deal with Toho's BS, so who knows when the Japanese titles will come back in print, and some of the less known European films may not find a market here again for awhile. Don't bother with the Blus of things like BURIAL GROUND or ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST, as if Media Blasters goes under those will eventually be picked up (and probably done much better) by companies like Severin, Synapse, Midnight Legacy, etc.
     
  13. elDomenechHDG

    elDomenechHDG Well-Known Member

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    Why are the people behind Toho so protective with their catalog? Are they STILL mad at the U.S. for messing around with the original Godzilla? Do they not like Raymond Burr? I know the Roland Emmerich remake was horrendous but why not just move on? (hee hee).
     
  14. Jeremy

    Jeremy Closet SCREAM fan

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    Well Toho is still a Japanese company. Corporate culture over there has many similarities, but also many appreciable differences, to Euro-American corporate culture. It's a different operating environment, with different laws and a different tax code. And Toho is still expected to be a good corporate citizen in its home country, which leads to decisions that are sometimes puzzling to us, like the partial withdrawal of a movie like LAST DAYS OF PLANET EARTH from circulation, or for that matter, the almost complete withdrawal of the Japanese version of HALF HUMAN.

    That was the part where I defend Toho. I haven't done a whole lot of that lately, but they're not 100% bad. Still, my general opinion of them is that they are a third rate company with a first rate legacy. On the one hand, not only did they produce the Godzilla films, but also the bulk of Akira Kurosawa's greatest films were made or distributed through them, which makes them the heir to two (pardon the pun) monstrous cinematic legacies. On the other hand, most of their current film output seems to have a "meh" factor to it, adequate for domestic audiences but often no more, and certainly never to again revolutionize international cinema like it once did. And their presentation of their own older films is often mediocre. The transfer on DESTROY ALL MONSTERS is a restoration that Toho did a few years back, and while it is arguably a better presentation than Media Blasters could have pulled off on their own with their record of doing things, it does fall short of what fans had hoped for considering the prominence of this title. Its not just DESTROY ALL MONSTERS either, go over to DVDBeaver and check out some of the screenshots of Toho's own domestic Blu-Ray of SEVEN SAMURAI. It's DNR'd to death! Thankfully Criterion seems to be trusted by Toho in a way that no other American company is, so they are allowed to do their own restorations on Toho titles.

    At this point Godzilla and the other monsters they own are little more than trademarks to them, which they obsessively control the same way that Disney obsessively controls the licensing of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Toho certainly should not be mad about the GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS cut. I doubt that they are, but then again, with them you never know - since there are plenty of American fans who somehow look at it as a hatchet job, there could certainly be people in their corporate suites who view it the same way. Certainly they would never allow an American producer to do that kind of thing to one of their movies today, but sixty years ago Toho was actively complicit in the American alterations of their movies. There is some evidence to suggest that they themselves cut footage out of GOJIRA from the version that was to be sent to the United States, and its a matter of record that they shipped the juvenile monster suit from HALF HUMAN to Hollywood in order to facilitate the shooting of new scenes with John Carradine and Morris Ankrum. It's also a matter of record that they were willing to ship their Godzilla and Angurus suits to Hollywood for new footage that was to be added to GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, although the American producers ended up dropping those plans.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  15. Nailwraps

    Nailwraps Well-Known Member

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  16. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    bummer. i've enjoyed the showa series films i've seen, but without some bonus features to sweeten the pot, its unlikely i'll be inclined to blind buy this.
     
  17. fceurich39

    fceurich39 Well-Known Member

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  18. Nailwraps

    Nailwraps Well-Known Member

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  19. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    So do we order this because it's doubtful Media Blaster will ever release anything more or do we hold off in the hopes that someday soon there will be more?
     
  20. rxfiend

    rxfiend Joe Six-Pack

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    Good question. I want the movie on both formats, so I'm fine with purchasing this bare bones DVD. When/if a BD ever comes up, I'll spring for that too.
     

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