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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Camp > Japan > The Mysterians (1957/Science Fiction/Japan)

The Mysterians


Picture: B Sound: C Extras: A Film: B-



Toho has produced countless titles involving giant creatures of one sort or another; and theyre responsible for creating what many would consider to be the holy trinity of Japanese giant monsters - Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah (Monster X). While some might argue that Mothra might belong up in the same distinction, or that Gamera, created by rival studio Daiei, would be a contender for the same right as well. Regardless, those facts remain irrelevant for this article. The discussion at hand rests with that of Tohos lesser monsters, robots, as well as the various alien and earthly creatures that they have presided over.


The short term and all-encompassing banner for these different beasties would be kaiju, which is used by many to define this type of entertainment. We now come to Media Blasters and their Tokyo Shock division, who have been doing an unbelievable job on a line that now includes such obscure genre classics as Atragon, Dogora, Matango - Attack of the Mushroom People, Space Amoeba and Varan the Unbelievable.


This movie deals with a group of colorful aliens who invade the earth and attack a small community and demand an allotment of land and permission to breed with human females in order to repopulate their race. Pretty standard plot outline from the 50s and while the aliens might have even fouler plans in store for humanity, thats reason enough to blow them to kingdom come. The movie was one of the very first to be filmed in the studios then-new Toho-Scope process with actual anamorphic lenses, and its presented here on this disc in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The film also boasts the first appearance of Moguera - a vaguely mosquito-looking robot that would be a minor player in the kaiju universe.


In my opinion, theyve done a fantastic job on this disc, with only one or two complaints, which Ill round up later on. The extra features are great, there is a decent wealth of options available, and you get it all with attractive packaging and good picture quality to boot. The only other title Ive seen from this line was the companion launching title, Matango - but it was similarly excellent, and you can catch the review for that also on this site.


My one complaint lies within the sound. While the original Japanese mono and 5.1 surround sound tracks are both excellent, the original English dubbing elements must of gone missing or could not be obtained, and in its place, an all new 5.1 track has been created, and to be honest, it falls flat. Whoever was responsible for it did a decent job, but the conviction is not to be found with the voice-over artists that were chosen. All new sound effects were created as well, and similarly, they dont hold the same impact that the ones created half a century ago do.


The video quality is above average, but for a movie of this type in the U.S., its pretty stellar. For a movie this vivid, the colors remain very rich - these prints have been maintained very well, and any restoration that was done has been with care, as there is no evidence of rushed or faulty work to the look of the movie.


For special features, Media Blasters has provided a subtitled audio commentary track with Koichi Kawakita and Shinji Higuchi. There are also some wonderful conceptual drawings and stills as well as storyboards. In addition to the trailer for The Mysterians, they have also provided original trailers for some of the other films mentioned earlier in this review.


I recommend checking this title out, theres a lot of good stuff to be found, and its mandatory viewing for anyone who follows Godzilla and his mighty brethren, or just weird artifacts from the golden era of science fiction filmmaking.



- David Milchick


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