© 2004 Lawrence Tuczynski
|Title||King Kong vs. Godzilla|
|Japanese Title||Kingu Kong tai Gojira|
|CD Label||Toho Music Corporation|
|Music by:||Akira Ifukube|
|Number of tracks||Disc 1: 42|
Disc 2 - 42
|Running time||Disc 1 - 70:49|
Disc 2 - 66:40
|Number of discs||2|
|Year of release/manufacture||September 20, 2004|
|Year Movie Released in Japan||1962|
|Year Movie Released in U.S.||1963|
|DVD Released in U.S.||Aug. 1998, GOODTIMES Video
Pan & Scan version only
Dolby Digital MONO sound
|2nd DVD Release||Universal Studios 2005 (Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1)
Language: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Region 1 DVD
October 27, 2004
Review by Robert Storch
Here we have my all time favorite Akira Ifukube Godzilla score....KING KONG VS. GODZILLA. Why this one? Why not - this is the film where Akira Ifukube gives us his definitive Godzilla theme, the infectious Faro Island music, The Transport of Kong March, his Giant Octopus theme, etc...this score has it all. For the first time, Toho Music is releasing this soundtrack as a 2-CD set, featuring both the complete mono and true stereo scores, each having their own disc. Indeed, this remains the only Godzilla soundtrack from the Showa period to be released in stereo - we would not be able to listen to another Godzilla soundtrack in anything other than mono until the music for GODZILLA 1984 was recorded roughly 22 years later. Without a doubt, this is the definitive soundtrack for the Japanese film - between these two discs, you will not find a more complete release.
Disc 1 features the mono soundtrack and I must say I was very pleased by the remastering on this one - when I first played this CD, I initially thought I was listening to the stereo version. Another change in the running order of some of the music. Tracks 13 and 14 on the 1993 Futureland release (TYCY-5347) have been reversed on the new edition to reflect the order in the film, and Track 27 on the new CD is actually an edited combination of Tracks 27 and 28 on the Futureland CD. I mention this because the Futureland CD has 34 tracks (not counting the bonus material) and the new one has 33 tracks, but has the exact same music. This CD has almost six minutes worth of extra bonus tracks compared with the 1993 issue. Now, if you buy this boxed set, don't throw away your 1993 Futureland CD so fast...there is actually one track on it that DID NOT make it on to either of these new KKvsG CDs. It is the very last one, the 13-second chatter in the recording studio (for those completists out there, these are 13 important seconds for sure!). But everything else and more is included on this new double CD set.
Disc 2 has the complete, rarely-heard-on-CD version of the score in true stereo. As already mentioned by Larry on the main page, people either like the stereo score or favor the mono one. Part of the reason for this has to do with how the stereo mix was recorded back in 1962. For example, during the "Main Title" track, the vocal chant gets buried very low in the mix for some reason, while the vocals (and music for that matter) for this same track sound more powerful on the mono CD. This problem also occurs on the 1992 stereo release (TYCY-5215/16), and on every compilation album that features the stereo "Main Title". However, the "Main Title" on the new stereo CD does sound better balanced this time around, but still not quite the same as the mono CD. Also, a couple of the tracks seem to end 'abruptly' as they merge into other tracks (the same thing occurs on the 1992 stereo release) but for the most part the tracks are complete takes. Somehow, LA-LA LAND RECORDS has managed to eliminate these abrupt edits from their recent release (LLLCD 1041), although the overall sound quality is a little better on this "Perfect Box" edition. Does this CD offer stereo sound like we are used to today? No, but the clarity and separation that only true stereo can provide is present throughout this 1962 recording, and for anyone who has only heard KKvsG music in mono, (either on compilation CDs, or in its complete form) the stereo mix may be a treat. Personally, the stereo version is my favorite, mainly because it is a nice change of pace after listening to all the early Godzilla soundtracks in mono over the years. In addition, the 1992 release has a running time of only 51:33, while this new release clocks in at 66:42 - an extra 15:09 of stereo bonus material for those who are keeping track. Also, all of the background music from the film has been collected on this CD, not the mono one, so if you want to close your eyes and picture each scene in your mind while listening to the music, the stereo version is the only way to experience this. On a final note, one bonus track from the 1993 CD - the jazzy background music from inside the apartment - is not placed in the correct running order on this new stereo CD. Instead it is again relegated towards the end of the disc as a bonus track. However, all the other background music is sequenced properly.
The booklet is certainly better than the one in the 1993 edition, but it still doesn't offer many photos. Itís a shame most of us can't read Japanese - from what I can see these new booklets offer everything one would like to know about the making of the soundtrack and the music itself. In my opinion, the first two mono releases from 1988 and 1992 never really sounded that good (these were some of the first Godzilla scores to be released on CD), but the 1993 Futureland release did offer improved mastering and sound, as well as better packaging. If you are a casual fan who already owns the 1993 CD, you may not feel the need to purchase it again. However, for the true Godzilla completist or for anyone who only wants to own a Japanese edition of the stereo score - I would advise buying this limited boxed set while it's still in print!
Discography of all CD/DVD appearances of the complete "King Kong vs Godzilla" score:
1. Complete Recordings - Akira Ifukube Toho SFX Film Music Vol.2 (LD25-5035/36) mono version, 1988.
King Kong vs. Godzilla
Disc 2 (Stereo)