© 2005 Lawrence Tuczynski
|Title:||Godzilla On Monster Island|
|Japanese Title:||Chikyu Kogeki Meirei - Gojira tai Gaigan|
|Movie also known as:||Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla Against Gigan|
Godzilla vs. Gigan
|CD Label:||Toho Music Corporation|
|Music by:||Akira Ifukube|
|Number of tracks:||37|
|Number of discs:||1|
|Year of release/manufacture:||April 25, 2005|
|Year Movie Released in Japan:||1972|
|Year Movie Released in U.S.:||1977|
July 9, 2005 (revised 3/3/08)
By the early 1970s, as the popularity of the Godzilla series continued to decline, Toho Studios was forced to implement drastic budget cuts in order to keep the franchise afloat. This situation became painfully apparent with the release of 1972’s GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND (a.k.a., GODZILLA VS.GIGAN), which padded its dubious plot with sub-standard special effects and a heavy dose of stock footage. Even worse, the musical score was almost entirely recycled from previous Toho efforts (see “Guide to Stock Cues” at the bottom of this page), with only the kid-friendly “Godzilla March”(Track 30) created especially for the film. On the plus side, all of the stock music was composed by Akira Ifukube, which helped bring a welcome sense of familiarity to an otherwise bleak production.
Along with the maestro's better-known material, a handful of themes were brand new to Toho's monster universe. In fact, two of the most prominent cues weren't from a film at all, but were commissioned for a Toho-produced, multimedia exhibit called "Nature of Japan and the Japanese Dream", originally held at the Mitsubishi Pavilion at Osaka's EXPO'70. Because of its multiple sources (at least ten films plus the EXPO music), the GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND soundtrack features a wider variety of themes than most G-scores, making it an entertaining listen despite a few awkward edits and repetitive moments.
The 50th Anniversary “Perfect Collection” edition of the score is a substantial improvement over the 1993 Futureland release (TYCY-5356), because the cues are edited and arranged to more accurately reflect their sequence in the film. The most obvious example is Track 1, which restores the original film version of the “Main Title” to its rightful place on the disc. This theme is actually a composite of music taken from three seemingly incompatible sources: a haunting fanfare from a 1959 gangster film called THE BIG BOSS, a version of the “Godzilla Theme” from 1964’s GODZILLA VS. THE THING and an excerpt of the “Volcano” cue from the aforementioned EXPO '70 exhibit. For some reason the Futureland edition opened with an alternate (possibly international) version of the “Main Title” (featuring the BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE theme in place of the “Volcano” excerpt), while the “correct” version was included as a mere bonus track. There were other discrepancies on the previous edition as well. While only two different edits of the “Monster Land” theme (from DESTROY ALL MONSTERS) actually appeared in the film, the Futureland disc added a third segment (Track 8) that was apparently not used. The disc also substituted a brief cue from FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD for the “Destruction of Godzilla Tower” scene, while the correct cue (an extended edit of “Storm” from the EXPO '70 exhibit) was relegated to bonus track status. Both of these errors have been corrected on the 50th Anniversary edition.
The new disc also offers additional bonus material not found on the previous release. “Godzilla March Karaoke” (Track 31) is an instrumental version of the ending theme, while “Go! Go! Godzilla” (Track 34) was issued as a pop single in 1971. The single version of the “Godzilla March” (as well as its B-side, “Attack Gigan”) appears on both discs, but the G-Box version features a spoken intro not included on the Futureland release (Unfortunately for completists, the true stereo “film version” found on the previous CD did not make the transition to the new disc). The final three bonus tracks offer original source cues for what are arguably the score’s highlights: the dramatic “M12T2” cue from 1959’s THE BIG BOSS (the fanfare used at the beginning of the “Main Title”), and the unedited “Volcano” and “Storm” cues from the EXPO '70 exhibit.
In terms of sound quality, the remastered 50th Anniversary disc doesn’t offer any drastic improvements over the 1993 release, but several tracks do benefit from slightly enhanced clarity and depth, as well as a perceptible reduction in tape hiss. In addition, the 3-part “Main Title” has been freshly reassembled from superior source tapes, replacing the choppy, crudely edited version found on previous releases. Considering that some of its cues date back to 1959, the new CD sounds remarkably consistent.
Like all of the 50th Anniversary G-Box reissues, GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND is well produced and attractively packaged. Despite the fact that it is not a true original score, the disc’s modified sequencing, upgraded sound and new bonus material make it one of the more fascinating discs in Box 3. While fans should not feel obligated to purchase the boxed set if they already have the Futureland editions, those who do not own this music will welcome its availability, and collectors will find the enhancements and new format difficult to resist.
Special thanks to Anthony Romero at Toho Kingdom for uncovering some fascinating details about the 'EXPO '70 exhibit. Check out his review at: http://www.tohokingdom.com/tv/mitsubishi_pavilion.html
EARTH ATTACK COMMAND: GODZILLA vs GIGAN
Track Titles Courtesy of Jolyon Yates
Guide to Stock Music Used on This Soundtrack