Directors Hideaki ANNO and Shinji HIGUCHI’s multi-Japan Academy Prize-winning smash Shin Godzilla received its much-anticipated home video debut earlier this week, though not quite in the form fans might have been expecting.
As the special edition Blu-ray booklet notes, the original theatrical Shin Godzilla has received an upgrade. This is Shin Godzilla master ver, 2.0.
The booklet (the relevant section of which is copied above) notes a handful of changes which have been made to the film, visually, including one effects shot which has been replaced with a different angle, as well as adjustments to a half dozen of the film’s (many, many) captions and the end credits scroll. The booklet also mentions more general, albeit unspecified alterations to the audio mix.
In practice, I must confess to noticing no significant discrepancies at all between Shin Godzilla ver,2.0 and the theatrical release, which I saw twice in DCP last fall. The switched shot only caught my eye after I read through the booklet itself, which illustrates the switch explicitly. Otherwise I noted only the color and contrast, which seemed superior in their reproduction on the Blu-ray (and presumably the UHD disc as well, though I’ll need a significant home theater upgrade before I can comment on that) than in the DCP, though how much of that is down to actual adjustments versus my own arguably-dependable memory is debatable.
Ultimately I’m not entirely sure what to make of the alterations, excepting that they should come as no real surprise to anyone familiar with the people involved in the production. Co-director Anno’s Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone has been altered in each of its successive home video and theatrically re-released iterations (1.0 to 1.01 and eventually 1.11), to give just one example. That Shin Godzilla is now in ver,2.0 is par for the course, and perhaps even appropriate considering the themes of the film itself. One could lament, I suppose, the loss of the original theatrical experience, but maybe such experiences are best left to nostalgia anyway. Shin Godzilla remains Shin Godzilla, and though its aesthetic trappings have undergone an evolution the sum of its substance remains very much the same.
Shin Godzilla is out now in a variety of flavors from Toho Visual Entertainment, and is expected to receive an English-friendly North American home video edition through Funimation later this year.