Today: July 22, 2024

Mothra (1961), The H-Man (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959)

After The Criterion Collection’s gorgeous Godzilla collection release in 2019, it was only a matter of time until more of ‘The Father of Godzilla’ Ishirō Honda’s cult classics made their way to Blu-ray here in the UK. Well, this week we’ve been treated to not one, not two, but three of his beloved works making their UK home entertainment debuts on sparkling Blu-ray. While these niche titles probably aren’t going to earn any new fans with these lavish releases from Eureka Entertainment, the heart that has gone into them will surely delight fans of the cheesy classics.

Firstly, we have a stunning Limited Edition of the 1961 favourite Mothra which brought one of the most iconic Japanese kaiju to live with psychedelic colours and a vibrant, crazy delivery that feels fun and fresh to this day. Including both the Japanese and English versions of the film, this beautiful edition houses the Blu-ray in a sturdy hardbound slipcase with a 60-page collector’s booklet featuring essays and archive materials. The film looks wonderful – although obviously showing the limitations of the film’s budget and special effects more clearly than ever, which is something of a theme with each of the three films in this review. All in all, though, this is a wonderful release that finally does justice to the iconic character and although often bizarre, the film holds up well as one of the best Japanese kaiju movies of the era. Fans will be delighted with the results, but act fast – this gorgeous edition is limited to just 3,000 copies.

Next up, we have the Ishirō Honda Double Feature that combines two of Honda’s lesser-known sci-fi works – The H-Man and Battle in Outer Space. While The H-Man combines Japanese gangster noir with slimy body-melting horror, Battle in Outer Space is a more standard space adventure extravaganza that delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Both of these films are, frankly, pretty poor – they’re often amusingly campy and clunky, with special effects that haven’t aged particularly well. But fans of Japanese cinema history, and sci-fi in general, will find a lot to enjoy here – even if it’s more of a curiosity than anything. A healthy bundle of new audio commentaries and a collector’s booklet go some way in convincing the viewer these films are better than they are, but if not particularly good films, they were certainly influential in the genre. Limited to just 2,000 copies, this is another beautiful release from Eureka – although perhaps the films aren’t quite deserving as such treatment as Mothra.

Fans of the celebrated filmmaker Ishirō Honda should be delighted with these stunning new releases of some of his legendary works, even if some of the films haven’t quite aged as well as others.

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