Godzilla 50th Anniversary
Soundtrack Perfect Collection Box 6
Various Artists Toho Music (THM)
No: 0304 of 1954
Well. That was a bit of a monster to get through!
The sixth and final volume of Toho’s Godzilla 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Perfect Collection is finally released 6 years after the inaugural box set and, like the 4th and 5th in the series, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. This 9 disc set covers the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th films in the “third wave” of Japanese Gojira movies plus a re-issue of La La Lands 2 disc limited issue of David (007) Arnold’s score for the US Godzilla movie. Plus there’s a special bonus if you ordered your copy, along with the previous 5, from Ark Square Soundtracks in Japan... but more on that later.
The box opens strong with female composer (they’re a comparatively rare breed in soundtrack composing circles for some reason) Michiru Oshima’s pretty cool score to Godzilla X Megaguirus: The G Extermination Strategy. This is some nice work and the main theme seems to me to have a distinctly British sound to it... kind of like Goodwin’s 633 Squadron meets Knott’s Curse of the Wererabbit. It works really well as a kind of throwback to Ifikube’s old Gojira theme... which they keep splicing back into these movies anyway so it does its job.
The second score in the set, Kow Otani’s Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack is pretty ropey but this is followed by two more Michiru Oshima scores, for Godzilla X Mechagodzilla and Godzilla X Mothra X Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S which stylistically and thematically cover the same ground as her first Big G score but aren’t quite as punchy... although the latter has a couple of interesting new renditions of Akira Ifikube’s Mothra song in it.
Then we have the score I was most interested in hearing... Keith Emerson’s score (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame) to the last, to date, Japanese Godzilla movie... Godzilla: Final Wars. If they were to list every monster that makes an appearance in that movie (including the US Godzilla from the Emmerich production who gets demolished by the Japanese Godzilla in three seconds flat) then the title of this movie would go on for pages. Just be thankful that they called it Final Wars.
Ok, so the three Emerson discs for this score were a bit of a disappointment for me. I really admired his work on various giallo and horror scores (his score for Argento’s Inferno being a particular favourite of mine) but this one leaves me a bit cold... until you hear his original demo cues on the third disc. These have all the vibrancy and playfulness that I feel was missing in the actual score. So that third disc will definitely be getting respun in the future.
The last score is Arnold’s score for the US “reimagining” of Godzilla and all I’m saying on this one is just that it reiterates one thing really well... just how professional Arnold is as a composer when he delivers this fantastic score to a dreadful movie that didn’t deserve it. Possibly the best thing in this sixth set.
If you order the box from Ark Square in Japan and provide the numbers on your personal editions of the previous boxes, you also get a bonus Region 2 DVD of a lecture by Akira Ifikube (shame they didn’t put any subtitles on it) and some footage from some scoring sessions of Ifikube’s scores. A nice little extra for those of us who have been scraping the money together to buy these bloody expensive sets since 2004.
In summation, the sixth box set is nowhere near as consistently listenable as the Akira Iikube and Masaru Sato scores which made up the first three boxes of the 50s, 60s and 70s Godzilla films comprising the First Wave... but it’s got some nice stuff in it and if you’re a fan of the Big G’s music, probably a bit of an essential purchase.