I would say that this is a case where, once you're past the initial thrill of finally seeing the authentic version of the film, the disc gets more disappointing every time you watch it. As Michael mentions above, Godzilla is often a big black blob on the horizon when, if you compare to the American version, you're clearly supposed to be able to SEE him. Various print detritus is so extreme that there's a large hair stuck at the top of the frame for most of the last reel...which would be a TELECINE issue, wouldn't it? Also, the subtitles appear to be missing relevant bits of information alluded to on the commentary track.
As others have mentioned in the other thread...the package is great, but what's inside is not. I'd say definitely rent first.
Stories of poor q/c at Toho are rampant (including how vacuum cleaners actually seemed to raise dust in the editing rooms). I don't know if full restoration would have been economically feasible - hell, I'm happy paying $17 online for this release. I would also be interested in a more realistic $40 Criterion-style restoration, but I don't think Sony would go for it. Actually I'm surprised they distributed in in the first place, since Toho really hated what they did (owning Columbia-Tristar) to their beloved monster in that disaster with Matthew Broderick.
For what I paid, I'm reasonably happy, sub-par as it may be considered by many. I never saw either version until CBC recently played Gojira on evening televison this past summer. The 2-disc DVD was my first look at the American version, and I kept having flashbacks of Ed Wood's Glen Or Glenda in the narrative style.
BTW, Sam, both commentaries are excellent - informative and entertaining.
Yeah, I noticed that too. Can't remember the last time I saw a flippin' hair in a home theater product, if ever (that includes VHS)! Reminds me of the old days of watching films on local stations. I've got the R4, Australian disc of this and I'll have to check and see if there's a hair in that, too (though the Classic Media disc looks the superior to it, otherwise).
I ended up ordering the R2, BFI disc of this just this morning. Got a good price on it and figured what the hay. The Sony disc has nice packaging and the extras are cool, but I agree the print/transfer is a disappointment. Mine might be seeing eBay soon after the BFI disc arrives...
As neither Classic Media (behind the new DVD), nor Rialto (distributers of the 2004 theatrical reissue) ever made any sort of claim of "restoration", I don't think a class action suit would get very far...
I must say, their packaging is first class. Their marketing first rate. But I would have prefered basic packaging for a known classic that needs no marketing and spent the extra money on cleaning up the prints! Where are their priorities?
I have the Simitar release from 1998 and for anyone who likes a better copy of the US version, try and seek a copy out. It looks better overall.