Heisei on blu: Dolby Stereo or 5.1?

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DrBreakfastMachine
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Heisei on blu: Dolby Stereo or 5.1?

Post by DrBreakfastMachine »

Hi all. Bit of a niche, techy question here but I can't think of a better place to ask.

I'm working on upgrading my AV setup from 3.1 to 5.1 in the near future so I was doing a count of how many blu-rays I have that include 5.1 tracks. I noticed that all of the Heisei movies up through Godzilla vs. Mothra are in the classic Dolby Stereo matrixed LtRt configuration, while GvMGII and GvSG are in 5.1, then GvD is inexplicably back to Dolby Stereo.

TK has a trivia note for GvMII that it was the first Godzilla film to feature a digital soundtrack, which would suggest it was 5.1 in theaters. However, most sources online seem to agree that Whisper of the Heart was the first Japanese film period to get a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and that film was released in July 1995. That would mean the earliest Godzilla film that could have been DD 5.1 is GvD.

So...what happened here? It seems GvMGII and GvSG were likely Dolby Stereo in theaters and got 5.1 remixes at some later point. Destoroyah could have been the first Godzilla title to actually hit theaters with a DD 5.1 mix, but if it was, the 5.1 mix has only been released on disc in Japan, and Sony chose not to use it on their blu...even though they did it for the previous two films, where the 5.1 tracks are almost certainly remixes.

Sony's blus for the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy are all Dolby Stereo, as is their disc for the Japanese cut of Godzilla 2000, with the dub for the latter being the 5.1 mix Tristar prepared for US theaters. Couldn't find any info about what mix the Japanese blu has for 2000, but the RoM movies seem to have 5.1 mixes and Dolby Stereo mixes (unfolded to 4.0 tracks rather than matrixed as 2.0)

I'm beginning to think that everything was plain Dolby Stereo all the way up through the Japanese version of Godzilla 2000, and all the 5.1 mixes were made just for home video. This also possibly includes the Heisei Gamera movies.

I don't trust IMDb for stuff like this so I'm kind of at square one as far as figuring out how these movies were released theatrically. Most of the info available seems contradictory at best. Hoping someone here maybe knows some details I'm missing. One thing would clear up some confusion is if it's known there were ever movies shown in theaters with Dolby Digital encoding, but only in matrixed stereo rather than 5.1. That could explain how GvMGII was supposedly the first Godzilla movie with a digital soundtrack while Whisper was the first to use 5.1, but I've never heard of this combo being used theatrically.

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StreamOfKaijuness
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Re: Heisei on blu: Dolby Stereo or 5.1?

Post by StreamOfKaijuness »

Toho first released all seven of the Heisei Godzilla movies on Japanese DVD in 2002. According to the DVD reviews on the old Tokyo Monsters website, the 2.0 audio tracks were the original mixes while the 5.1 audio tracks were newly remixed by Toho for those DVD releases.

The Return of Godzilla
The first is the original 2.0 track, with sounds really nice and clear, with absolutely no background noise or distortion. The same applies to the all-new 5.1 remix Toho have created especially for the DVD release, which also blends seamlessly with the original soundtrack.
Godzilla vs. Biollante
As always you'll find the original track (in the case of "Godzilla vs. Biollante", 2.0 surround) and Toho's mandatory DVD 5.1 remix. Both track, as always, sound mighty great. While the 5.1 track didn't always make full use of all the tracks available to it, it still sounds great on a home cinema system.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
As per usual, the disc contains three different audio options. The first track is the original stereo track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. This sounds as good as you'd expect - very strong and clear, with no hissing, popping or other distortions. There is also the customary Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. Although it can sound a little hollow at times, it's generally a very good mix, and certainly the preferred option if you have a 5.1 system. Finally, the disc contain a feature-length audio commentary with producer (and now Toho President) Shogo Tomiyama.
Godzilla vs. Mothra
As with all Heisei discs, "Godzilla vs. Mothra" offers the usual three options - the original 2.0, an all new 5.1, and an audio commentary with effects director Kitakawa. All the tracks sound lovely and crisp, without any distortion.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
The disc offers three different audio options. The first is the original 2.0 surround track, the second is an all new 5.1 remix produced especially for the DVD release, the third is an all new audio commentary.
Godzilla vs. Destroyer
The disc offers three great audio options - first the original 2.0 track, which sounds brilliant and crisp, with no noticeable distortion. Next is Toho's all new 5.1 remix, and while I can't say it always takes advantage of all the tracks available, it defiantly sounds excellent.

Godzilla 2000 was the first G flick that Toho ever released on DVD in December 2000. According to the old review on TM, there was no 2.0 Japanese audio track for the main feature on that DVD, just the 5.1 Japanese track and the audio commentary. It was the same for Toho's initial DVD releases of GxM, GMK and GxMG, while GMMG and GFW were both originally released to Japanese DVD with 6.1 tracks.

It is odd that Sony's BRD release of Godzilla 2000 has a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track for the Japanese version. If that's the film's original audio mix, does that mean that Toho's initial G2K DVD was lacking the original mix? Or did G2K originally have a 5.1 audio mix and Sony somehow just ended up releasing the Japanese version with a 2.0 mix?
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mikelcho
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Re: Heisei on blu: Dolby Stereo or 5.1?

Post by mikelcho »

StreamOfKaijuness wrote: Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:21 am Toho first released all seven of the Heisei Godzilla movies on Japanese DVD in 2002. According to the DVD reviews on the old Tokyo Monsters website, the 2.0 audio tracks were the original mixes while the 5.1 audio tracks were newly remixed by Toho for those DVD releases.

The Return of Godzilla
The first is the original 2.0 track, with sounds really nice and clear, with absolutely no background noise or distortion. The same applies to the all-new 5.1 remix Toho have created especially for the DVD release, which also blends seamlessly with the original soundtrack.
Godzilla vs. Biollante
As always you'll find the original track (in the case of "Godzilla vs. Biollante", 2.0 surround) and Toho's mandatory DVD 5.1 remix. Both track, as always, sound mighty great. While the 5.1 track didn't always make full use of all the tracks available to it, it still sounds great on a home cinema system.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
As per usual, the disc contains three different audio options. The first track is the original stereo track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. This sounds as good as you'd expect - very strong and clear, with no hissing, popping or other distortions. There is also the customary Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. Although it can sound a little hollow at times, it's generally a very good mix, and certainly the preferred option if you have a 5.1 system. Finally, the disc contain a feature-length audio commentary with producer (and now Toho President) Shogo Tomiyama.
Godzilla vs. Mothra
As with all Heisei discs, "Godzilla vs. Mothra" offers the usual three options - the original 2.0, an all new 5.1, and an audio commentary with effects director Kitakawa. All the tracks sound lovely and crisp, without any distortion.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
The disc offers three different audio options. The first is the original 2.0 surround track, the second is an all new 5.1 remix produced especially for the DVD release, the third is an all new audio commentary.
Godzilla vs. Destroyer
The disc offers three great audio options - first the original 2.0 track, which sounds brilliant and crisp, with no noticeable distortion. Next is Toho's all new 5.1 remix, and while I can't say it always takes advantage of all the tracks available, it defiantly sounds excellent.

Godzilla 2000 was the first G flick that Toho ever released on DVD in December 2000. According to the old review on TM, there was no 2.0 Japanese audio track for the main feature on that DVD, just the 5.1 Japanese track and the audio commentary. It was the same for Toho's initial DVD releases of GxM, GMK and GxMG, while GMMG and GFW were both originally released to Japanese DVD with 6.1 tracks.

It is odd that Sony's BRD release of Godzilla 2000 has a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track for the Japanese version. If that's the film's original audio mix, does that mean that Toho's initial G2K DVD was lacking the original mix? Or did G2K originally have a 5.1 audio mix and Sony somehow just ended up releasing the Japanese version with a 2.0 mix?
You forgot to include Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. This list is six films, not seven.
Last edited by mikelcho on Sat Nov 26, 2022 4:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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DrBreakfastMachine
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Re: Heisei on blu: Dolby Stereo or 5.1?

Post by DrBreakfastMachine »

Thanks StreamOfKaijuness, that clears some things up.

Seems that Godzilla 2000 is the earliest Godzilla film that may have been 5.1 in theaters (unless you count the Tristar film, which definitely was).

Assuming that's the case, someone at Sony might have just messed up and not realized that, or maybe Toho didn't provide them with the 5.1 mix for whatever reason.

All Dolby Digital 5.1 releases on 35mm also had a 2.0 optical track included as a backup because the DD data squares were easily damaged and not every theater was equipped for digital audio anyway. So the 2.0 mix for G2000 probably is an original theatrical mix, just not the "main" one.

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