The Criterion home video label caters to an audience of film buffs who appreciate authenticity. This movie fanatic audience was very pleased by high-def digital restorations of both the original Japanese Godzilla and its Americanized edit. It was less pleased when the lavish case featured art by comic legend Bill Sienkiewicz using Godzilla's 1999-2004 "Millennium" design (as seen in Godzilla 2000: Millennium, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. and Godzilla: Final Wars) rather than his original 1954 look. As one fan put it, it's like “putting Daniel Craig on the cover of DR. NO.”
Criterion jumped on the Facebook conversation to clarify.
“Artist Bill Sienkiewicz used the original, ‘54 Godzilla as reference for his artwork, but all of the renderings are nevertheless, in the end, Bill’s personal vision of the creature, albeit one that is Toho approved. We can see why some viewers consider it to be more akin to the 2002 incarnation of Godzilla because the back plates seem more sharp-pointed and jagged than the curved tips of the ‘54 original, for example, or the tail tapers more to a point, but those plates don’t exactly mirror the ones from the 2002-3 monster either.
We pushed Bill to address Godzilla as a force of destruction, an elemental being, to step away from a rendering that would be purely literal and fetishistic in detail, and think he came up with a terrific interpretation. This is also why there is color in the packaging art. Although the movie is a beautifully-photographed B&W work, we kept leaning towards the elemental aspects of fire and water and wanted the color palette to evoke that.”
Fans weren't entirely mollified. "Exxxxxxxcept that the Godzilla that is RIGHT THERE IN THAT PICTURE is not 'an interpretation' of the 2002 Godzilla....it IS the 2002 Godzilla, " but hey, that's why the call it a controversy.