Godzilla Blu-ray Review
The Godzilla character has appeared in nearly three dozen films under Toho and another small handful of American productions. Because the franchise has been dormant for some time, another can be added to the list.
The movie, titled, simply, GODZILLA, opens in the Philippines in the late ‘90s. A crew of professionals, including Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe, INCEPTION), investigate an enormous hole in the ground. It’s there that they make a significant discovery. Word gets to power plant supervisor Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston, AMC’s BREAKING BAD) and his wife (Juliette Binoche, WORDS AND PICTURES) that there has been some seismic activity.
Cut to fifteen years later. Joe’s son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played the title role in KICK-ASS and KICK-ASS 2), an officer for the EOD, is told he must travel to Japan to see his father. Joe, who has covered his tiny apartment with newspaper clippings regarding the supposed earthquake, comes off as obsessive and paranoid as he tells his son, “I’m going to find the truth.” It’s after some searching that they encounter a winged creature that is labeled a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, or MUTO.
That’s part of the truth, anyway. The other part comes in the form of, of course, Godzilla, who makes his grand entrance by causing a tsunami in Hawaii. And so the stage is set to have Godzilla, the MUTO and, yes, a female MUTO square off in a grand finale that will leave thousands dead and millions of dollars in damage behind.
The original GODZILLA passed as an A-bomb allegory and the various VS. movies were meant to be fun. Gareth Edwards’ (2010’s MONSTERS) GODZILLA aims to be bigger and badder than any previous entry. That’s expected, especially considering this Godzilla is more than twice the height of the original and the movie was greenlit with a $160 million budget. As such, GODZILLA should meet all of the iconic monster’s fans’ expectations.
Still, there are a number of issues that are as obvious as a radioactive lizard strolling across the Golden Gate Bridge. Screenwriter Max Borenstein apparently felt obligated to develop the characters and make the story seem as plausible as possible, even if the audience probably doesn’t care all that much—they are, after all, paying $14 to see Godzilla roar and smack his tail into buildings, not scientists babble and stall. Connected to that is that Godzilla doesn’t appear until halfway through the movie (the MUTO doesn’t even pop up until more than a half-hour in). By this point, the first bag of popcorn has been emptied and you’ve become curious as to exactly how many calories are in the butter.
Still, while GODZILLA takes far too long to really get where it belongs, it is solid summer entertainment when it gets there. If a positive can be found about the pace (by far the biggest flaw), it’s that it can only benefit the inevitable sequel (currently planned for a June 2018 release), which will hopefully have less groundwork and more, well, Godzilla.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This is an absolutely stellar high-definition transfer of GODZILLA: details and textures are flawless, colors are accurate, black levels are deep (and obscure the creatures when necessary) and the special effects come through excellently.
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. The audio is also without flaw, especially during the action-oriented scenes, which boast powerful sound effects (creature noises, gunfire, explosions) that rumble surround speakers (Godzilla’s roar has never sounded better) and a score that aids in the destruction.
MONARCH: Declassified: Housed here are three pieces: Operation: Lucky Dragon (2:44), an archival film on the existence and tracking of Godzilla; MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File (4:29), which looks at the creatures; and The Godzilla Revelation (7:24), a faux documentary about the events that occur in the movie.
The Legendary Godzilla includes four featurettes: Godzilla: Force of Nature (19:18), which features the cast and crew discussing the brand of the character, updating the creature for modern cinema, the style and more; A Whole New Level of Destruction (8:24), which covers the visual aspects, including the special effects, the sets and more; Into the Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump (5:00), which briefly goes behind the scenes of the military leap; and Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s (6:49), which focuses on the creatures’ look and sounds.