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Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

While Warner Bros has some more high profile cinematic shared universes in the obvious DC comics one and the Conjuring movies and their various spin-offs, one that hasn’t quite hit in the ways they’ve wanted it to (Despite delivering quality films) is the Godzilla/King Kong shared universe. Three films in now and the successes, buzz and pop culture relevancy haven’t increased or been at a level I’m sure the studio was hoping it would be growing towards. Its every likely the Godzilla vs King Kong movie will close out this short series at 4 films, but then again maybe it goes on. The 3rd film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters opened this past summer and took in only $110 million on a $170 million budget in the US. Worldwide it did $385 million, but I’m sure they were hoping (And needing) it to do probably another $100 million. And its not like this film wasn’t trying to give people what they wanted either. If you missed it, you’ll be able to check it out on Blu-ray Tuesday, August 27th.

Film 

The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

2014’s US relaunch of the famed giant monster Godzilla seemed to hit a mixed response from critics and audiences. Despite what side you’re on you can’t say that Godzilla:King of the Monsters wasn’t listening and didn’t complete set out and make a film that hit the good spots on both sides of that fence. As a continuation, this film (Though skipping maybe a step or two) builds from what came before, showing an evolution and growth of the world and story surrounding the monster. If you were one of those who thought the previous one was slow and held back on the goods, well, this movie went balls to the wall and held zero back in making the sequel. If you didn’t like it at all, its quite possible you’re just not that into Godzilla and maybe aren’t as familiar with the older films as you think (NOT SPEAKING ON EVERYONE WHO DIDN’T LIKE IT. Its a-okay if you didn’t, just going off some of the reviews/reactions from detractors).

One of the fun strengths of the film besides “All Teh Monsterz!” is the cast they’ve assembled. Returning are Ken Watanabe and David Straithrairn, with Watanabe getting a heck of a character arc with great moments. The new comers are a fun bunch of recognizable television stars that really light things up and bring their usual strengths to the film. I may have had the most fun with Kyle Chandler’s character as he gives you the normal gusto but he comes into the film super hot and cranks it up. People complain about the melodrama in these movies, but I tend to enjoy it if you have some lively people in the cast (Last time we got captain vanilla and a restrained Elizabeth Olsen once Bryan Cranston exited the film). Some of it is downright intentionally cheesy and simple. This is about big monsters fighting after all.

When it comes to those monsters, yes, it is a CGI-fest. A factor complained about a lot by anti-blockbuster people. Whereas Gareth Edwards impressed with scale in the last film, this one delivers in fun, artful way which almost feels like reading an old 1980s illustrated children’s storybook of a Godzilla tale come to life. There are a lot of fun sequences and the movie really relishes in strong tones and colors. This film really does glow off the screen and blends well with such a wonderful score. The whole package comes together in an embracing combination of paying tribute and not being ashamed of the history of the series.

Godzilla is a pretty fun film that delivers on the all the Godzilla goodies if you are truly seeking Godzilla goodies. Director Michael Dougherty has a feel and care for both the creatures and humans in the film. It holds no punches back with introducing monsters, having plenty of fights and just going apeshit with everything. Is it high art? No, but damnit, its a lot of fun!

Video 

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the 4K UHD Movies Anywhere stream, not the 4K UHD disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Godzilla: King of the Monsters debuts on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray being another film shot higher than but finished with a 2K digital intermediate. Upscale be damned, this one still looks wonderful. It has some damn fine pronounced colors, an effective personality, great details and a good sharp picture. The effects hold up quite tremendously and blend with the live action very well. HDR is where this thing is at as the blacks saturate quite well and the colors really blast off your screen.

Depth:  While the film has a bit of a naturally murky tone to it, its still quite sharp with good push back and dimensional work. And considering there is a lot of CG monster fights it comes across as quite the natural. Movements are smooth and cinematic with no distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and very natural and rich throughout the film which features many darker sequences. Details are still very strong and distinct despite that which is pretty impressive. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are absolutely wonderful as is to be expect here with a gorgeous palette and great saturation. Fire and all the monster’s blasts, lighting up, fire through the scaled, computer monitors, blinking lights and more make complete love to the HDR in this for a nice glowing and radiant experience.  The filtering also makes for quite a beautiful presence and meshes in with the characters and surrounds very naturally.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the film. This movie uses a LOAD of filters so their facial color may share filtering through many scenes. Details and textures are very strong with moles, make-up, wrinkles, stubble, sweat, rain, dirt, dried blood and more coming through clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dobly Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Spanish, Arabic

Dynamics:  Godzilla: King of the Monsters makes a smashing debut on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with an all-encompassing Dolby Atmos track. This thing has been mixed and placed with passion and care which is evident from the opening jump. It truly gives a feel of being a part of the destruction from the human perspective. All channels are completely realized and plays as a great cohesive unit to launch this thing into mega mayhem in the most enjoyable way.

Height: The ceiling channel is a fantastic assistant in helping to make this an experience and delivering the scale and immersive nature of being a puny human caught in this battle royale of creatures. There are a lot of contributions from the top like helicopters, debris, monsters up high and more.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer is a constant pressure pounder here as monsters stomp through cities, Mothra flaps her wings, shit explodes, fire blasts or a monster roars.

Surround Sound Presentation: As mentioned, this is a crazy mix with plenty to love about it. The room always has something going on and the battle scenes present some tremendous rolling action speaker to speaker as well as unique contributions that have a 360 degree feel for every environment.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, plenty clean and layered and audible no matter how much chaos is going on. They always feel right with the moment too.

Extras

Godzilla: King of the Monsters comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. Aside from the commentary, all bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • By Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields and O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Monsters 101 (HD, 5:43) – Quick little bits with cast and crew thoughts on the film in 4 parts;Godzilla: Nature’s Fearsome Guardian, Mothra: Queen of the Monsters, Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine and Rodan: Airborne God of Fire

Evolution of the Titans (HD, 27:24) – This is a more detailed look with cast and crew at the monsters and creating/evolving them for the film monster by monster in 4-parts; Godzilla 2.0, Making Mothra, Creating Ghidorah and Reimaginig Rodan.

Monarch in Action (HD, 32:56) – Cast and crew go over the realization of the action sequences in the film featuring cast and crew and showing us storyboards, pre-visualization animations, pre-production art, behind the scenes and more to give a full, rich feel for the work into the film with plenty of background.

Millie Bobby Brown: Force of Nature (HD, 4:07) – This tells us how Millie was basically used as the inspiration for the pre-visualization til they decided “Hey, lets just cast her” and has people telling us how put together and mature she is to work with.

Monster Tech: Monarch Joins the Fight (HD, 8:34) – This featurette goes over the vehicles, weapons and overall tech the organization in the film has with cast and crew giving the insight and information.

Monsters Are Real (HD, 14:18) – This is a more philosophical look at humans’ fascination with monsters, monster movies and the like. Includes plenty of authors and scholars who go over all their takes on it.

Welcome to the Monsterverse (HD, 3:42) – This is a little bit about the connections of the shared universe with Kong Skull Island and the other monsters in this film.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 5:01)

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 12:08)

Summary 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters will hopefully go down as that awesome Godzilla movie not enough people went to go see. Its crazy to think of people that might’ve had interest skipping out and waiting for home video for this. The best place to see something like it is on the largest screen possible. Warner Bros gives it some awesome treatment with a fantastic presentation to go with a surprisingly wealthy array of extras to compliment it. Some are good, some fluff EPK hollowness, but it all works out. Pick this one up and let it rock your home theater and 4K screen!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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