Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

What a time to be alive when it comes to kaiju cinema these days. Godzilla, in particular, can now be referred to as the Oscar-winning King of the Monsters after smash hit Godzilla Minus One managed to go the distance (one step closer to EGOT, I say!). With that in mind, the MonsterVerse has once again revved its gears to deliver Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. This entry not only capitalized on the success of 2021’s original savior of movie theaters, Godzilla vs. Kong, but has now become the biggest entry yet in Legendary’s gigantic franchise. With returning director Adam Wingard and some familiar cast members back on board, audiences, much like me, were largely happy to see the latest monster smash-up event. With a streamlined focus, psychedelic visuals, some cool kaiju creations, and the delivery of epic brawls, not only was it great for theaters, but it makes for a solid 4K UHD Blu-ray release as well.


(Note: This review was originally published on March 29, 2024, at We Live Entertainment.)

Story-wise, we’re looking at two major plotlines. One involves the humans. Yes, I know we’re coming off the critically acclaimed ‘Minus One,’ which allowed for deeper characterization than typically seen in Godzilla movies. That said, while the previous films in this universe boasted their excess number of talented cast members (who all signed on because it’s fun to be in a giant monster movie – because why wouldn’t you? What’s the worst that happens? They lose their SAG card?), this film boils it down to basically four characters to keep track of, and they all stick with each other.

What are they up to? Well, that has to do with Kong, who leads the other half of this story. While getting older (the guy Titan has toothaches, a bad back, etc.), he’s been exploring his new residence – Hollow Earth. During this time, he discovers others like him, but they are led by a reddish menace known as the Skar King. This gigantic primate-like monster looks like what would happen if an orangutan was also a pole vaulter. Anyway, Skar King has plans to invade regular Earth, and Kong’s presence has given him some ideas for how to make that happen.

In a film like this, one should just be ready to let the plot ride along as it does, not unlike a roller-coaster. Wingard and writers Terry Rossio, Jeremy Slater, and Simon Barrett seem to get that, as this is perhaps the slightest entry for the MonsterVerse, but no less engaging, let alone lacking in scope. There’s still a good amount of globetrotting thanks to the side adventure Godzilla is on, and the sense of wonder is plenty accurate thanks to further exploration of Hollow Earth.

This Jules Verne-inspired location that humans reach by literally traveling down giant holes in the Earth’s surface means having the chance to see a lot of trippy visuals inspired by everything from the third act of 2001: A Space Odyssey to the 60s Showa Era Godzilla films that Wingard clearly loves (he’s particularly big on Invasion of Astro-Monster and Godzilla vs. Hedorah). There’s also the 80s cartoon/toys angle to appreciate, but I can return to that when discussing the action. As it stands, much of the film’s runtime is spent watching Kong and the small human crew figure out what sort of dangers are on the rise in this mysterious land, as well as other surprises.

Doing their best to disguise exposition and standard movie elements as outlets for fun are Rebecca Hall as Dr. Illene Andrews, a foremost expert on all things Skull Island. There’s also kaiju conspiracy theorist and podcast host Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), who helped stop MechaGodzilla last time around, and Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the Kong whisperer (she’s a deaf girl who signs with Kong and is seemingly the last living member of the tribe that once lived on Skull Island). Most importantly, however, is Dan Stevens as Trapper, the kaiju veterinarian.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail: Picking up from where Godzilla vs. Kong left things visually, this is, once again, a visually splendid feature that is done proper justice by WB’s high quality release. All the fine image detail, various textures, and other aspects of this CG-heavy affair are in fine form here. There’s a great sense of design on display that is all made crystal clear when it comes to the sets, monster designs, production value, costumes, and more. Even when filled to the frame with giant kaiju, plenty is going on to emphasize the level of detail on display.

Depth: There is plenty to appreciate about the sense of depth here, as the way we see monsters and humans requires a level of understanding regarding scale. As a result, the dimensionality on display plays to the film’s advantage. Nothing ever comes across as flat. It’s a visual delight that benefits from strong placement.

Black Levels: We’ve come a long way from the darker days of the MonsterVerse, as the black levels are less about dealing with the amount of nighttime, weather, shadows, and more about understanding the design of these characters, interior and darker locations, and other similar aspects. The results are great, as there are plenty of deep, inky blacks, and no signs of crushing.

Color Reproduction: As noted in my review, this is a wonderfully colorful feature. With key inspirations that range from the Showa Era of Godzilla to 80s toys, GxK is happy to embrace a vibrant world from the jungles to underwater to the various cities these monsters visit (and rumble in). It’s great to see, as this disc really knows how to bring in the HDR-ready color palette and get into what’s possible at home.

Flesh Tones: Whether regarding the humans or the CGI flesh of Godzilla and all the other monsters, the flesh tones are lifelike and highly detailed throughout.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing in sight.



Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Francais 5.1 (Dubbed in Quebec) Dolby Digital, Español 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Francais, Español

Dynamics: If you have the truest of Dolby Atmos setups, this film has all you need. Godzilla x Kong roars onto 4K, putting the viewer right in the thick of all the action taking place. The use of sound is incredibly well-rounded, allowing for plenty of chances to take in all the different elements utilized to make this film so effective from an auditory perspective.

Height: Thanks to the level of scale, there’s plenty to enjoy in listening to the destruction on display, the battles that occur, and more. Late in the film, several sequences really allow for many ways to push into different layers, given where characters are in relation to each other, and it serves the audio well.

Low-Frequency Extension: Just the steps of Godzilla and Kong will make a room rumble, given the effectiveness of this track. Buildings being smashed, roars and monsters’ sounds being heard, explosions, yelling, and plenty of other things keep the subwoofer busy. Plus, the rockin’ soundtrack.

Surround Sound Presentation: All the speakers have a chance to shine here. As the film builds its adventure into grander areas, there is plenty for the viewer to take in, with the monsters playing well on the center and side channels, and all the results of their battles playing well to them and the rear as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Audio is loud, clear, and crisp throughout, even as Godzilla, Kong, and others make their presence known.


Extras: Dexter-_5

While none of the featurettes are especially long, there’s a nice collection of extras here to detail the various ideas in mind for what brought this film together. On top of that, there’s a commentary track, which always makes me happy. Given the separation between Toho and Legendary (and the fact that this is more of a Kong story), I shouldn’t expect too much that delves into the history of the Godzilla franchise, but there’s still plenty working in favor of exploring this film.

Features Include:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Adam Wingard, Visual Effects Supervisor Alessandro Ongaro, Production Designer Tom Hammock, and Editor Josh SchaefferThis laid-back discussion gives room to a lot of technical talk, with some fun stories concerning inspiration and story development. Light on actual plot/character talk, which should be expected with this crew, but a decent enough track.
  • GxK: Day of Reckoning (HD, 5:58) – A focus on the film from the perspective of being a culmination of what the MonsterVerse has offered so far, featuring interviews with cast and crew.
  • Evolution of the Titans:
    • Godzilla Evolved (HD, 5:33) – A look at how Godzilla has been designed for this film and the sorts of changes that have been made.
    • From Lonely God to King (HD, 5:44) – Some talk of where Kong is as a character this time around compared to the previous films.
  • Into the Hollow Earth:
    • Visualizing Hollow Earth (HD, 5:46) – A look at the continued development of the world that is Hollow Earth, including the places explored to find sounds and inspiration.
    • Monsters of Hollow Earth (HD, 5:39) – As the title implies, this feature focuses on all of the creatures we find in Hollow Earth.
  • The Battles Royale:
    • A Titanic Fight Among the Pyramids (HD, 5:30) – The first of three featurettes focused on the movie’s biggest bouts. Here’s a look at the Godzilla/Kong rematch.
    • The Zero Gravity Battle (HD, 5:03) – My pick for the most creative battle in the film, here’s a look at the inspiration and method for delivering on this battle.
    • The Titans Trash Rio (HD, 5:22) – Rio gets a makeover in this film, and here’s a look at how that came together, which did include visiting the location, among other tactics.
  • The Intrepid Director:
    • Big Kid (HD, 3:43) – Director Adam Wingard gets to show off the big kid energy he brings to getting to helm a giant monster movie and what his imagination and enthusiasm could amount to.
    • Set Tour (HD, 3:44) – A brief look at the set from Wingard’s perspective.
  • The Imagination Department (HD, 3:47) – A look at the key elements that inspired the film, collected in what was known as the “War Room.” (Fun Fact: I saw this War Room firsthand, with Wingard explaining it in the lead-up to this film’s theatrical release.)
  • The Monarch Island Base: Portal to Another World (HD, 5:32) – More looks at the production design, conceptual plans, and more when it came to the Monarch Island Base.
  • The Evolution of Jia: From Orphan to Warrior (HD, 5:58) – A focus on Jia’s character and how that played into the film.
  • Bernie’s World: Behind the Triple Locked Door (HD, 3:28) – A tour of Bernie’s apartment set.
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film


Summary: Dexter-_5

It should come as no surprise that I’m a big supporter of all things Godzilla, and this MonsterVerse entry certainly delivered the goods. With an agreement reached to do even less with humans, more with monsters, and make it all lively and colorful, if you’re not letting go of the need to call everything into question for the sake of enjoying massive monster battles, perhaps this may just not be for you. As it stands, for giant monster movie fans, there’s a lot of fun to be had with this film, and it looks and sounds fantastic thanks to an excellent video transfer and the killer audio track. Having a nice collection of extras only helps to round out this entertaining package.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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