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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Gareth Edwards
Cast:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston
Writing Credits:
Max Borenstein

Synopsis:
Godzilla battles against malevolent creatures that threaten our very existence.

Box Office:
Budget:
$160 million.
Opening Weekend:
$93,205,000 on 3952 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$200,616,740.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Quebecois Dolby 5.1
Castillian Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
German DTS-HD MA 5.1
Italian DTS-HD MA 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Hungarian Dolby 5.1
Polish Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Latin Spanish
Chinese
Korean
German
Italian
Thai
Castillian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Swedish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Latin Spanish
French

Runtime: 123 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 3/23/2021

Bonus:
&bull: “MONARCH: Declassified” Featurettes
• “The Legendary Godzilla” Featurettes
• Preview
• Blu-Ray Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


Godzilla [4K UHD] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 18, 2021)

Every once in a while, a movie emerges that appears to kill a franchise, and in the US, 1998’s Godzilla had the potential to become that film. Although it didn’t affect the series in its native Japan, the underachieving Roland Emmerich flick left such a negative vibe that it threatened to keep American audiences from any further big-budget Godzilla efforts.

After 16 years, the character got another shot via 2014’s Godzilla, and it opens in Japan circa 1999, where we meet scientists Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche). Along with young son Ford (CJ Adams), they live near the nuclear power plant where they work – until an event causes massive problems and kills Sandra.

15 years later, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) serves in the US Navy as a bomb disposal expert. He lives in Northern California with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and four-year-old son Sam (Carson Bolde). Ford needs to head back to Japan to bail out his dad, as Joe gets thrown in the pokey after he snoops around the quarantined nuclear plant site.

When Ford arrives, he learns that the plant went kaput due to something other than a meltdown. It turns out that a monster referred to as a “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism” (MUTO) caused the destruction, and the creature returns for more fun – and to spawn, as we also see the awakening of a female MUTO in Nevada.

The MUTOs feed on nuclear energy, so it becomes rather tough to stop them. How will the authorities take care of the MUTOs?

Potentially through the help of Godzilla, an ancient, enormous creature who slumbers in the ocean. We follow attempts to handle the MUTOs and the destruction that follows along the way.

What if they made a Godzilla movie and forgot to include Godzilla? The result would look much like this 2014 film, as it goes long stretches without much evidence of our large friend.

While we see a lot of the MUTOs, the lead monster doesn’t get a whole lot to do, especially not until the end – and even then he plays a smaller role than I would expect.

Perhaps the filmmakers prefer the “less is more” model and feel that sporadic glimpses of Godzilla give his appearances greater impact. Maybe they were correct in that regard, as the shots of Godzilla do pack a pretty good punch. A visually attractive film, the movie depicts its creatures well and gives them a power they lack in most films of this sort.

Still, I can’t help but feel Godzilla would prove more entertaining with more Godzilla. I do like the MUTOs, but in a way, their frequent appearances frustrate me more than anything else, as they just remind me that we don’t see much of the main attraction.

At least the MUTOs ensure that the movie doesn’t focus almost solely on the boring human characters. In Godzilla movies, the people exist mostly to motivate battles/action and also to give us theoretical emotion, as we’re supposed to worry about what will happen to them. We usually don’t, but we’re meant to care.

Are the humans in Godzilla a serious weakness? No, but they’re pretty forgettable.

Previously best-known as the lead in Kick-Ass, Taylor-Johnson beefed up for his role but he doesn’t manage to deliver much emotion along the way. Though he acts as the movie’s theoretical hero, he usually just feels like a distraction from the title character.

At least Taylor-Johnson gets something to do, which is more than I can say for most of his co-stars. An able actress, Olsen receives little screen-time and not much of a character arc.

It perplexes me that the producers cast someone with Olsen’s talent in a borderline throwaway role. The same goes for Binoche, who dies before the viewer makes a dent in his or her bag of popcorn.

Saddled with one of the worst wigs in movie history, Cranston overacts a storm as Joe. Apparently inspired by a mix of Charlton Heston’s loudest/hammiest performances, Cranston goes way over the top and creates a distracting presence.

And seriously, what’s up with that hair? Did they spend so much on computer graphics that they only had $4 left for Cranston’s wig?

If so, they overpaid for it by a good $3.98. I could create a more natural hairpiece out of fur trimmed off my poodle.

As I mentioned earlier, Godzilla fares well in the visual realm, as director Gareth Edwards creates a striking impression that always looks terrific. Unfortunately, he doesn’t manage to do much with the story, and he wears an active Spielberg influence on his sleeve.

Boy, does Godzilla look/feel like a Spielberg flick a lot of the time! Is it a coincidence that the leads get the last name “Brody”?

I don’t think so, and the allusions don’t stop there. The flick also demonstrates obvious connections to Close Encounters and Jurassic Park.

In addition, Edwards just loves the Spielberg-style slow-zooms to faces agape in wonder. Occasionally the Spielberg elements feel less like influence/homage and more like rip-off.

Godzilla lacks one element found in Jurassic Park and other Spielberg films, though: a real sense of momentum. Honestly, Godzilla is less an “action film” and more of a “destruction film”, by which I mean we often see the results of the monsters’ behavior but we don’t watch the actual mayhem.

This can feel like a cheat, as we do get a fair amount of action toward the end, but we see too little along the way. It becomes a consistent disappointment when we observe the path of destruction but not the cause.

The 1998 Godzilla got a lot of criticism, and it deserved some of those negative reactions, but I thought it worked well when it focused on action. Say what one wants about Emmerich, but he could bring excitement, and I felt his Godzilla delivered those goods.

Edwards can’t do the same, especially since Godzilla himself gets so little to do. The 2014 Godzilla does look great, and it flares to life at times, but the end result disappoints. I don’t view the film as a bad one, but it doesn’t satisfy on a consistent or frequent basis.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A/ Bonus C

Godzilla appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. As one would expect of a modern, big-budget blockbuster, Godzilla offered terrific visuals.

Sharpness always remained strong. If any softness interfered, it escaped me, as the film seemed tight and well-defined.

I witnessed no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to mar the presentation. Print flaws also caused no distractions, as the movie stayed clean.

In terms of palette, Godzilla tended toward subdued, earthy tones. Scenes in a military bunker leaned blue, but the rest of the movie went with sepia, gray or a low-key green.

None of these colors leapt off the screen, but they fit the movie’s design and looked fine. The 4K’s HDR added a bit of zing to the tones, though it could only do so much given how subdued the hues remained.

Blacks seemed tight and deep, and low-light shots gave us smooth, clear visuals. HDR gave these elements greater depth and intensity. I felt the image represented the film well and looked great.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack impressed. Of course, the movie’s action/destruction sequences offered the most memorable material. The soundscape placed components in the appropriate locations and meshed them together in a smooth, well-blended manner.

Monsters and other battle elements moved well and the different channels supported the story in a satisfying manner. The whole package created a lively, vivid soundfield.

Audio quality was also terrific. Music seemed vivid and bold, while speech was distinctive and concise.

Effects showed solid clarity and accuracy, with low-end response that gave the package life and heft. This was an impressive auditory piece.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos mix added a bit more involvement to the experience.

Upconverted from the 2K source, the visuals got the usual format-based boost, and that meant superior delineation, with stronger colors and smoother low-light shots. Given how much of the film took place in shadowy circumstances, the latter became especially important. This turned into a nice upgrade on an already attractive presentation.

Note that Godzilla also exists as a 3D release. Frankly, the 3D added little to the experience, as the extra dimension didn’t use the format very well. The 4K became the better way to watch the movie.

No extras appear on the 4K disc, but we get some on the included Blu-ray copy. Under MONARCH: Declassified, we get three featurettes: “Operation: Lucky Dragon” (2:44), “MONARCH: The MUTO File” (4:29) and “The Godzilla Revelation” (7:25).

All of these present faux “archival materials” that discuss the movie’s creatures. We see portions of some segments in the film itself, but it’s fun to view them in full, as they present a “real-life” look at the characters. I especially like “Revelation” as it gives us a little look at investigations after the flick’s events.

Within The Legendary Godzilla, we find four segments: “Godzilla: Force of Nature” (19:18), “A Whole New Level of Destruction” (8:24), “Into the Void: The HALO Jump” (5:00) and “Ancient Enemy: The MUTOs” (6:49).

Across these, we hear from director Gareth Edwards, producers John Jasini and Thomas Tull, production designer Owen Paterson, director of photography Seamus McGarvey, executive producer Alex Garcia, visual effects producer Jim Rygiel, sound designer Erik Aadahl, and actors Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, Sally Hawkins, Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

We learn about prior editions of Godzilla, updating the creature and character design, cinematography and effects, sets and locations, stunts and action, and sound design. The featurettes offer a reasonable look at filmmaking topics but don’t present much depth.

They come with a fairly fluffy tone and never dig into matters with a lot of detail. While we get some good notes, I think these could’ve been better.

The Blu-ray opens with a preview for Edge of Tomorrow. No trailer for Godzilla appears here.

As a franchise reboot, 2014’s Godzilla shows promise but it falls flat too much of the time. Though occasional moments thrill, the movie drags too often and features too little of its title character. The 4K UHD delivers excellent picture and audio but lacks substantial bonus materials. Godzilla presents a mixed bag as a movie.

To rate this film visit the prior review of GODZILLA

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main