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Godzilla - Blu-ray Review

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Godzilla (2014) - Movie Review

5 stars

Leave it to Godzilla to restore the balance as the 2014 summer box office begins to warm up and go nuclear. That’s right the King of the Monsters returns! From Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, director Gareth Edwards (previously behind the wonderfully dazzling Monsters) presents audiences with a brand new Godzilla flick that honors the legendary Toho run of films and rewards viewers with a titanic monster vs monster smackdown in 3D.

Destroy All Monsters has been replaced. THIS – that’s right, the 2014 Godzilla – is THE kaiju movie to beat.   Edwards, with grace and humor behind the camera (much like Spielberg in his younger years), adds his own twist to the creation of the famed monster but manages to never dismiss the original 1954 film. In fact, the story embraces the original with nods to the events in that film but adds a massive cover-up by the United States Government concerning the existence of the big lizard.

David Callaham (screenwriter of The Expendables) produces a straightforward no-nonsense story that teases Godzilla to build suspense before it rewards with an all-out assault against the multi-limbed and flying Mutos, all of which crave the nuclear energy that created them. It also – thanks to input from Frank Darabont – supports some solid characterization from the talents of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston.

But let’s face it, who really cares about the humans when gigantic monsters are attacking the city and only Godzilla can save us? The creatures sell the movie this time. The monster designs – especially in IMAX 3-D – are incredibly detailed and practically flawless as they bite, scratch, and attack each other, leveling cities and buildings just like in those Toho productions. In fact, Edwards’ movie feels a lot like one of the Toho Godzilla films (except there’s no rubber suit); it is that finely-tuned to what audiences want to see.

And, in the middle of the entire spectacle, Edwards brings out one of the best scenes involving humans risking life and limb to fight back the roar of nature (impossible, I know). A dangerous sunset military jump over San Francisco right into the lion’s den as beast battle beast is the highlight. The scene is beautifully choreographed and captured thanks to some sharp cinematography and a music selection of tonal voices that is eerily reminiscent of the choral voices used in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The men descend into a literal hell on earth and we plummet with them, reminded of the peril by aerial views and the wordless chorus. 

I have seldom cheered at movies; this one had me cheering and applauding as the anti-hero restores the balance our meddling selves have created with all the neglected atomic age work. In no time at all, Godzilla goes from being a secret to a savior.   You will be disappointed if you miss out on seeing this on the big, big screen and feeling every wrinkled minute of his familiar roar.  Godzilla deserves to be a monster hit.

Godzilla (2014) - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Runtime:
123 mins
Director
: Gareth Edwards
Writer:
Max Borenstein
Cast:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston
Genre
: Action | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Godzilla 2014
Memorable Movie Quote: "The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control... and not the other way around."
Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: http://www.godzillamovie.com/
Release Date:
May 16, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 16, 2014
Synopsis: An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence..

Godzilla (2014) - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 16, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: A, B

Well, Legendary Pictures has a bit of an issue on their hands. Someone fell asleep during the transfer process (and don’t tell me to adjust me settings because it DOESN’T help). The 1080p high-definition transfer is a prime example of a studio blockbuster Blu-Ray done absolutely wrong. Only the daytime scenes work. The image is sharp in all the right places, with particular attention given to the most minuet features of the human characters. However, this is not the home transfer audiences have been waiting for. Godzilla and the M.U.T.O.s and 75% of the movie occur in the dark and the transfer – with blacks that absolutely crush the picture – is way too dark. In spite of whatever setting the television can possibly be set to, the on-screen action is deplorably muddy during the nighttime sequences. Want to see Godzilla in detail? Forget about it. Unless there is a fire behind him or electricity zapping out of Godzilla’s mouth, you aren’t going to see shit. The train sequence? Ruined. Manipulating the brightness of the screen only compromises the look of the film; it doesn’t really help matters either. The black levels are that overwhelming. Apparently, there is already a petition to release a corrected version of the film. Good luck with that. The complaints are out there. Is anyone listening? Speaking of listening, the monstrous 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is truly magnificent.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

The supplemental material is nicely organized but lacking in any real significance. Divided into two separate sections, the bonus material is about MONARCH’s early days and how the group first encountered Godzilla. The real behind-the-scenes stuff is contained in the second section. Cast and crew discuss everything from their thoughts on the King of Monsters to Edwards’ strengths behind the camera, with some delivering some surprising well-thought-out insights with special looks at the H.A.L.O. jump and the development of the M.U.T.O.s. If the actual transfer was better, I might actually be able to recommend picking up this release.

  • Operation: Lucky Dragon (3 min)
  • MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File (4 min)
  • The Godzilla Revelation (7 min)
  • Godzilla: Force of Nature (19 min)
  • A Whole New Level of Destruction (8 min)
  • Into the Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump (5 min)
  • Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s (7 min)

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