Godzilla gets a second look on Blu-ray
Godzilla stomps his way from the big screen to the home screen, but does the new Blu-ray release do the film justice?
When Godzilla was released theatrically I, along with many others, was stoked to see the big guy back on screen. His last US outing didn’t turn out so well, so Warner Brothers did a great job marketing the new reboot by barely showing the iconic monster. The feeling amongst the fans was that you have to have a pretty strong movie to promote it without even showing the title character.
Turns out there wasn’t a whole lot of Godzilla to be seen on screen. (Someone recently made a rather cheeky YouTube video to satisfy all the Godzilla fans who felt the film lacked Godzilla by piecing together all of the scenes in the movie that feature Godzilla. It runs less than eight minutes.) The film spends an inordinate amount of time on the other monsters, the M.U.T.O.s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects) and a collection of characters spread throughout the story with little emotional connection for the audience.
The story’s biggest misstep was (SPOILER ALERT) killing off its biggest star 40 minutes in. The early ads featured said star prominently, so I felt I had a good idea of what the movie was going to be going in to it, but past that point it turned into a meandering tale that needed (a) the star and (b) Godzilla. But now that the movie is out on home video, I decided to give it a second look to see if my feelings about it had changed knowing what the story was going to be.
The (slightly) good news is that I did enjoy it a little more for what it was, but the film still suffers mightily from Bryan Cranston’s abrupt exit from the film. His was the one character that we could sympathize with because he had a real emotional reaction to everything that was going on. No one else really seems to be that invested in the events taking place in the film. The film does feel a bit overly long, but even at 8 minutes, there are quite a few glimpses of Godzilla throughout to tease us until we really get to see him full on. I still don’t care for the M.U.T.O.s though (thankfully, a rogue’s gallery of classic kaiju will be on hand for the sequel).
Be that as it may, the new Blu-ray from Warner Home Video is beautiful to behold. The image is sharp and clear, giving you a chance to marvel at the CGI creation that is Godzilla. I noticed one shot where his neck bounces a bit giving the CG creature the look of a man in a rubber suit. The first third of the film is served especially well as it tends to be brighter and more colorful, but even as the film darkens the blacks are deep without a hint of artifacting. The Blu-ray’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix will certainly rattle the house during the scenes of giant monster destruction. For those with a 3D display, the Blu-ray seems to have an even better presentation than what was presented theatrically (depending on the quality of your local cinema’s 3D). It is a post-converted 3D film, and while there is little that reaches beyond the frame of your TV screen, the depth that is achieved is pretty amazing.
The film is available in several versions. The Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (generously provided to CliqueClack by Warner Home Video for review) contains the 3D version on one disc with the standard version and the Special Features on a separate disc (a DVD and Digital Copy are also included). The Special Features, unfortunately, only scratch the surface of the making of the film (as with most films now, there is no audio commentary). The Special Features are broken down into two categories – MONARCH: Declassified and The Legendary Godzilla (and I think Legendary refers more to the production company than the legend).
The first section contains
- “Operation: Lucky Dragon” (2:44) – A “vintage” film about the origins of MONARCH.
- “MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File” (4:29) – A sort of “orientation” film explaining MONARCH and the M.U.T.O. to new team members.
- “The Godzilla Revelation” (7:25) – An “exposé” film from a conspiracy theory group called MonsterTruth revealing unauthorized information about Godzilla and the M.U.T.O.s to the public.
The second section contains
- ‘Godzilla: Force of Nature’ (19:18) – Gareth Edwards, Bryan Cranston and others discuss the legacy of Godzilla and how to bring a realistic sensibility to a modern film (contains spoilery footage).
- ‘A Whole New Level of Destruction’ (8:24) – Making the film’s destruction look as real as possible.
- ‘Into the Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump’ (5:00) – Explains how the jump scene was filmed.
- ‘Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s’ (6:49) – Gareth Edwards and the producers explain the development of the M.U.T.O.s.
A more in-depth look at the making of the film would have been welcome, but what is presented should please those who enjoy behind-the-scenes looks at movies. Overall, the home video presentation of the film is excellent and highly recommended for both fans and detractors of the movie. It actually does play better the second time around for those who didn’t like it, and for those who did this video release should be a welcome addition to a home video library.