'Godzilla - King of the Monsters: 4K Ultra HD'
(Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: 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.
4K Ultra HD Verdict: Warner Bros. continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this August with the release of this quite stunning 'Godzilla - King of the Monsters' on their new 4K home video format on August 27th, 2019.
For my money, this 'Godzilla - King of the Monsters: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10+, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the delicious hues and nuances of Rodan's fiery volcanic "basecamp" and the hole that is put through it by Mothra in battle!
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Godzilla is looking directly at either the humans or his titan enemies; and his face can clearly be seen as either "wearing" a smirk or not!) now have been tinged with a glorious kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.
As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos and English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself. Well, Do you like loud booms? Do you like big visual spectacles? 'Godzilla - King of the Monsters' certainly delivers an audio and visual treat that can't go unnoticed, but there are elements of the film that stand out for all the wrong reasons.
I've heard (and seen) a big number of high praising reviews for this film and although I can appreciate the that the film certainly delivers on the titan battles, and the Godzilla on-screen time moments, the general takeaway from the film is somewhat of a 'meh' feeling - purely due to what happens between those giant fighting spectacles.
The pacing of the film is somewhat fast, which of course isn't necessarily a bad thing when we all know that the real meat of the film lies in the main event.
That said, I would have really liked the film to have slowed down to explore the unique moral issues that they had decided to feature, but again I understand that this is mainly monster film and such exploration of themes isn't crucial to the film.
The human characters mostly all fall flat, with the main father character being especially cringe worthy. A lot of the so-called experts in the film (the scientists, military personnel, et al) have been given comedic traits which often results in jokes that are completely out of place and consequently devoid of all humor (Yes, that's right Mr. Whitford, I'm looking directly at you!).
For example, during one point in the film they're talking about the name of an ancient creature which is pretty significant, and due to not being able to understand the scientists accent, one of the comedic characters (Yes, Mr. Middleditch, I'm looking directly at you!) interprets the name as gonorrhea!
Now, I understand that this is meant to be a film about giant monsters, but the performances provided by the human cast really are painful at times, sorry!
Anyway, leaving the human cast issues aside, I have to give credit where credit is due, and that is in regards to the CGI, VFX, and audio work.
Although the CGI isn't drastically different from the 2014 film, where it is noticeable is when the live footage of the humans is interwoven with the monsters trampling above them.
It really was impressive to see the actors in the same scene as the monsters, with debris flying, and not really being able to tell that it's all CGI (although that may just may be the inner nerd in me paying too much attention to the details!).
Although the moment when Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) is running down the stairs at Fenway Park to escape the crumbling announcers office and she is hit by a mighty large slab of concrete, which she just brushes off and allows to "bounce" off of her, is a scene that reeks of 'Seriously?!"
Anyhoo, back on track and the audio is really fantastic in terms of the sound effects and the overall mixing. The roars are loud, and the general sound of destruction has depth and impact (especially if you have a nice sound bar and surround sound speakers, of course).
What's nice is that there are a few moments of silence, and some choir-esque soundtracks to lift up bring life and meaning to some scenes.
I suppose my main issue with this film is tied to my initial expectations. The trailers showed something quite poetic and moving with its dramatic soundtrack and beautiful artistic aesthetic in terms of how the monsters were portrayed.
But what you get is more of a generic monster movie, with some promising moments that never quite deliver anything meaningful or new.
In closing, having your hairs stand on end and your breath stuttered is a common occurrence during this film! The monsters are beautiful and terrifying and they really do embody nature's wrath in all their glory. Enjoy, I know I did!
Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on a few of the Special Features that are included.
The Commentary by Director Michel Dougherty, Executive Producer Zach Shields and Actor is amusing, entertaining, enlightening and most importantly inclusive of so many behind-the-scenes moviemaking gems that you could easily watch the movie straight away again afterwards just to pick up on them all!
For the most part it's both Michel Dougherty and Zach Shields who do the talking and reveal the insightful elements to the movie, whereas O'Shea Jackson Jr. speaks of wet set days and feeling the heat from the fire cannons!
The extensive mini-featurettes are fantastic also, in all their own rights, especially the beastly ones such as King Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine, Making Morthra, Creating Ghidorah and Reimagining Rodan. Wow, the art and craft that goes into digitally bringing them together is quite amazing to behold.
That can also be said of both the longer featurettes Godzilla 2.0 and Mothra: Queen of the Monsters which concentrate more on the heroes of the peace! The Deleted Scenes don't add, or take away much save for time on a long movie, I guess, and the Millie Bobby Brown: Force of Nature mini-featurette is both fun and inspiring.
This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:
Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of Godzilla - King of the Monsters
Experience a World of Stunning Visual Effects, Secret Monarch Locations and Monster Mythology Behind the Ultimate Battle of Titans:
• King Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine
• Rodan: Airborne God of Fire
• Making Morthra
• Creating Ghidorah
• Reimagining Rodan
• The Yunnan Temple
• Castle Bravo
• The Antarctic Base
• The Isla de Mara Volcano
• The Undersea Lair
• Millie Bobby Brown: Force of Nature
• Monster Tech: Monarch Joins the Fight
• Monsters Are Real
• Godzilla: Nature’s Fearsome Guardian
Welcome to the Monsterverse
Mothra: Queen of the Monsters
Commentary by Director Michel Dougherty, Executive Producer Zach Shields and Actor O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Own 'Godzilla - King of the Monsters' on DVD Special Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and 4K UHD Combo Pack on August 27th, 2019, or Own It Early on Digital on August 13th, 2019.
Official 'Godzilla - King of the Monsters' 4K Ultra HD Trailer