Michael Scott

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters


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Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

It seems like everyone and their mother has begun copying the unified world building that Marvel started 11 years ago, with DC trying it, the TV world trying it, and now even Warner Brothers has begun their “Monsterverse” with Godzilla 2014 and Kong: Skull Island being the first ones, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters being the followup (and actually predecessor to what is most CERTAINLY a King Kong vs. Godzilla film in the next few years) in the new WB created Monsterverse. The film also acts as a compliment to the classic Toho 15 film set of original Godzilla movies coming out from Criterion this year (I’m literally squirming in excitement to grab that one), and a film that garnered some mixed, to negative, reviews when it came out theatrically due to how rabid the fanbase is over their pop culture icon. While it IS a minor step down from 2014’s Godzilla (which also suffered from some mixed reviews from the fanbase who was expecting something more like the Toho films), King of the Monsters is still a mindlessly fun monster movie that brings in some classic characters to battle with the A-list lizard on the big screen, with modern special effects and high class sound mixing.

The initial critical reviews when King of the Monsters hit theaters mainly focused around the bland human characters, the pacing, and whatnot, but that was only the symptom of an underlying condition on the film. Which was “too much, too many, and too chaotic as a result”. Simply put, the creators took the concept of the 2014 Godzilla return and just crammed EVERY villain and monster they could in the films 132 minute runtime, and that includes the human characters. Humanity is suffering from the fallout of a post Godzilla world and his battle in San Francisco a few years back. Scientists Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) suffered loss of their baby boy during the San Francisco battle, which has seriously strained their marriage. Emma and their daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are working on a giant machine to take and modify the newly discovered Titans on earth (of which there are now dozens found in hibernation, including Mothra, Rodan, and more Mutos), while Mark satiates his grief and anger by heading out into the wilderness to study wildlife.

However, everything is thrown into disarray when a paramilitary group headed by one Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) starts breaking in and stealing Titan DNA from the various hibernating creatures. Madison and Dr. Russell are kidnapped in the process, forcing the secret government agency Monarch into bringing Mark Russell back so as to use his expertise in tracking them down. Unfortunately for them, a simple rescue operation turns the world on its end when it’s realized what Alan Jonah and his paramilitary force are really after. The location of a super secret Titan whose existence has been kept a secret due to his great power. Ghidorah, the three headed dragon. Jonah’s plan is not just to steal DNA from them, but to actually UNLEASH Ghidorah (and the rest of the Titans) on the world in some gigantic plan to reset humanity back to the stone age, where we can try to compete on Earth once more, just without the technology and nations that have allowed us to run a muck.

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The basics of the plot boil down to the very basic idea of Eco-terorrists with monsters. A small faction wants to watch the world burn and start us over from ground zero because we’re to blame for the world’s problems, while the other side believes “we can change!” and there’s still hope for humanity. Throw that sub plot into a giant Godzilla monster movie and this is what you get with King of the Monsters. Now, I didn’t think the criticisms of this film was completely justified when I saw it in theaters. I mean, I certainly see it as on par with Kong: Skull Island and not on par with the original 2014 Godzilla, but I seriously had a good time with in the theaters. Fast forward a few months to the home video release and I still hold those same opinions. There are too many sub plots and too many villains for Godzilla to fight against (enough for several sequels in fact), but for someone who just wanted to see Godzilla stomp and atomic breathe a bunch of other monsters, this was a stupidly good time that had me pushing popcorn into my face with gusto.

Once again, the human characters are the weakest part of the movie, and many of the human eco-terrorist sub plots could have been trimmed, or cut out completely, without any negative impact on the movie at all. Even just keeping Charle’s Dance’s character trying to unleash Ghidorah and cutting out everything else would have been PERFECT, as that’s all we were really there to see. An excuse for Godzilla coming out of the ocean and pimp slapping some more monsters back to the stone age. Period, end of story. The acting itself is really not bad at all, its just simply too much story in the film, making it feel overstuffed and bloated.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language




Video: :4.5stars:
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Shot on Arri Alexa cameras and then transferred to home video on a 2K digital intermediate, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a great looking Blu-ray disc. While it’s not AS dark and as much of a stress test on your display’s black levels, King of the Monsters is still a DARK and deeply shadowed film. Black levels are paramount and Warner Brothers has not dropped the ball in this department. Fine shadow detailing is exquisite, showing off every little nuance of Godzilla underwater, or in his lair, or just against the dark night sky. Monsters show different textures and feels to them depending on the type they are, and while you CAN see the CGI meet with live action here and there, it’s overall a very impressive blending of computer generated material and the real world. The color grading shifts from a deep blue to an orange red for most of the film, highlighted against the more neutral look of the human base ships interior. Each one pushes the colors in different directions, with neon tinged highlights for items such as Godzilla’s atomic breath, or the flames of Rodan’s mountain, or the ice blue and white of Ghidora’s icy grave. There’s some underwater banding and some in the night sky, but said banding is rather minor in comparison to others and black crush is to a minimum with a solid display.







Audio: :5stars:
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Warner is one of the “good guys” when it comes to their Atmos tracks, being kind enough to put them on the Blu-ray AND the 4K UHD disc (well, outside of the 3D Blu-ray which is a downgraded 5.1 DTS-HD MA track). Like they are usual to do, there IS a supplementary 5.1 Dolby Digital track, but it is NOT chosen by default, and instead the Atmos track is the default playing track

Now, no one was expecting a weak and mild audio mix for a Godzilla film, and you won’t be disappointed with it either. The mix is hard, loud, aggressive, and just rippling with sonic low end power from beginning to end. The rumble of the ships, the roar of Godzilla himself, as well as the crash and smashing of the battles between Godzilla and the rest of the Titans is literally epic in nature. The surrounds and overheads are awash with discrete background noises, ranging from the thudding of helicopter rotors, to the swooshing and swirling of water and wind as massive wings beat down from above and around the listening position. With that added height layer (due to the larger than life nature of Godzilla and his enemies) the sonic immersion is absolutely incredible and makes this a perfect audio mix to the core. The LFE is simply punishing and truly 5 star worthy, but I must make an important distinctive comparison to the 2014 Godzilla. That bass was jaw droppingly hot, but it had a negative connotation. As much as I loved loud and hot, Godzilla 2014 was full of baked in clipping as the mix was just STUPIDLY hot. The LFE is more dialed in here, and instead of just being loud for the sake of loud, it has a more refined and clean sound to it as the mixers didn’t over cook the bass in an effort to create a loudness war. Don’t get me wrong, when Ghidora slams his feet down, or Godzilla powers it there is bass a PLENTY, it’s just not bloated and overcooked, presenting itself more cleanly and clearly, which sounds much nicer when comparing both tracks side by side.









Extras: :4stars:
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• Audio Commentary by Director
• Godzilla: Nature's Fearsome Guardian
• Mothra: Queen of the Monsters
• King Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine
• Rodan: Airborne God of Fire
• Godzilla 2.0
• 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
• Welcome to the Monsterverse
• Deleted Scenes












Final Score: :4stars:


Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a fun movie, but one with a few flaws that have it ever so slightly lower rated than the 2014 re imagining of the iconic lizard. The plot is a bit overstuffed and crams a lot of his villains and allies into one single movie, instead of fleshing them out over several. It also once again focuses on the human characters just a bit too much, which creates a rather bland center section of the movie, and by the time the full on chaos and insanity of the multi monster fight truly begins it’s almost too little too late if you know what I mean. Still, this is a Godzilla film, and there’s plenty of crunching, munching and smashing to keep me fully entertained. This is a demo disc from beginning to end in both video and audio, and whether you get it on 4K UHD or Blu-ray, is just pure stupid fun. The extras are rather copious for once, and with the high technical specs makes for a no brainer if you’ve been keeping up with Warner’s “Monsterverse” that was stated 5 years ago. Fun Watch.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
Written by: Michael Dougherty, Zack Sheilds
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), English, French , Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 132 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Own Godzilla: King of the Monsters on DVD Special Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and 4K UHD Combo Pack on August 27, or Own It Early on Digital on August 13.
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Recommendation: Fun Watch

 
Last edited:

Asere

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Thanks for the review. I look forward in watching this one.
 

Jack

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I am torn on this one Michael, I have not seen it and have kind of a barrier between me and the movie. I like Godzilla movies but this one gives me pause. Based on your review however, I will get it in house and watch it shortly. Thanks
 

Sonnie

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I may have commented on the 4K version review... but really liked this movie... great LFE.
 

Jack

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That double seals the need to see this movie.
 
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