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Godzilla Blu-ray Review

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Better-chosen actors, better roles and a better script may have saved this decent reboot

by Casimir Harlow Oct 22, 2014 at 7:51 AM

  • Movies review

    65

    Reference Status
    Godzilla Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £20.00

    Godzilla 3D Movie Review

    Attempting to balance substantive build-up with grandstanding pay-off, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reinvention plays it safe on the middle-ground.

    As a result it loses both some of the fun to its action elements and the tension to its calm before the storm moments. Following his acclaimed low budget sci-fi debut, Monsters, Edwards struck it big by landing this gig, tasked with reinventing and rebooting the legendary Japanese nuclear-chomping city-stomping monster for a new generation, and thrown a huge $160 million budget as well as a solid cast to play with. The only issue was the script and, unfortunately, the quartet of successive writers brought in to draft, polish, and rewrite the script could only spell bad news. There’s a fair amount to enjoy in Godzilla, it’s just extra disappointing because it should have been better. Quite simply it should have either had a better story or more pronounced action. Having said that, it’s still got qualities that earn it a place as this year’s Pacific Rim.
    The creature designs are imposing and impressive; there are epic set-pieces that astound you with their sheer scale; and sequences which remain memorable even if you’d already seen them five times before thanks to another unforgivable trailer. And fans of the classic movies will find plenty to revel in and plenty to appreciate, with Edwards paying his respects and certainly finding the right dark and ominous tone to pervade the piece. It’s just a shame that he didn’t either get the character-driven story right, as with Monsters, or merely “go big, or go extinct”, Pacific Rim-style, and instead played it safe with a movie that doesn’t achieve greatness in either camp. Still, at least they got Godzilla himself right, and boy is it great to see him back in all his glory delivering some magnificent building-toppling moves and roaring like only Godzilla can roar.

    Godzilla 3D Blu-ray Video Quality

    Godzilla Godzilla 3D Blu-ray Video Quality
    Godzilla stomps onto Blu-ray with a stunning, picture-perfect 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition 2D video presentation along with an accomplished but frequently limited 1080p/MVC-encoded 3D conversion.

    In its native 2D format, this must surely be one of the most impressive video presentations of the year – a movie bathed in darkness but resounding in detail, which stands up despite its desire to play in the shadows and the smoke and dust, delivering the reign of destruction right to your doorstep in all its near-apocalyptic glory. Detail is excellent throughout, with fine objects coming under close scrutiny, revealing worn skin textures, battered clothing weaves and ruined background flourishes with supreme focus and clarity. The colour scheme is obviously skewed to reflect the dour tone, and the prevalence of darker sequences further feeds this, but all of it comes with very few signs of digital defects – even the rampant, all-engulfing shadows and darkness does not lead to little more than some almost unavoidable hints of crush at the core and banding at the edges.

    With a near-perfect 2D presentation and a frequently impressive 3D counterpart, Godzilla continues to shock and awe on Blu-ray.

    Although technically proficient, Godzilla was always going to struggle in its 3D guise. It would be easy to land this all at the doorstep of it being a conversion, but there are plenty of impressive conversions out there these days. No, the reality is that no movie so staggeringly bathed in darkness was ever likely to look stunning in 3D. Sure, Pacific Rim had a fair amount of darkness, but it lit up that darkness with robot glow and neon aliens – plenty of Tokyo-style jazz to liven up the image. Godzilla’s image design is all about the shadow-play, teasing us with the mighty beast as he appears here and there in the dust and smoke. Making that look good in 3D was always going to be an uphill struggle.

    Still, despite the struggle, the results are far from bad, with some welcome depth and roundedness to the characters, and even to the creatures when they’re not bathed beyond belief in darkness. The daytime shots are considerably more immersive and effective, with plenty of layering that gives the image a suitably epic scale and heightens the impression of rampant city/country-wide chaos. Both buildings and beasts have more presence and impact, with vertigo-inducing moments of them looming down upon you, and the battle sequences (which are, to their credit, mostly day-set) look suitably punchy. Ultimately, it still brings down the overall video score, with a perfect-10 2D video presentation and a somewhat lower 3D score averaged out here, but the 3D – just because it’s not quite demo worthy – is far from bad, and an arguably valiant effort given the material, which simply wasn’t designed with 3D in mind.

    Godzilla 3D Blu-ray Audio Quality

    Godzilla Godzilla 3D Blu-ray Audio Quality
    Undoubtedly the one thing that is likely to universally impress home audiences is the stomping DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack, which stomps onto Blu-ray and has you utterly trampled and destroyed come the end of the feature. Fine-tuned to provide nuanced atmospherics during the tense build-up, as well as neighbour-bashing bombastics during the latter end of the feature, the aural accompaniment impresses throughout as one of the most accomplished tracks delivered to home formats this year.

    Arguably one of the most accomplished audio tracks of this year, Godzilla is guaranteed to stomp all over your living room.

    Dialogue gets clear and coherent delivery throughout the proceedings, rising above the maelstrom whether in whispers or shouts, and given precedence across the frontal array where necessary. It’s the effects coverage that truly impresses, however, and not just in terms of ground-shaking monster-bashing – the atmospherics are superb, with keen surround activity and a fine-tuned sound design that elevates every little ambient flourish, crafting an all-engulfing, thoroughly immersive experience which delivers even when the great beasts aren’t ground-pounding one another. With a strong LFE core, fantastic directional observation, and enthusiastic surround usage, this has surely got to be one of the most accomplished reference and demo-quality tracks to reach Blu-ray this year.

    Godzilla 3D Blu-ray Extras

    On the extras front a quintet of Featurette-based offerings don’t exactly inspire and impress, but do offer a far from barebones package for those who would like to know a little bit more about the production. Force of Nature looks behind bringing the beast back to the Big Screen and provides a backbone background Making-Of amidst the others; A Whole New Level of Destruction accompanies this with a closer look at the set design; Into the Void: The HALO jump looks specifically at crafting this key sequence; Ancient Enemy: The MUTOs looks at crafting a suitably opponent for Godzilla; and MONARCH: Declassified offers up a trio of in-character segments which offer up a nice news-featurette style backdrop for the events before, during and after the movie. There's also a single Preview - for the superb Edge of Tomorrow - which plays automatically on start-up.

    Godzilla 3D Blu-ray Verdict

    Godzilla Godzilla 3D Blu-ray Verdict
    Better(-chosen) actors put into better roles with a better script shaped around a better narrative might have justified the slow-burn approach to the material, and it could have given the film an added layer beyond just the expected monster-bash mayhem.

    Unfortunately, for some this attempted depth failed. So the film, in a bid to combine the best of both Pacific Rim and Edwards' own Monsters (in terms of pure monster action and character-driven story, respectively) didn't quite work, and instead felt diluted on both counts.

    It's great to see Godzilla in all his glory but we may have to wait for a sequel to see if they perfect the formula.

    This Region Free UK Blu-ray boasts excellent video – both in its 2D and 3D guises – and impressive audio, as well as a salvo of Featurette-based extras to chomp on. Fans should consider it a must-have; and as demo material it’s certainly a prime contender.


    The Rundown

    Movie

    7

    Picture Quality

    9

    Sound Quality

    10

    Extras

    4

    Overall

    8

    8
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