The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around.
It’s been interesting revisiting Gareth Edward’s version of Godzilla from 2014; the first in the ‘Monster-verse’ films. After the total excess of the latest instalment, Godzilla Vs Kong which dialled up the monster fighting at the expense of the human interaction, Godzilla is the complete opposite; a criticism upon its release, the monster action takes up such a short amount of run time compared to the human story.
Just as Zack Snyder’s Justice League has given a new appreciation of his Superman trilogy, a weight to where the films were intended to go, and giving a meaning with hindsight to the destruction and death, particularly with regard to the Batman V Superman extended cut, so too has going back to the beginning with Edward’s film.
Looking back now, there is a deal of understanding at what the director was trying to achieve. The beginning chapter, introducing the world, the characters, the monsters. Telling a monster story from a human perspective; giving the destruction meaning by having investment in those that are in harm's way. A shooting style that is from ground level, showing the scale and insignificance of humankind against the wrath of nature. Holding back on the monsters as a tease: a taste of what is to come. It was never intended to be a stand alone story, and Godzilla was always meant to seen as a ‘good guy’ (a far cry from his 1954 origin). The film is not perfect, the same criticisms can still be levelled, there is a tad too much of “Ford Brody saves the day” and not enough Brian Cranston, but as to Godzilla’s screen time and screen presence, I’d say he got the starring role.
Godzilla 4K Video
Godzilla was shot digitally using Arri Alexa Plus 4:3 cameras with a resolution of 2.8K and finished as a 2K DI.
The disc presents an up-scale to 3840 x 2160p resolution image with a widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratios, and uses 10-bit video depth, High Dynamic Range, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec for HRD10.
We reviewed the region free UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Godzilla on a Panasonic 65DX902B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Panasonic DP-UB450 Dolby Vision HDR10+ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
There is a good deal of detail on show in this up-scale, with skin texture and clothing weaves, as well as building facades, military hardware, computer readouts, foliage and silhouetted cityscapes holding keen edges throughout.
Whilst the Blu-ray was technically proficient, it was always dark. Of course, the film itself was always dark and it still remains so in this 4K presentation, only the HDR allows for far more shadow detail, so there is much more going on in the dark. The white scale is also boosted, giving some blistering highlights so the whole picture is graded much better, making the viewing experience more enjoyable.
The film was never a particularly colourful film, earthy hues dominate throughout but the WCG does allow for some more richness to come through; the blues in the battleship headquarters, the red of the bridge, the yellow of the school buses, the oranges of the EMP charging MUTO’s for example, explosions are given an injection of heat, likewise the sunsets and H.A.L.O. drop are gorgeous, while Godzilla’s Atomic Breath burns the screen.
Digitally there are no real issues, and the source is clean. Certainly it's the go to version of the film to see with the extra dynamic range making all the difference.
Godzilla 4K Audio
The Dolby Atmos track is, ahem, monster. Making liberal use of the surround field, bringing all the speakers into play, there is a cacophony of effects, guaranteed to keep the neighbours awake. First and foremost, the action scenes dominate; any time the monsters battle you are in the thick of the devastation. There is debris and destruction raining down, while the beasts roar through it all. Bass is ferocious and used to fill everything, with monster foot falls, collapsing buildings, missiles, explosions, gun shots and aircraft all benefitting from LF effects.
Dialogue is well handled in the mix, never getting lost, sounding very natural and given the directionality it needs. Lighter moments are filled with ambience, and the eery silences before the mayhem are used to great effect. The score makes use of all the speakers too. A blistering track!
Godzilla 4K Extras
All extras are on the included Blu-ray, which appears to be the same as the 2014 release listed below.
MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File
The Godzilla Revelation
Godzilla: Force of Nature
A Whole New Level of Destruction
Into the Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump
Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s
Godzilla 4K Verdict
Godzilla (2014) 4K Blu-ray Review
Revisiting Gareth Edward’s 2014 Godzilla in the wake of Godzilla vs Kong reveals a new appreciation for the piece. Telling a monster story from a human perspective gives the destruction meaning due to investment in those in harm’s way. A shooting style from ground level, shows the scale and insignificance of humankind against the wrath of nature and holding back on the monsters as a tease - a taste of what is to come - is something you can only get from retrospect. And you know what? It works.
The 4K UHD set from Warner is pretty good, the up-scaled picture is highly detailed and makes the best use of HDR and WCG to give a far better presentation since the dynamic range allows for more detail in the dark as well as giving a richness to the colouring. The Dolby Atmos track is a real winner with an all encompassing surround field with debris and destruction actually raining down and enough bass to wake Godzilla himself. Nothing new to the extras, however, which are the same as those included on the 2014 Blu-ray.
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