HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Godzilla 3D
HTS Overall Score:89
I remember growing up in that golden era where monster movies reigned supreme, albeit it was mostly during the days of the re-runs on cable TV, with Godzilla smashing Mechagodzilla, Mothra and even battling King Kong. I even had some fun with that stink bomb of a Godzilla film that Roland Emmerich laid out on us nearly 16 years ago. It wasn’t a Godzilla film in anything but name only, but it was still a fun “monster goes smash!” type of film. When I heard that Gareth Edwards was going back and taking a page or so out of the original 1954 “Godzilla” flick I was in like Flynn. Now I’m going to say that for the younger ones of you who grew up with Roland Emmerich’s version may be a little bit shocked at the lack of non-stop Godzilla stomping that we became used to in our day and age. Godzilla is used sparingly here and alluded to for a majority of the movie, with us catching glimpses of his back ridges or a tail, or even a leg till about half way through the film. It’s a bit flawed in its execution, but you can feel the love that Gareth had for those olden goldies that our favorite beastie starred in back during the 50’s through the 80s.
The film begins back 15 years ago when one Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is in charge of a nuclear power plant out on the coast of Japan. They had begun experiencing seismic activity the last several days without any ability to pinpoint what was causing it or where it was coming from. Going from bad to worse, the seismic activity leveled the entire plant and ends up killing Joe’s wife, Vivienne (Sally Hawkins) in the process, leaving him a single father to his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Fast forward to present day, and he can’t give up the search for the truth when those same seismic readings start to surface once more, in the same location as the old power plant. The good old government has quarantined the zone and declared it a health hazard, but Joe knows that SOMETHING is going on back there and he can’t rest till he vindicates himself and finds out what killed his wife and destroyed his life so many years ago. With the reluctant help of his son, the two men slip into the forbidden zone and there witness something that will threaten all of humanity.
It appears that scientists have been studying a “hatchling” that escaped from a prehistoric dig site in the Philippines and tunneled all the way to Joe's Nuclear plant, studying its energy readings for years and are now witnessing it’s rebirth into this world. From an ancient time when the Earth was covered in radiation, this giant monster is a juggernaut, absorbing radiation and pretty much invincible against our weapons. Rampaging across the globe in a search for radioactive material for sustenance, it can only be stopped by our biggest fear, an even BIGGER and more ancient beast that has been languishing in the depths of the ocean near the earth’s core where it can live in peace until a monstrosity like this attracts it. Godzilla himself. With the appearance of this MUTO, and the second sighting of ANOTHER MUTO that had been thought dead, Godzilla is on the hunt, acting as nature’s balancing agent, to bring order to what has now become chaos.
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa is convinced that Godzilla is here to restore balance to nature and isn’t interested in humans whatsoever; he’s focused on his giant MUTO prey. Alas, the military can’t take that risk, and headed by Admiral William Stenz (David Strathairn) they are going to try and take out all THREE beasties with a giant nuclear device in one shot, only to end up endangering the lives of all of San Francisco by nuclear detonation. Enter Ford Brody again, the only surviving bomb specialist in the area. Who will win? Will the military get their way? Will Godzilla lay waste to the West Coast? Or will it be just one giant battle to the death between gods?
I had a lot of fun in the theater, but even going in, knowing that Godzilla himself wasn’t going to be on the screen smashing things for 2 hours straight I was slightly disappointed. When you have a 2 hour run time and Godzilla isn’t the PRIMARY focus, you need good supporting characters, and that’s where the film had its stumbling. We all know the military is going to bungle things, that’s the nature of these movies. If they didn’t bungle things so badly, there would be no room for Godzilla to take things into his own hands (paws, claws whatever they are). However, when you kill off the most interesting character (and best actor) in under 40 minutes of exposition and leave us with the young pretty boys/girls, it tends to be a downturn. Aaron Taylor-Johnson became the focus of the rest of the runtime (humanwise) along with Ken Watanabe’s character; I still say that Aaron just wasn’t the right man for the job. He’s young, he appeals to the new generation, but he wasn’t the right man for the job and it just REEKS of a mistake when Bryan Cranston stole every moment of the first 40 minutes. Ken Watanabe does a decent job as the Japanese scientist firmly rooted in his belief that Godzilla was the great universal balancing device, but he still wasn’t given a lot to work with as the focus was on the rather forgettable young ones and the military.
I have some mixed reactions to Godzilla being that great balancing tool that I’ve mentioned. In the film he takes a bit of the later Godzilla mythology and is the protector of the human race (all while still completely ignoring them) instead of taking the harboring of doom that he was in the original and even in the Roland Emmerich film. It works in many situations, but they tried so hard in a few instances to try and prop him up as the good guy to cheer for that it came off as a bit cheesy. I still liked the idea of him ignoring humans as little ants and going after his prey, but the hero worship was on the opposite end of the spectrum and didn’t work as well. STILL, besides those two complaints the film itself was quite a bit of fun. The teasing Godzilla’s appearances and the little glimpses of him that we get are more visceral than actually seeing him run around roaring the entire movie. By the time that he DOES fully reveal himself we’re all giddy with excitement and read for him to start crushing things. That final battle between the two MUTO’s in San Francisco is absolutely epic and fans of the old Godzilla movies will recognize a couple of his signature moves during the confrontation (including one absolutely epic finishing move that will have every Godzilla fan cheering). The movie does have a couple of flaws that keep it from being epic, but I had loads of fun during the movie and am actually up for a 3rd watching in the next few days.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26081[/img]“Godzilla” comes to home video on a very impressive 2.40:1 AVC transfer that really tests the black levels of your display. The movie is just dark, dark and filled with more darkness, but if you have a display that handle blacks well it looks simply magnificent (except for a few small flaws). Black levels on the film are paramount and the movie looks incredibly impressive in the dark. Detail is strong and there are only a few problems in the form of some intermittent black crush and a few scenes (mainly interior military pow wow scenes) where the light is just dim and not pitch black where the contrast is so low that they start to grey out a bit. This isn’t a huge problem, but just noticeable in those few scenes. Colors lean towards deep blues and greys with some splashes of primary reds and oranges on the MUTO’s and some ship consoles. Fine detail is very strong and shows off lots and lots of little minute details, even amongst all that blackness. There is a few scenes were I noticed a lack of facial detail on Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but those were the exception rather than the accepted standard. A great transfer that will REALLY test your display’s black capabilities for sure. Bravo Warner.
The 3D presentation here is a bit of a disappointment, not an unexpected one, but still a bit of a letdown. The DP of photography is NOT a fan of 3D and it was post converted against his wishes and the lack of effort he put in shows. The movie is naturally dark and a bit low on the contrast at times and that doesn't lend itself to a great 3D experience to begin with as there is very little 3D "pop" on my scenes and the depth is just a bit flat for the majority of the time. There's still some three dimensionality to the picture, and the 3D experience tends to darken the picture a bit more than it already is, so I'd say that the 2D image is the one you're going to want to watch again and again, even if you are a big fan of 3D.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26089[/img]What better way to celebrate “Godzilla” on Blu-ray than to give it a Godzilla sized 7.1 DTS-HD MA track. When I say this is one monster of a track I REALLY mean it. I love “Pacific Rim’s” audio and it and “Gravity” were two of my favorite audio tracks in the last 12 months, but oh…..my……goodness….. this 7.1 track curb stomps you just for fun and then has Godzilla himself come and kick you in the chest every five minutes. The LFE has to be some of the strongest and most visceral bass that has graced home video since the Kaiju’s invasion of Earth, and even then those poor Kaiju had nothing on Zilla. Waves of pure low frequency just smash you constantly, and by constantly I mean there isn’t a 10 minute section in the movie that doesn’t pass by without huge wallops of bass just washing over you. I even had my wife, who’s listened to me demo test bass heavy movies for hours, come out and stare at me with wide eyes and declare that it’s the most incredible Bass movie she’s ever heard. It hits HARD and DEEP, without any filtered LFE that I can detect (I had things vibrating on the wall after bass hits that were so low that I couldn’t even feel them except with my hairs rising). Now after I’ve raved about the LFE I guess we can move on to the rest of the track. Dialogue is very good, crisp and locked in the channel I never had any issue deciphering the vocals amongst all the chaos and destruction. The surrounds are very active, but aren’t overly cooked like some of the more recent action extravaganza’s, giving a very nice sense of chaotic immersion when Godzilla is pounding it out with our nasty MUTO’s. By far one of the best tracks that I’ve heard in a VERY long time.
• MONARCH: Declassified - Discover explosive new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret
- Operation: Lucky Dragon
- MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File
- The Godzilla Revelation
• The Legendary Godzilla - Go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast for an even deeper look at the larger than life monsters in the film
- 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” is a bit of a mix of new and original, it took a page out of the 1950’s “Godzilla”, especially in keeping him a bit of a mystery till the very end, and then blended him in with some of the later mythology and kept him the protector of humanity instead of its harbinger. There is a few letdowns in the movies, specifically with some of the younger humans, but it’s overall a very fun outing and got plenty of action sequences to show off your display and the audio track is pretty much one long demo disc for LFE. I had a fun time with it in the theater, and an even MORE fun time with it in my own home theaters, as I find the experience actually became better with multiple viewings. It’s a bit of a flawed Godzilla film, but still a load of fun. Definitely recommended.
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Runtime: 123 minutes
Own "GODZILLA" on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, 2-Disc DVD Special Edition, and Digital HD on 9/16
Buy Godzilla 3D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Godzilla 2D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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