Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston
Written By: Max Borenstein
Directed By: Gareth Edwards
Studio: Warner Bros.
Buy On Amazon.com
Before you watch the upcoming Godzilla vs Kong movie (out in theaters March 31st in the USA and HBO MAX), watch the first movie in the “Monsterverse” with Godzilla. Godzilla is available on 4k for the first time as well, if you haven’t seen this yet. It’s not the best movie in the world but it’s at least a decent introduction to this universe.
There’s a lot of story in this Godzilla movie but the basic premise is a young soldier, U.S. Navy EOD LT Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the people in general that are located in Japan, Hawaii and San Francisco are stuck between prehistoric predators battling it out. One is Godzilla and the others are called MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Ford Brody is pretty much caught up in everything from the result of his Father (Bryan Cranston) traveling to Japan to find out what caused all these tremors 15 years ago. Then Ford is just trying to make his way back to San Francisco, where…his family is located. Duh duh duh duh dummmmm.
I never watched a Godzilla movie before, not until my kid walked by my computer right as I was looking at Vudu at the Godzilla section. It was all over from there. He’s seen endless clips of the old movies on YouTube, but never watched a movie in full until this one. I have to say, the movie was dark. Not in the terms of subject matter, but in terms of I COULDN’T SEE A DAMN THING! Gareth Edwards and the special effects dept did a good job of establishing the look of Godzilla and the monsters but they didn’t do a good job of providing the viewer with the full experience of seeing what the fuck was happening on screen. Color grading or something was totally mishandled for this film. It’s like watching the movie with sunglasses on. I think the only time I could see something was when Godzilla lit up at the end or there was a fire on screen. Even some day time scenes were dark.
Usually when filmmakers make things dark or so hard to see, they don’t have confidence in the effects. I’m not sure if that’s the case or not but despite that huge complaint, the human aspects of the movie bogged the movie down as well. I loved the character played by Ken Watanabe. Bryan Cranston doesn’t last long and the movie centers around his character’s son most of the movie, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It was a bit weird seeing Aaron and Elizabeth Olsen married together when they played twins in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Having Bryan Cranston not around that much was also a poor judgment call, although it did feel like watching Walter White with a bad wig going loco over these monsters. I get that there needs to be a story and this Godzilla film didn’t have the right balance of it. Too much story, talking and not enough monsters destroying cities and fighting.
Based on what others have said, the human parts of Godzilla movies have always been it’s downfall. It’s all about monsters beating the crap out of each other and we finally get that in the second part of the movie. Not as much as you’d like but there’s enough here to enjoy (if you can see it). In the end, this is a flawed film but thankfully Godzilla: King of the Monsters was a far more enjoyable movie that corrected a lot of the issues I had with this one. I know people probably felt differently since I barely remember people talking about that one, but I enjoyed that one far better. I could see what the hell was happening on screen, there was a lot more monster fighting and the special effects were better. I’m really excited for Godzilla vs Kong now and hope it doesn’t disappoint!
The only extras for this release are the ones that were released with the Blu-Ray, which this 4k release comes with. The main feature of this is that it’s available on 4k and looks excellent…despite the movie still being beyond dark. The main reason why I even wanted to check out the 4k release because I thought maybe they would fix some of the darkness issues. Not really the case, but it’s more of a crisper dark than smokey dark now.
Godzilla sets the stage for better sequels (Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) and I’m hoping Godzilla vs Kong is the best of the batch. We’ll see next week.
The Legendary Godzilla
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Thai
Bottom Line: Not the best Godzilla movie but I prefer this over the classic & very cheesy looking Godzilla movies
Running Time: 123 mins