Fresh on 4K: ‘GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS’ doesn’t stomp the yard, but its A/V makes waves

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Connor Bynum // Film Critic

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS

Rated PG-13, 132 minutes.
Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Kyle ChandlerVera FarmigaMillie Bobby BrownKen WatanabeZiyi ZhangBradley WhitfordSally HawkinsCharles DanceThomas Middleditch and O’Shea Jackson Jr.

When we reviewed GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS in theaters, we gave credit to the kaiju sequel for putting its titanic creatures on full display. But ultimately, we were disappointed by the film’s lackluster human element that simply refused to get out of the way. Now that the film has received a 4K release for the home video market, this particularly flawed movie can at least look pretty great while being pretty bad.

Movie Grade: C

From our theatrical review:

“There was no greater slap in the face to Godzilla fans everywhere than back in 2014 when director Gareth Edwards’ GODZILLA went to great lengths to hide the eponymous giant monster (confoundingly like the beasts from JAWS and ALIEN) for most of the feature, choosing to focus on fairly uninteresting human drama instead. While director Michael Dougherty’s GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS takes a few cues from Edwards’ regenerated jump-off, it delivers far more satisfying thrills and terrific spectacle when it comes to what fans expect from these kinds of films. Trouble is, a lackluster human element sadly still impedes, throwing a wet blanket on the fire sparked by this new creative team.”

“The picture’s scale and scope is on a whole other level, delivering awe-inspiring widescreen visuals of these fantastic beasts in fight and in flight. Though Dougherty and cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s epic action set pieces capture what Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Rodan and Mothra would look like fighting on a heavy metal album cover, their fire-and-brimstone aesthetic assigns a gritty gravitas to the gorgeous imagery, as it augments the narrative’s ecological overtones. That said, whenever they cut away from these show-stopping monster mash-ups to the humans attempting to take down or flee from these behemoths, the battles are obscured by jittery editing and shaky cam. It’s dizzying – and not in a good way.”

Courtesy of Blu-ray.com

Video/Audio Grade: A

KING OF THE MONSTERS arrives on 4K UHD by means of an upscale treatment from a 2K digital intermediate. Its picture quality certainly contains a fair amount of additional detail than its 1080p counterpart, but Warner Bros has proven themselves far more capable of making the best out of an upscale with other releases. With that in mind, it’s a shame that this one doesn’t quite stick the landing. That being said, the increased detail, albeit marginal, is still appreciated for such an effects driven film. Textures on the monsters themselves look fantastic and most of the computer generated mayhem looks as believable as one would expect.

The inclusion of HDR10 is truly what makes the 4K purchase worth the extra cash. With many scenes dominated by a particular color, whether it be blue for the arctic or red for an ancient city engulfed in flame, the increased color depth and contrast magnificently improves the overall image. Nearly all of the film takes place at night, but the dark levels never appear crushed and there is barely a trace of unwanted visual noise to be found.

The Dolby Atmos audio mix is near reference quality. However, it is important to note that the same combination is included on the 1080p Blu-ray. That aside, Godzilla would not be nearly as menacing without his thundering footsteps and sky-piercing roar. These two extremes sound marvelous and make full use of a full home theater setup.

Extras Grade: B

Other than the director’s commentary track, no special features are included on the 4K disc. All remaining features can be found on the included standard Blu-ray. These features will likely only find true appreciation from lifelong fans of Godzilla while everyone else might see them as little more than Warner Bros. doing their absolute best to convince us to take their shared monster universe seriously.

All Special Features:

  • Monsters 101 (5:32)
  • Evolution of the Titans (27:24)
  • Monarch in Action (32:56) 
  • Millie Bobby Brown: Force of Nature (4:07)
  • Monster Tech: Monarch Joins the Fight (8:34)
  • Monsters Are Real (14:18)
  • Welcome to the Monsterverse (3:42) 
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (5:01)
  • Theatrical Trailers (12:08)
  • Audio Commentary

Final Grade: B

KING OF THE MONSTERS is an unashamedly dumb monster movie that holds nothing back and the same can be said for this 4K presentation. While its video quality isn’t quite fit for a king, its Dolby Atmos track will push your sound system to its absolute limits. Turn your brain off, turn the volume to eleven, and enjoy it for what it is.

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

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