Godzilla: King of the Monsters reigns supreme on 3D Blu-ray. Light on legit character drama, the film feels much more at home with the original Toho films with a surer sense of what it is and wants to be - pure monster mayhem spectacle! To that tend it delivers the goods. Warner Brothers delivers a solid and visually arresting 3D transfer that offers some impressive depth to the image. The downgraded audio may be a bummer, but it's still immersive and effective even in its own limited capacity. If you're a 3D Blu-ray fan - this is an easy one to call Recommended.
Five years after the destruction of San Fransisco during the fight between Godzilla and the Mutos, the city has returned to an ecological Eden spurred by the creature's unique radiation. Now not so super-secret government agency Monarch is sitting on the oversight hot seat as they've identified dozens of "Titans" just like 'Zilla. Now rogue spec-ops agent turned eco-terrorist Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) with the help of Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) aims to unleash these "Titans" so that they can kill each other but rebalance the world's human population at the same time. Only problem is when they awaken "Monster Zero" King Ghidorah they unwittingly unleash a three-headed beast so fearsome that even Godzilla may be powerless to stop!
This is the part where I'm going to encourage you to take a look at M. Enois Duarte's great 4K UHD Blu-ray Review.
I find myself in full agreement with E's opening gambit: "Nobody walks into a Godzilla movie expecting cinematic genius, the sort of high-quality, artsy-fartsy caliber only shown in small arthouse theaters." This is especially important if you're a fan of the classic late 50s and 60s run of Toho Showa Era Godzilla flicks. While employing the template etched with Gareth Edwards' Godzilla and the monster show of Jordan Vogt-Roberts' Kong: Skull Island, King of the Monsters is perfectly content with letting itself be a monster show with human characters and their flimsy motivations for anything they do playing second fiddle. We're here to watch Godzilla smash Ghidorah and see what the new Mothra has in store, and by golly this show delivers. It doesn't tease like Edwards' Godzilla -- when the fight starts we actually get to see it play out! Each set piece opens up to be a bigger and bigger battle with our human characters caught in the middle.
Sure, it's not perfect. Vera Farmiga's Dr. Emma Russell is a bit out there with her motivations and character arc whiplash being a bit of a sticking point. However, Millie Bobbie Brown's Madison and Kyle Chandler's determined father figure Mark give that some balance as they appear to be the human focal point for the upcoming Godzilla v Kong: Dawn of Big Monsters Hitting Each Other. If there's a true gripe to be had with this film and E. hit it on the head with his review is that there is so much teasing for that next film it becomes irritating. We're fans, we've watched these movies we know where this is going we don't need the reminder. Entire scenes of this film play like elongated post-post credits sequences from a Marvel movie only without any point other than to remind everyone of the obvious.
I wish my summer hadn't been so dang busy. I really wish I had the chance to catch this film in the theater when it first ran. The critic reviews felt overly harsh compared to the true 'Zilla fans I knew and trusted who adored this flick. I was itching to go and by the time I planned to make a doubleheader with Midsommar, the dang thing left theaters! Watching it at home in 3D with my DTS:Neural X blasting may not have been the ideal conditions for a first-time viewing - but I enjoyed the hell out of it. From Godzilla first appearing underwater to the hatching of Mothra and her iconic call to the clever casting of Ziyi Zhang as Ilene and Ling Chen as modern versions of the Shobijin, this movie just put a big giddy childish smile on my face. It may not be a "perfect" Godzilla movie - but it's a far cry better than the bitter dregs of Mayor Ebert and his assistant Gene in the 1998 Godzilla. This one actually knows how to be fun without being patronizing. That said, if there was a way to get the 1998 Godzilla and this new one to duke it out on the big screen - I'd pay to see it.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Godzilla: King of the Monsters rips up 3D Blu-ray in a two-disc 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital set -- or -- if you get it from Best Buy an exclusive 3-disc 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital set. Pressed on a Region Free BD-50 disc, the discs are housed in a sturdy two-disc case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc automatically triggers your TV's 3D setting arriving at a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters may not rank as the greatest of the great 3D presentations of the modern era - but it's still pretty damned impressive and with some better usage of light and staging offers a much more interesting presentation than its 2014 sibling. This MVC 1080p 2.40:1 image offers a lot of terrific "window into another world" depth. The framing of each scene shows that even with simple human to human exchanges some care for depth staging was at least attempted. There's plenty of foregrounds, middle, and deep background depth. My one knock I would give this presentation is that it misses some pretty great and obvious moments to enjoy some "out-of-the-screen" pop-out effects. The three heads of Ghidora and their twisting tangling necks would have offered some great protrusion along the z-axis. Sadly, the 3D designers didn't jump for that opportunity.
Thankfully they nail the sense of scale and depth dimension of the creatures in relation to the humans on screen. My first real "wow" moment was when the humans are in their submarine and they're tracking Godzilla and Kyle Chandler is standing close to the big windows and in the far off distance is the blue glow of Godzilla's spines flickering and getting closer and closer until he's right up on them face-to-face! There are also plenty of great rain or snow elements splashing around to maintain that sense of depth to characters and objects. I would have loved to see this on something larger than my 60-inch screen, but as is, this was a ton of fun. When Godzilla and Ghidora charge each other or when Mothra flies down outta the sky - they're terrific action beats brought to three-dimensional life!
Once again, for some inexplicable reason, Warner Bros. has downgraded the audio for its 3D-Blu-ray presentation. Instead of enjoying the same terrific thundering Atmos mix, 3D-Blu-ray fans are given a strong but notably less impactful DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. On its own, this is a fine mix it gets the job down and gives some solid oomph when and where necessary during the big monster mash moments. Strictly for a 5.1 mix, there's plenty of atmosphere to go around as the movie shifts from tight cramped labs to larger command centers with dozens of people operating computer terminals. The battle sequences really open things up when you have Godzilla smashing up against Ghidora followed by gunfire and rockets from the humans - it's a hell of a scenario. This mix is strong, but it lacks the extra room to smash things up the Atmos offered on the standard Blu-ray and the 4K UHD disc. Switching on my DTS:Neural X function gave the mix a bit of a kick letting the LFE tones of the monster rumbles get a little more smash to them. It definitely helped expand the mix nicely, but again, not a clean replacement for Atmos.
All the special features are available only on the accompanying Blu-ray disc.
Audio Commentary: Director and co-writer Michael Dougherty sits down with screenwriter Zach Shields and actor O'Shea Jackson Jr. to chat about various aspects of the production.
Monarch in Action (HD, 33 min): Featuring storyboards, pre-viz animation, concept art and BTS footage, the five-part doc focuses on the various locations seen in the movie.
Evolution of the Titans (HD, 27 min): Four-part doc detailing the film's four central monsters.
Monsters Are Real (HD, 14 min): Experts discuss our fascination monsters and mythology.
Monster Tech: Monarch Joins the Fight (HD, 9 min): Closer look at the company's tech.
Monsters 101 (HD, 6 min): Cast & crew share their thoughts on the four monsters.
Millie Bobby Brown: Force of Nature (HD, 4 min): The actor talks about her involvement.
Welcome to the Monsterverse (HD, 4 min): A piece connecting the movie to Skull Island.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 5 min).
Trailers (HD, 12 min).
I love Godzilla movies. Ever since I was a critter getting my first viewing of Godzilla vs The Sea Monster aka Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, I've loved the character. Through all the highs and lows of the original Showa films to the several attempts to "Americanize" him, Godzilla remains solid entertainment value. This is true for Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It knows the standard franchise playbook and runs them like clockwork. Stupid humans - check. Plucky youngster with overwhelming access to government tech and security - check. 'Zilla knocking heads with a bunch of big bad beasties - check. Sure the humans are dumb - but whenever have they been smart?
I had a blast with Warner Bros. Godzilla: King of the Monsters on 3D Blu-ray. Details and colors may lag behind the 4K UHD Dolby Vision presentation, but, the added three-dimensional depth offers a unique presentation value all it's own. Having now been through this film a couple times, it's certainly enjoyable flat and if you're up on 4K, that's probably the best way to go. However, if you're still rocking your 3D rig, Godzilla: King of the Monsters offers plenty of entertainment bang with some impressive deep-window 3D and a solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. If you love your movies with three-dimensions, you can call this one Recommended.