Blu-ray: GODZILLA (Sony)

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GODZILLA


English Blu-ray Title (Region A)

GODZILLA

Sound:

English (5.1 Surround), French (5.1 Surround), Spanish (5.1 Surround), Portuguese (5.1 Surround)

Subtitles:
Length:
Release:
Company
:
Discs:
Aspect Ratio:

English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
140 minutes
2009
Sony
1
2.40:1 Anamorphic

Movie:

GODZILLA

Blu-ray

Extras

  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (16)
  • Trailers: 2012 (sneak peek), Ghostbusters (Blu-ray), The Da Vinci Code, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Blu-ray), Year One, The Sky Crawlers (US), Monster House
  • Ultimate GODZILLA Multi-player Trivia Game
  • Behind the Scenes of GODZILLA with Charles Caiman (7 minutes)
  • All Time Best of Godzilla Fight Scenes (10 minutes)
  • Music Video: Heroes - The Wallflowers (4 minutes)
  • Audio Commentary by Volker Engel, Karen Goulekas, and Patrick Tatopoulos
  • Digital Copy for PSP

Captures


Review

By: Anthony Romero

The first release of GODZILLA on Blu-ray is in some respects both commendable and disappointing. On the commendable side, the disc sports great video and audio quality, marking a huge upgrade from the DVD releases. On the disappointing side, the extras are largely holdovers from the DVD releases, in standard definition and lacking in quality. This presents an offering that is still worth getting, although feels a bit lazy at times.


 Video: Star Rating


GODZILLA is a dark film. A lot of the action sequences take place at night or in the dark confines of a messed up Madison Square Garden. Consequently, if this transfer was too dark it would have really impacted the enjoyment of the release. Thankfully, Sony did a great job here, going with a level of brightness that makes details visible while at the same time getting some really deep and nice blacks in the frame as well. As for the coloring, there is no obnoxious tint or discoloring present. The colors themselves are natural looking, although lack the level of vibrancy that the DVDs had, most overt in the reds. The sharpness of the movie looks great, though, with a lot of detail seen in each frame. Sadly, there is a bit of noise on the video track. It was hard to spot grain on the earlier DVD releases, although it's possible that the compression hid it, but it is visible on this release.

GODZILLA is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, which is slightly wider than the original 2.35:1 aspect. This is done through very minor cropping at the bottom of the frame.

 

 Audio: Star Rating


This disc is packed with four different audio tracks. Three of these are lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1, which are English, French and Portuguese. The Spanish track is Dolby Digital 5.1, and not lossless.

Focusing on the English track for a bit, Sony has done an excellent job with the presentation here. There is tremendous range from the audio, feeling like it places the viewer in sequences through great directionality. This is especailly true in the rainy segments, where it feels like the listener is surrounded by it. The audio has great clarity as well, even when speakers are cranked up. Explosions make great use of the bass, and overall this presents an exemplary track for a modern film.

As for the other three tracks, the French one here is the same dubbing found on the earlier GODZILLA: Monster Edition DVD. This includes some bad performances mixed with actor Jean Reno doing his own lines in French, which makes it noteworthy. The Portuguese one has better performances overall, while it also dubs on screen text into Portuguese. The Spanish one isn't as crisp sounding as the other tracks, which is understandable as it's not lossless. The dubbing performances are also a little weak, while like the Portuguese track it verbally mentions on screen text.

To go along with the four audio tracks, the Blu-ray also includes five subtitle tracks. Two of these are in English, one a subtitle version and the other a SDH version (subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing). The other three are in French, Spanish and Portuguese. Naturally, all five are removable.

 

 Extras: Star Rating


Sony has includes numerous extras... with minimal effort. Most of these are taken from the GODZILLA: Monster Edition DVD and presented in standard definition.

First off, one thing the disc has that isn't found on the previous DVD releases are new trailers... to unrelated films. This includes, The Da Vinci Code, Year One, The Sky Crawlers and Monster House. A sneak peek for the, then, upcoming 2012 is also included, the only quasi relevant one since it's from the same director. Lame Blu-ray adverts for Ghostbusters and Close Encounters of the Third Kind are also included. The kind that don't sizzle the actual movies, but rather are stuffed with dialogue like "the first time on Blu-ray" and "packed with amazing features" that make them dated and uninteresting. These are all in high definition, which is more than can be said for the other extras here, although it's a shame they didn't include trailers for the actual 1998 movie in HD.

Next up is a new feature called the "Ultimate GODZILLA Multi-player Trivia Game". This can be played with a single player or multiple players, with options for 10, 15 or 20 questions. Questions are sometimes written and sometimes are accompanied by a clip from the movie. A sample of the latter is showning a scene in Madison Square Garden and then asking: "What is laying all around the eggs?" with possible answers being fish, cats, corpses, etc. Some might find it interesting, although the trivia is easily answered by just having watched the movie recently.

After this is the seven minute featurette on GODZILLA, rebranded as "Behind the Scenes of GODZILLA with Charles Caiman". This standard definition extra has some really dated and cheap effects to it, while is a bit too cheesy to the point where it hurts at times. Sadly, it's really not that informative either.

This is followed by the 10 minute "All Time Best of Godzilla Fight Scenes" extra. The bonus feature is a standard definition clip show touting the other films that, at this point in time, Sony had the US license for. The only exclusions are Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) and Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999). Sadly, this features really dull moderation and dated sounding techno music, sucking the energy out of the clips shown in quick succession. The quality is also lacking, displayed in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio with skin-like texture added to the top and bottom. To add insult to injury, it sometimes uses full screen versions of these movies and then slaps the texture on top to disastrous results. Overall, this extra is worth skipping.

Next up is the four minute music video "Heroes" by The Wallflowers. This is sadly presented not just in standard definition but also the video track is not anamorphic. Instead it's a 1.85:1 aspect ratio that is being shown in a 1.33:1 sized image due to large black bars at the top and bottom. As always, it's an interesting music video as it was created with special effects that briefly shows Godzilla. However, it would have been great to get it in better quality, as it's badly compressed here.

Lastly is an audio commentary track with Volker Engel (visual effects supervisor), Karen Goulekas (associate visual effects supervisor) and Patrick Tatopoulos (creature designer and supervisor). This is billed as a "visual effects commentary", and is the same track found on earlier DVDs. While there is some nice insight on occasion, there is also a few comments that make it clear that this would have benefited from some rehearsal as they sometimes aren't sure on details.

On a final note, it's worth bringing up the menu. It's of a low quality CGI city block, which looks cheap, like it was right out of a Playstation 1 cut scene. Frankly, it's not even befitting an early DVD release let alone a Blu-ray one. Sony would have been better off using a still image without an animated menu over this.

 

 Overview: Star Rating


This disc is appealing for a good video and audio presentation. These are, let's face it, the most critical components of a home video release. The extras here are mostly disappointing, and have aged poorly due to being brought over from the DVD release. However, this presents the situation where this disc is lacking versus the GODZILLA: Mastered in 4K Blu-ray release, which has superior video quality but no extras. As a result, although either is a good buy, the 4K edition (which isn't actually 4K) is likely the better investment.

Note: we tend to scan in the covers for these reviews to have a more accurate look for them. However, this cover is glossy, with a prism-like reflection to it. As a result, it did not scan in well. Consequently, a promotional image of the cover was used instead.