Blu-ray: King Kong vs. Godzilla (Universal)

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King Kong vs. Godzilla


English Blu-ray Title (Region A)

King Kong vs. Godzilla

Sound:

English (2.0 Mono)

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

English
91 minutes
2014
Universal
1
2.35:1 Anamorphic

Movie:

King Kong vs. Godzilla

Blu-ray

Extras

  • Chapters (18)

Captures


Review

By: Anthony Romero

Universal originally released their DVD edition of this film to capitalize on Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong film. Nine years later, and the company is doing it again except on Blu-ray, this timing eyeing to capitalize on Legendary Pictures' Godzilla (2014). While the original disc release was nothing special, it did at times boast stunning video quality. Hopes were high that at the very least this edition would increase both the video and audio quality of the subpar US version of the movie... instead it improved and detracts in the video area, improved on the audio area and shows no effort in presentation or added content.


 Video: Star Rating


My largest hope for this Blu-ray was that Universal took the print they had used for their King Kong vs. Godzilla DVD and were able to flawlessly bring it over to the HD format. The original print, which was of the heavily edited and changed US version, was uneven in terms of quality but at its best featured good details and a rich vibrant array of colors.

Sadly, this release's video quality is a step below the DVD edition in some regards except one key aspect: the level of detail is amazing. For example, the native sequences look great with a lot of detail present in the frame and the ability to really see all the way through to even the actors in the back. The areas that the Blu-ray falls short include the brightness level, which is turned way down here. This isn't enough to cause overpowering black levels, thankfully, but still looks a little off from the dark day time sequences. The colors are also varied in tone without any discoloring, for the most part, but aren't nearly as vibrant as their DVD counterpart.

As previously mentioned, the print used is the very altered US version. This reorders scenes, adds new (boring) sequences that were filmed by a US unit, removes sequences from the Japanese cut and takes out almost all of Akira Ifukube's music. Plus, oddly enough, it also inserts stock footage from The Mysterians (1957), which is in horrible condition on this release. That gets to the overall shape of the print itself. As with the DVD offering, most of the movie looks great with only a small amount of grain. However, there are sequences with notable damage. This is most often seen with discolored segments. The previously mentioned stock footage is one example as are scenes with overlay effects, such as Godzilla's atomic ray or King Kong's lightning grip. The latter make for a slightly distracting climax battle, as the color hues are constantly fading in and out due to all the effects present here.

King Kong vs. Godzilla is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

 

 Audio: Star Rating


King Kong vs. Godzilla contains one audio track: a two channel mono presentation of the English version of the film. The quality of the track is generally good, with no pops or crackles. In fact the audio quality is nicely improved over past home video releases, with the main title sounding much better than it did on DVD. It doesn't sound crystal clear, but after hearing a version of the theme on CD from the original movie I'm convinced it never sounded particularly clear due to the age and recording process. End of the day, the added bitrates on the audio track has helped improve the quality a little while the lack of distortions, such as pops or crackles, is a plus.

The movie can be accompanied by, removable, English or French subtitles. Oddly enough, the Spanish subtitles that were available on the earlier DVD release were removed for this one.

 

 Extras: Star Rating


Nothing, nada, zippo, zilch, the null set. No trailers or anything, but beyond that this disc doesn't even have a designated menu. Just a generic popup to access the chapter selection.

 

 Overview: Star Rating


I had one expectation for this Blu-ray: a quick cash in that took the, at times, stunning DVD transfer and upped the anti with a HD transfer. What we got was a rushed release, featuring no menu and introducing video problems that didn't exist in the original DVD release. The audio quality is a step up, which is nice, but given how easy it would have been to totally match and surpass the earlier disc release it's a shame this one fell a little short in areas that seemed like a slam dunk.