In 1954, the first Godzilla was released and with it one of the most symbolic Japanese characters. In 1998, Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) released his version of the legendary monster, but does this version measure up to its expectations? Check below to find out.
When a Japanese fishing boat is brought down under weird circumstances, the government, recruits Nicko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick). Nick (as he is known) is taken to Panama and Jamaica to make an observation of the wreckage left by the attacker. Upon realizing what he had seen, Nick quickly theorizes that the monster can only be a mutated creature due to the fact that it originated in the French Polynesia region and its history of nuclear testing. Meanwhile, Godzilla was on its way to Manhattan to unleash havoc in the city. With Nicks’ help, the military sets up a trap to lure the giant beast out of his hiding spot. After a brief battle, Nick collects a sample of blood and finds out what Godzilla is doing in the city. This sets the remaining of the film and places the characters in a race against time before New York and the rest of the world gets taken over.
Godzilla made its debut in 1998; at least the American take or you might say a different take on the mythical beast, with certain hype and high expectations. Well to put it lightly it was a bit disappointing, complaints about the writing and weak story were talk among critics and fans, plus the acting of some cast members weren’t exactly up to par either. Also, let’s not forget the portrayal of Godzilla itself was a huge complaint. I must say I was never introduced to the Godzilla franchise before watching this film back in 1998, so to me at the time this was as good as it gets for a monster film. Obviously, without knowing about the cult following surrounding this character.
Movies are meant to be entertainment, no? Well this is where Godzilla comes in. Is not meant to be an Oscar worthy film, it’s meant to entertain. Does it achieve that? Yes, it does. There are various issues with the film and at times the acting is not entirely there, but for the most part the action sequences are engaging. The scenes of Godzilla stomping through New York City are quite a spectacle. It’s a fun ‘popcorn’ movie meant to be enjoyed.
One problem I find with this release is the CGI work. I feel that there are certain films that should not be transferred to Blu-ray simply because of the techniques used at the time. What I mean is the visual effects of the time are very obvious; Godzilla often looks phony and not very convincing. The CGI is very noticeable that anyone can quickly tell the outlines of the giant lizard, where it has been added. However, a film can’t be deprived from release based solely on this. At the end of the day this is an entertaining film and that’s all there is to it.
Godzilla arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1. The film remains true to the original presentation of the movie; the dark rainy nights set the environment for much of the film. The image appears clean, with fine detail making itself present for much of the film. The skin tones appear natural; the colors for the most part are bright during some scenes. There are no particles floating around, but there seems to be some edge enhancement used on Godzilla. Other than that the film remains as close to the original material.
Godzilla carries a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and I must say this is the best part of this release. The continuous chaos brought by Godzilla is often heard with loud booms, the bass is constantly kicking. The fronts reproduce the dialog very nice as is always clean, clear and crisp. While the rears create a nice soundfield, for example, the scene at the Madison Square Garden there are very quiet moments and the lizards can be heard from distances and the viewer will also be able to hear the direction in which the monsters are creeping around from. Various scenes showcase the surrounds, since this is an action packed film it’s hard to miss.
This release features a good amount of extras including a look back at Godzilla’s greatest fights; check below for more information on the supplements.
The Ultimate Godzilla Multi-Player Trivia Game – This trivia game features questions about the movie for the family to enjoy or if you like to go solo you can as well.
2012 Sneak Peek – A look into the upcoming Sony Pictures film 2012.
Audio Commentary – This audio commentary features Visual Effects Supervisor Volker Engel and Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Karen Goulekas they talk about the difficulties of the film, the challenges of making Godzilla, and special effects.
Behind the scenes of Godzilla with Charles Caiman – Charles Caiman gives the viewer some interesting facts about the film and is joined by other actors who talk about Godzilla.
All Time Best of Godzilla Fight Scenes – this features the best fights in the entire Godzilla history. Is a must watch for every Godzilla fan.
Music Video – “Heroes” by The Wallflowers from the original soundtrack of the film.
Previews – features Sony Blu-ray titles like Ghostbusters, The Da Vinci Code, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Year One, The Sky Crawlers, and Monster House
This version of Godzilla was not what the fans were hoping for and ultimately was a bit of a letdown. From the acting to the writing it was just not up to par. Although the film makes for a great popcorn film it’s just simply that. The film carries a decent video transfer that is true to the original source, an upgraded audio track fitting for the film, a decent amount of supplements, and while this is not the best Godzilla film it poses as a decent entertainment so for that I recommend at least a rent.