Matthew Broderick takes on the biggest beast of his career with Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s 1998 special effects creature feature Godzilla. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the film is still a delightful collection of 90s blockbuster ideas and a lot of the visual effects haven’t aged well - but it’s still a good hunk of hammy fun. The second turn on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray yields a new SteelBook, a slightly improved Dolby Vision transfer, but otherwise the same package as before. If you didn’t buy it already - Recommended
I don’t have much to add to what E. wrote previously about Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s 1998 creature feature disaster epic Godzilla. 25 years later this film remains a piece of good dumb summer movie fun. From Broderick and his earthworms to Jean Reno’s chewing gum to every New Yorker reminding everyone they’re from Newe Yawk - it’s an entertaining show even if it doesn't always succeed at hitting what it's aiming for. Watching it again after all these years I almost wish we got those sequels! But considering all of the great kaiju action we've had the last few years, it's probably for the best the franchise moved on.
For a full review, check out what E. Had to say about Godzilla in 2019 on 4K UHD
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Godzilla stomps its way onto 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the second time thanks to Sony. Celebrating the film’s 25th Anniversary, we get a new SteelBook packaging for the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs to sit in. The 4K is again pressed on a BD-100 disc while a BD-50 shores up the 10800p needs. The 1080p disc is the same old disc that’s been on the market for a while now.Also included is a digital copy slip. The disc loads to Sony’s standard static image main menu with bonus features panel along the right side.
At Sony, the motto seems to be “If we did it great in HDR10, let's do a new Dolby Vision disc with SteelBook packaging!” Similar to some of their previous efforts in this arena like Air Force One, among others, the Dolby Vision grade and new encode offer a nominal upgrade. Details are sharp and clear as before and film grain still retains its natural cinematic appeal with just a little extra barely discernable improvement. I did feel like depth was a little improved for this disc, but that largely extends to live-action sequences. Bitrate has a healthier average overall but not so high as to blow the doors off what we saw before.
Dolby Vision adds a little extra refinement most felt in the black levels and shadows. This film is fairly dark, rainy, and steeped in shadows and that little extra nuance in the HDR grade is appreciated. The third act where they’re trying to find Godzilla’s nest and the full sequence in Madison Square Garden really felt better there. However, as before, the film’s heavy CGI use has its visual drawbacks. The entire chase scene through the city or any of the CGI babies still feel weightless or just outright soft or poorly rendered. Not even Dolby Vision and a higher bitrate can compensate for that. So yes, this presentation is technically better but the mileage isn’t going to get most viewers far enough to warrant a double dip.
On the audio scale we get the same very aggressive Dolby Atmos audio track. Playing back through several sections on both discs, I didn't notice any difference. Now I liked this mix better than what E. noted in his score for his review, but I do feel his drawbacks. My biggest issue with this Atmos track was more with volume than element placement. While height channels hear plenty of action and the whole surround soundscape is quite expansive, I also felt like volume was used to compensate for nuance. When really big action setpieces kick in, big explosions do still sound a little distorted or tinny. In the end, that’s a fairly mild complaint. It’s a big loud garish movie and this audio track matches that effort. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is an alternate option but in all honesty, flipping between the two sounded rather silly. If you’re rolling Atmos, stick with that.
Here's what E. Had to say in 2019:
"Along with the video, the giant lizard disaster epic is a bombastic listen in Dolby Atmos, which comes courtesy of the same 4K remaster of the original elements. However, the soundtrack comes with several caveats worth mentioning, restraining the monster from completely demolishing the Big Apple.
The issue comes from how the height channels have been utilized, which frankly, is not wholly satisfying or effective enough to generate a convincing hemispheric soundfield. Various effects, particularly the rotary wings of helicopters and the blast of jet engines, zoom overhead at serious decibels levels, making them sound loud and somewhat distorted. Explosions, too, tend to lack clarity and precision when echoing all around, and this tends to distract from the on-screen action and visuals because they seem forced and spread thin, making the soundscape occasionally feel artificial.
Some will surely point this out as a purely subjective dissatisfaction, and while that may seem like a warranted rebuttal, such action sequences still remain exaggerated and come at higher decibels than the other channels. Besides, other moments don't have a similar issue, such as the rain genuinely feeling as though pouring from above and Zilla's growl smoothly panning across the heights. The surrounds are consistently and better employed, providing a more engaging and enveloping balance.
Also, the front soundstage is broad and spacious, continuously active with a variety of background noises that convincingly travel into the off-screen space. Though fidelity isn't the strongest during the loudest segments, largely lacking warmth and failing to sustain excellent definition in the upper frequencies, the mid-range, on the whole, maintains appreciable clarity and detailing, just enough to praise the results and warrant its final score. On top of that, dialogue reproduction is well-prioritized and intelligible even in the craziest, ear-piercing action sequences. At the same time, a commanding, authoritative low-end repeatedly provides a palpable, couch-shaking rumble and a powerful, wall-rattling oomph to every stomp, collapsing building and explosion, making this object-based track, ultimately, a fun listen at home. (Audio Rating: 82/100)"
Bonus features are pretty much the same bag as before. Sadly nothing new was added for this film’s 25th Anniversary effort. Once again the audio commentary is still only available on the Blu-ray disc.
4K UHD Disc
Coming off the high-flying intergalactic success of Independence Day, Devlin and Emmerich were the go-to filmmakers for big-money special effects summer blockbusters. 1998’s Godzilla seemed like the perfect fit for their sense of cinematic destruction and mayhem, but the film was savaged by critics and longtime kaiju fans, and was ultimately profitable but still underperformed. 25 years later, we have Toho punching out their own new Godzilla flicks while Warner Bros. keeps cooking up new ways for the big beast to fight Kong or some other giant creature. Now celebrating its anniversary milestone, 1998's Godzilla scores a new 4K UHD SteelBook release. The new Dolby Vision transfer offers up a slightly better image but probably not enough of an improvement to push for a double-dip. However, if you haven’t already bought this on 4K disc, this is the set to snag. Recommended
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