The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Tristar/Sony - 1998
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 139 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Doug Savant, Michael Lerner, Harry Shearer
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Music by: David Arnold
Written by: Dean Devlin & Roland Emmerich
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 10, 2009
"Size does matter…"
Following the French atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific, an unknown creature is spotted passing westward through the Panama Canal. Scientist Niko Tatopolous is called in to investigate the matter, and he quickly arrives at the conclusion that a giant, irradiated lizard has been created by the explosions. Godzilla(r) then makes its way north, landing at Manhattan to begin wreaking havoc in the big city. Even with the combined forces of the U.S. military to fight the monster, will it be enough to save the people of New York?
Growing up I used to love watching the Japanese monster/disaster movies. I was never much of a King Kong fan and always rooted for Godzilla. This 1998 Roland Emmerich film is quite different from those vintage movies. It puts an up to date and Americanized spin on the genre that features plenty of special effects, disaster laden destruction, and a corny yet fairly entertaining script. This was one of the early discs I bought on DVD and I find it to be an enjoyable guilty pleasure that I like to revisit from time to time. It loses something when compared to the monster’s movies of old but Roland Emmerich and company know how to liven things up with plenty of city leveling action, soldier stomping mayhem, and lightly veiled humor that keeps interest going. The plot is simple, a giant fish eating reptile hybrid invades to NYC in order to nest. It lays waste to the half the city and terrorizes its inhabitants while battling the military and establishing its nesting location. With little known about its origins or what it seeks in NY It is up to a worm seeking scientist, his ex-girlfriend wannabe news reporter, and a French undercover government agent to stop the creature and his brood from multiplying and eventually taking over the world. This of course isn’t meant to be artistically deep cinema. I think it achieves its goal with over the top thematic elements and lots of action/special effects that in the end make it quite fun to watch. Keep that in mind the first time you see it and you’ll probably have a good time with Godzilla.
The rating is for monster sci-fi action/violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Godzilla comes to Blu-ray Disc from Tristar/Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.
This film has a distinctive appearance that utilizes a reserved color palette, grainy aesthetic and toned down contrast. There are lots of dark sequences which work well toward setting the mood and tone of the subject material. Color balance is good and occasionally brighter hues pop nicely which successfully breaks things up. Skin tones appear delineated and predominantly life like in depiction. Blacks are fairly deep but gradationally inhibited which leaves them looking a tad flat. Detail in dark backgrounds and shadow filled areas is very good which give many of the dingy exterior/interior shots depth. Images aren’t razor sharp but do offer appreciable refinement during close up camera shots. The wide angle pans of the city have less dimensional quality and above average definition that leaves objects in backgrounds looking less resolute. Grain is moderate to heavy at times but it is consistently layered and gives the video a noticeably textured look. This presentation definitely improves upon the standard definition DVD and appears faithful to the film’s original elements.
Back in the day I used to use the Dolby Digital soundtrack on the DVD to demo my system and looked forward to checking it out with lossless audio. This 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix is very aggressive and makes consistent use of the entire surround platform. This recording features plenty of room filling bass that augments the dynamic impact associated with the films action based elements and David Arnold’s music score. While bass response is palpably tactile it doesn’t have the subsonic depth that I expected. The surround channels are actively engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience that invigorates the soundstage. Dynamic range is extended and visceral at times when combined with the high level of sonic detail present in the recording. I never had any trouble discerning subtle vocal inflections or the presence of low level sounds that were mixed into the background. The mix primarily facilitates seamless integration of the front rear channels which enhances the films numerous panning sequences. If I had one minor quibble it would be with the volume of some of the rear channel sound effects. This is a bombastic soundtrack already and occasionally I felt that the level of the sound effects in the rear soundstage were a bit hot. Those that like active, busy and loud surround mixes are in for a treat.
This title includes Sony’s new Movie IQ feature which requires a BD-Live connection and allows fans the option of viewing continuously updated details on the cast and crew and to explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music, and soundtrack information which are tied into scenes in the movie.
- The ultimate Godzilla multiplayer trivia game
- (HD) 2012 Sneak peek – 2 minutes
- Commentary with visual effects supervisor Voelker Engel, and associate visual effects supervisor Karen Goulekas
- Behind the scenes of Godzilla with Charles Caiman (Harry Shearer in character)– 7 minutes
- All time best of Godzilla fight scenes – 10 minutes
- “Heroes” music video by The Wallflowers
- (HD) BD previews:
- The DaVinci code extended cut
- Close encounters of the third kind
- Year one
- The sky crawlers
- Monster house
- BD-Live enabled
Godzilla doesn’t fall into the category of being considered classic cinema but I find it to be enjoyable, mindless entertainment that features plenty of action and entertaining special effects that enhance the experience. Its high definition debut on Blu-ray appears to have been minted from the same source as the DVD and offers fans a discernible improvement in video quality as well as powerful DTS-HD Maser Audio lossless sound. The bonus supplements proved mildly interesting although I think Sony’s Movie IQ interactive feature is cool. I have always enjoyed this film and am glad to add it in my Bu-ray collection.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
Chances are very good that I was drinking when I posted the above.
"I find it to be an enjoyable guilty pleasure that I like to revisit from time to time"
That about sums it up perfectly for me. I never have owned this movie, but I've always found that I enjoyed watching it when it pops up on a premium channel once in a while.
Great review though Ralph.
This movie makes me think of the Transformers films. The gigantic lizard (who is nothing like the classic Godzilla of Japan) looks nice, things are smashed and blow up in huge and awesome ways, but all the human members of the cast are awful and you spend most of the movie wishing the lizard would just step on all of them halfway through and the second half of the movie is just giant lizard smashing up NYC. I wanted to kill Maria Pitillo's worthless character 5 minutes after she showed up, and poor Matthew Broderick was way, way over his head in this film. The only redeeming human actor in this film was Jean Reno, and only because NOBODY messes with with Leon the Professional.
I agree Jean Reno saves the film, definitley one of my favorite actors
Next to "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", Godzilla is a masterpiece of intellectual cinema...
If it were not called "Godzilla" in the first place, me thinks that it would be much better received as what it is: a mindless, fun, roller-coaster ride, and nothing more.
"Ya see, we plan ahead. That way we don't do anything right now. Earl explained it to me." - Valentine McKee
One sub to rumble them all. One sub to shake them. One sub to humble them all. And in the darkness break them....
My sentiments exactly. There are alot more worthy classic release that I'd like to see in Blu-Ray.
A fun movie - thanks for the review.
I've always felt that this film was the inspiration for Cloverfield although it has never been mentioned as such by J.J. Abrams. Many similarities between the two with one being the grimmer version and the other more of a popcorn romp.
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in
I think Godzilla was a great movie for what it was supposed to be. It wasn't supposed to be ANYTHING more than a popcorn flick. I think people's own hype leads them to believe a movie with a monster (Godzilla at that) should even have a plot, or good character acting (these actors weren't that bad).
Just cause it's supposed to be a popcorn flick with a monster shouldn't excuse it from being a good film. there are plenty of summer movies that actually respect our intelligence...District 9 comes to mind as a recent one...or Dark Knight
Neither District 9 or Dark Knight come under this category. All of Roland Emmerich's movies qualify as popcorn flicks.
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in
I felt that the level of the sound effects in the rear soundstage were a bit hot.
I agree Ralph with that comment. I thought the whole film the mix was quite hot. I had to go down -10db to my normal listening. The movie itself was an absolute bore. I remember watching it in the movies years a go and it was great. I guess thing changed.
LFE was good...but really didn't push my PB-13 at all.
This LFE should be more on par with Cloverfield.
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