Fandom can be a beautiful thing. Being a geek is no longer something to be ashamed of with the onslaught of comic book-based movies and the popularity of fan conventions being at an all-time high. It’s cool to love superheroes and monsters, but I was in for an experience when director Gareth Edwards introduced the world to his take on GODZILLA. It was 2014 and fans were still bitching about the Matthew Broderick film and its bastardized version of the infamous creature. It was a sold-out crowd on opening night, fans of all ages sporting their Godzilla gear. When Godzilla finally showed up an hour into the movie, the crowd went wild and cheered him on. Iconic moments were relived on the big screen with expensive set pieces and special effects, drawing reactions throughout. It was clear by the time the credits rolled that Edwards had delivered a success. Then, there was the social media backlash after opening weekend.
All of a sudden, that immediate joy turned into everyone putting on their smug suspenders and found anything they could to complain about. The anticipated build-up to GODZILLA turned into criticism with the character’s limited screen time. The performances by talented actors like Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen were touted as wasted by characters who were disposable. The character-driven plot was frowned upon as fans demanded more action sequences. That’s when director Michael Dougherty came calling.
Already a genre favorite with the now extremely popular Trick R Treat, Dougherty was given the reigns for a sequel that promised a bigger (and more expensive) experience. With Godzilla: King of the Monsters, fans were rewarded with plenty of monster fights including those with King Ghidorah and Rodan. The film was filled with gorgeous cinematography and Dougherty proved he knew how to direct a big-budget monster action flick. The cast included genre favorites such as Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”) and Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”) as her daughter.
While the box office numbers weren’t record-breaking, there was enough of an audience to once again draw social media backlash. This time, the characters were too limited and let the fights command the movie instead. Dougherty and company clearly had listened to the response from 2014, but there’s always something to bitch about. These are movies about giant mutated lizards fighting each other so not sure if there’s a perfect formula for creating these films.
Personally, I enjoyed Edwards’ film the most. He carries a patience that allows a build-up for excitement. Once those moments hit, the wait is worth it and GODZILLA becomes one of the best disaster movies to come out in years. It carries similar themes to the original Japanese classic and modernizes it without obvious gimmicks.
For some reason, it was not given a 4K release once it hit home video. Yes, there were various Blu-ray slipcovers and steel books, but it took seven years to finally get an HDR version. The wait was somewhat worth it. The Blu-ray actually had a pretty slick transfer already and there’s a slight visual upgrade here on the new disc. GODZILLA was filmed with a lot of rain and greyed out tones so there’s not too much to show off in terms of a vibrant presentation. However, the new Dolby Atmos track is enough of a reason to double-dip here. While the action scenes sound amazing, the MUTO and Godzilla roars give that boost that makes you want to invest in a new subwoofer. There are no new special features for this release, but the previous Blu-ray is included with those features.
Obviously timed to cash in with the release of Godzilla VS Kong, this fresh 4K release carries enough of a visual upgrade and a monster of a Dolby Atmos track that warrants a purchase.
2014’s GODZILLA will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital tomorrow, March 23rd by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.