Godzilla Blu-ray, DVD Review
A decade after taking a break to “find himself,” Godzilla made his triumphant return this past summer when his eponymously-titled bio pic hit theaters. But while the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD could’ve been better, the movie is a fun romp, literally, that it almost doesn’t matter. Almost.
Fifteen years after a Japanese nuclear plant is destroyed,
turning the area into a radioactive quarantine zone, an American scientist and former employee named Joe Brody (Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston), sneaks into the area with his now adult son Ford (Kick Ass’ Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to figure out that yes, it was a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism (M.U.T.O.) that squashed the plant. But when the M.U.T.O.’s girlfriend shows up, and the two of them decide to start a family, it’s up to our hero to step in with some couples counseling. By which I mean Godzilla smacks the two monsters upside the head.
If you missed Godzilla in theaters, then, well, you blew it. Though not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, the movie is a big one, one that needs to be seen on a big screen. Which isn’t to say it’s bad if you watch it at home… on Blu-ray…on a big TV…with a nice stereo cranking out the soundtrack in surround sound…but anything less dulls the impact.
Even if you don’t see it that way, though, it’s still a pretty spectacular monster movie. More importantly, Godzilla avoids the pitfalls of both Cloverfield and the Matthew Broderick Godzilla flick. In the case of the former, it does so by having a human element, but not one that takes over the movie; this isn’t about some dull-as-fuck kids during a disaster that happens to be animal in nature. And in the case of the latter, it does so not just by avoiding needless melodrama, but also by making the titular star actually act like Godzilla. It not only looks and sounds like him, but he acts like himself as well.
That said, there is one thing you should keep in mind before watching the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD: While the movie may be named after him, he’s not in the whole movie. Taking a cue from Jaws, the G-man plays it coy for most of the film (and does so in some very creative ways). But when he is finally ready for his close-up, it’s quite spectacular.
It also helps…
if you remember that this is a Godzilla movie, a monster movie, and a popcorn movie, not a serious drama. Which means there will be some impossible coincidences, while the Japanese scientist who was studying the first creature while it was living in the nuclear plant, Dr. Serizawa (The Last Samurai’s Ken Watanabe), gets a little too…well, you’ll see. But if you get caught up in it, you won’t care that has some plot holes (though none are so big that Godzilla could walk through them).
And then there’s the fact that the whole problem could’ve been avoided if Godzilla owned a cellphone.
Along with the movie, the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD also include some interesting extras…though it is missing some that would’ve made this a lot better.
First up on the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD is “MONARCH: Declassified,” which consists of three featurettes: “Operation: Lady Dragon,” a short, faux vintage government video about the team tasked with tracking Godzilla; “MONARCH: The M.U.T.O File,” a faux training video made to welcome new people to the scientific group that studies the M.U.T.O.s; and “The Godzilla Revelation,” which plays like one of those conspiracy theory videos on YouTube, albeit a well-financed and researched one. Made to look these things would if they were real, these videos are not only entertaining because of it, but they’re also informative, as they fill in small but meaningful bits of the back-story.
While “MONARCH: Declassified” expands the fiction,
the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD also has a real look at the movie in “The Legendary Godzilla,” a series of four making-of featurettes. The schizophrenic “Godzilla: Force Of Nature” starts as an interesting look back at the original 1954 movie and its legacy, but quickly morphs into a look at the making of this one; “A Whole New Level Of Destruction” is an informative exploration at the movie’s disaster scenes; “Into The Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump” spends five minutes discussing the skydiving scene; while the seven-minute-long “Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s” goes into the origins and biology of those creatures.
As good as these extra may be, the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD has some glaring omissions. For starters, I wish “Godzilla: Force Of Nature” had just been a look back at the character and his history in film, and had left the making-of stuff about this new movie to another featurette. Or vice versa. It also would’ve been cool to hear what the people at Toho, who made most of the previous Godzilla movies, thought of this one, and what their involvement in it happened to be.
The Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD also doesn’t have any deleted scenes, even though producer Thomas Tull mentioned some in this interview that may be used in a longer cut of the movie. Granted, if there are plans for a longer cut, it makes sense that they wouldn’t include those cut scenes here, but I still wish they had.
Lastly, I wish they had included that rather well done trailers for this film on the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD, as well as the Japanese language track, especially if they did a bad job with the dubbing.
Even with these shortcomings, though,
the Godzilla Blu-ray and DVD is worth getting for the movie alone. Not only does it bring the big guy back in grand style, but it’s actually him, not some big dumb lizard who’s Godzilla in name only. Welcome back, old friend.