Godzilla (1998) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Science Fiction
Sony || PG13 - 139 minutes - $24.95 || November 10, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-11-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer(s): Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Dean Devlin & Roland Emmerich (story), Dean Devlin & Roland Emmerich (screenplay)
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn


Theatrical Release Date: May 20, 1998


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Music Video
  • Trivia Game
  • Digital Copy
  • movieIQ


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

From Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the men who blew up the White House and destroyed every known landmark around the world in ID4 (and subsequently 2012) comes the 1998 monster-adventure that have split audience goers from being a totally awesome popcorn flick to one that completely raped their views on the big green creature. While I could care less how this compares to the Japanese versions, Godzilla has its own problems without making those comparisons. First, and least of all, are the characters. Obviously I donít expect thespian performances or Award-worthy writing, but if youíre going to destroy 90% of New York City and have your main characters escape death from the lizard chasing you, then you sure as hell better actually care about the people running.

The basic story on this Americanized version of Godzilla follows Dr. Niko Tatopoulos (MATTHEW BRODERICK), who is some kind of world-renowned expert on the effects of radiation and he discovers that this monster who had taken out a fishing freighter and three fishing boats was the product of nuclear testing decades earlier. Making matters worse, the lizard has made his way to the Big Apple and wrecks havoc on the citizens and historical buildings, though to be fair, the military probably did the most damage as the missiles failed to hit the monster.

Along on the journey with Niko at various stages are his heartless bitch of an ex-girlfriend (MARIA PITILLO) who dumped him after he proposed, French soldier Phillippe Roache (JEAN RENO) in town to kill the beast as it was his country responsible for it, camera man Victor (HANK AZARIA) and Colonel Hicks (KEVIN DUNN) leading the military aspects. Basically the cast run around for a good two-hours either chasing or being chased by the giant lizard through New York City trying to figure out a way to kill it before also discovering the beast is a-sexual and has laid eggs somewhere in the city which will hatch who knows how many more before they too reproduce and take over the worldís population.

I remember seeing Godzilla years ago, probably even in theaters, and initially I gave it a 3/5, chalking it up as just a standard disaster film that didnít match the hype and certainly didnít measure up to the quality levels of Independence Day, but I still enjoyed myself well enough. However, with the advancement of visual effects, and for sure this film did a wonderful job for its time, this film just does not hold up well. Between an inane story (forgiveable), characters who could die and no one would care and visual effects that while impressive didnít exactly match up to Jurassic Park which came out 5 years before, Godzilla comes across as a boring flick with a couple fun moments, but overall a movie that deserves to be lost with the average muck of other big budget disappointments.

Again, Iím not coming at this as a fan of the Godzilla films that have come before especially since I havenít seen that many; instead I looked at it as a summer popcorn film that never really takes off and match the potential the buzz had created.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Ultimate Godzilla Multi-player Trivia Game where you and friends can test your knowledge on the movie and the older Godzilla movies. I couldnít even randomly guess right on some of them. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Feature Commentary Ė The track is with Visual Effects Supervisor Volker Engel and Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Karen Goulekas. This isnít a particularly engaging audio commentary but brings some insight into the VSFX aspects of the film. Problem with specific tracks like these is when isnít anything pertaining to their field, things somehow get even drier than it was before.

Behind the Scenes of Godzilla (6:58) is a standard featurette that was on both editions previously released. The character Charles Caiman (played by Harry Shearer) hosts this featurette which has interviews with the cast and crew on where the movie came from.

All Time Best of Godzilla Fight Scenes (10:14) Ė This is a featurette showcasing action scenes mainly from this movie as well as other classic Godzilla movies.

movieIQ is a feature that pulls up various info on the cast and crew while you watch the movie. Not particularly useful for someone like me who just uses IMDb for that sort of thing... ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Finally there is a music video (4:11), a BD-Live portal and a sneak peek (2:32) for 2012. Also available is a digital copy but it can only be downloaded via the PS3. Damn, and here I wanted to watch it on my iPod.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Godzilla is presented in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Although the picture doesnít exactly jump out at you compared with some of the more current Blu-ray titles, but itís still a noticeable upgrade from the DVD. However, I did tend to notice that black levels were not the best and I also saw some pixilation along with some noise.

The Blu-ray comes with a nice and moderately heavy 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that doesnít blow your socks off or anything, but the levels all around from the dialogue and action scenes were well balanced. The center and front channels get the most use while I still noticed ambient noises coming through the rear channels.



.::OVERALL::.

Some people may still find Godzilla to be an incredibly fun popcorn thrill ride but since its release and the advancement in visual effects, the film has only shown more wear and tear than anything else. The Blu-ray is alright with above average audio and video while the features are fairly ho-hum.