Godzilla (2014)

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner Bros.;
Sci-Fi;
$24.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.
Stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla (2014) marked a big-screen reboot of the King of the Monsters and the start of Legendary’s MonsterVerse, which would come to include Kong: Skull Island (2017), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong, hitting theaters and HBO Max March 31. The 4K release of Godzilla is nicely timed to prepare for the latest installment in the series.

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), the film is based on the character Godzilla, owned and created by Toho Co. The adventure reimagines the lizard-like giant in contemporary times and is set 15 years after a nuclear meltdown in Japan which was caused by giant MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). Years later, as two MUTOs terrorize the countryside in order to reproduce, they awaken the ancient alpha predator, known as Godzilla, whose existence has been kept secret by the U.S. government since 1954.

Godzilla starts with a strong dramatic sequence featuring Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche at the nuclear plant 15 years previous; then it flashes forward to follow their son (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a U.S. Navy officer who has just returned home to his son and wife (Elizabeth Olsen, in a pairing of the two before the Marvel series). He reluctantly leaves them once again because his father, obsessed by what caused the nuclear disaster, has been detained in the plant’s quarantine zone. Eventually, both get caught up in the chaos caused by giant monsters that feed on radiation.

As do many first movies in a series, this film takes its time introducing the true star of the show, Godzilla, and the action slows a bit before he emerges. Still, he’s quite impressive when he does. The disc features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, which is used to full effect when the bellowing, truly enormous Godzilla enters. In addition to the monster sequences, another impressive action scene features a HALO jump that is as beautiful as it is nerve-wracking. These scenes are the kind of visuals that are really shown to their best advantage in 4K.

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There are no extras on the 4K disc, but the Blu-ray in the combo pack contains the previously released special features “MONARCH: Declassified,” offering new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret, and “The Legendary Godzilla,” a behind the scenes look at the monsters in the film.

Poe-Based ‘The Bloodhound,’ Japanese ‘Invisible Man’ Classics Due on Blu-ray in March From MVD

Two Arrow Video mystery thriller releases, the double feature The Invisible Man Appears/The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly and The Bloodhound, are coming to Blu-ray in March from MVD Entertainment Group.

Released outside Japan for the first time, The Invisible Man Appears and The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly are available on one Blu-ray March 16. Unique riffs on H.G. Wells’ classic character (though undoubtedly also indebted to Universal’s iconic film series), these are two of the earliest examples of tokusatsu (special effects) cinema from the legendary Daiei Studios. In The Invisible Man Appears, written and directed by Nobuo Adachi in 1949, a scientist successfully creates an invisibility serum, only to be kidnapped by a gang of thugs who wish to use the formula to steal a priceless jewel. In addition to being the earliest surviving Japanese science fiction film ever made, the film’s  special effects were an early credit for the legendary Eiji Tsuburaya, five years before he first brought Godzilla to life. Eight years later, Mitsuo Murayama’s The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly tells the story of a series of mysterious murders where the only clue is strange buzzing noise at the scene of the crime. Could it be linked to secret wartime experiments in shrinking humans to the size of insects? And can a scientist who’s just invented an invisibility ray be the one to stop it? Extras include “Transparent Terrors,” a newly filmed interview with critic and genre scholar Kim Newman on the history of the ‘Invisible Man’ in cinema; the theatrical trailer for The Invisible Man Appears; image galleries for both films; a reversible sleeve featuring new and original artwork by Graham Humphreys; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Keith Allison, Hayley Scanlon and Tom Vincent.

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Due March 23 is The Bloodhound (2020). First-time feature director Patrick Picard brings a fresh take to one of the best-known stories from the master of mystery and the macabre Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher. Francis (Liam Aiken, A Series of Unfortunate Events), a dispossessed young man, is summoned to the secluded home of his wealthy childhood friend, J.P. Luret (Joe Adler, The Maze Runner), who is suffering from a mysterious affliction. Upon his arrival, Francis realizes that J.P. and his ethereal twin sister Vivian (Annalise Basso, Ouija: Origin of Evil) are the sole surviving members of the privileged Luret family, whose legacy has been one of depression and self-destruction, and are the only occupants of their family estate. As the old friends attempt to reconnect, a number of inexplicable incidents begin to occur within the house, and Francis finds himself drawn into a world of malaise and despair, where an act of betrayal might provide his only way out. From Leal Naim and Thomas R. Burke, producers of The Endless and Synchronic, The Bloodhound explores themes that are as relevant to today as ever, such as the yearning for emotional connection, the perils of social isolation and the fragility of mental health. Extras include audio commentary by Picard and editor David Scorca; four experimental short films by Picard; “On the Trail of The Bloodhound: Behind the Scenes of a Modern Chiller,” a 45-minute making-of featurette; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anton Bitel.

2014 Epic ‘Godzilla’ Due on 4K Disc and Digital March 23

The 2014 action-adventure Godzilla will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and digital on March 23 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla marked the long-awaited big-screen return of the King of the Monsters. The adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) from a screenplay by Max Borenstein and a story by David Callaham, Godzilla is based on the character “Godzilla,” owned and created by Toho Co. It stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Inception), Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame),  Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Cosmopolis), and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), alongside David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck, The Bourne Legacy) and Bryan Cranston (Argo, TV’s “Breaking Bad”).

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The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray disc of “Godzilla” will feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the previously released special features “MONARCH: Declassified,” offering new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret, and “The Legendary Godzilla,” a behind the scenes look at the monsters in the film.

Criterion Releasing Classic ‘Godzilla’ Blu-ray Collection

The Criterion Collection Oct. 29 (order date Oct. 1) will release Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 on Blu-ray as an eight-disc set containing 15 Japanese kaiju films.

The films will be presented with high-definition digital transfers and accompanied by a slew of supplemental material, including a deluxe hardcover book with an essay by cinema historian Steve Ryfle, notes on the films by cinema historian Ed Godziszewski, and new illustrations from 16 artists.

The original Godzilla gave rise to an entire monster-movie genre (kaiju eiga), but the King of the Monsters continued defend his throne against a host of other formidable creatures. Japan’s Showa era was marked by technical wizardry, fantastical storytelling and indomitable international appeal that established the most iconic giant monster the cinema has ever seen.

The included films are:

  • Godzilla (1954)
  • Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963) — U.S. release version
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
  • Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
  • Son of Godzilla (1967)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1968)
  • All Monsters Attack (1969)
  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
  • Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
  • Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

 

The films will feature uncompressed monaural soundtracks and, with the exception of King Kong vs. Godzilla, are presented in Japanese with new English subtitle translations. Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again are presented in the original black and white. International English-language dub tracks will be available for Invasion of Astro-Monster, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla.

The set will also include a high-definition digital transfer of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the 1956 American edit of the original Godzilla, and the 1962 original Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla.

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Other extras include:

  • Audio commentaries from 2011 on Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters featuring film historian David Kalat;
  • A Directors Guild of Japan interview with Ishiro Honda, director of the original film and several others in the franchise, conducted by director Yoshimitsu Banno in 1990
  • Programs detailing the creation of Godzilla’s special effects and unused effects sequences from Toho releases including Destroy All Monsters;
  • A new interview with filmmaker Alex Cox about his admiration for the Showa-era “Godzilla” films;
  • New and archival interviews with cast and crew members, including actors Bin Furuya, Tsugutoshi Komada, Haruo Nakajima, and Akira Takarada; composer Akira Ifukube; and effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai;
  • An interview with critic Tadao Sato from 2011;
  • An illustrated audio essay from 2011 about the real-life tragedy that inspired Godzilla;
  • Trailers.

 

The boxed set will carry spine number 1,000, marking the 1,000th Criterion release, and is listed at $224.95.

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Due on Home Video in August

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Godzilla: King of the Monsters digitally Aug. 13, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 27.

The sequel to 2014’s Godzilla follows the efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch dealing with a battery of ancient monsters, unleashing Godzilla against Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah.

The film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe and Ziyi Zhang.

The film earned $109.2 million at the domestic box office.

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The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

The Blu-ray and special-edition DVD will include commentary by director Michael Dougherty, deleted scenes and several featurettes:

  • Godzilla: Nature’s Fearsome Guardian
  • Mothra: Queen of the Monsters
  • King Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine
  • Rodan: Airborne God of Fire
  • Godzilla 2.0
  • Making Morthra
  • Creating Ghidorah
  • Reimagining Rodan
  • The Yunnan Temple
  • Castle Bravo
  • The Antarctic Base
  • The Isla de Mara Volcano
  • The Undersea Lair
  • Millie Bobby Brown: Force of Nature
  • Monster Tech: Monarch Joins the Fight
  • Monsters Are Real
  • Welcome to the Monsterverse