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Godzilla (1998) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Image“Godzilla” is Roland Emmerich’s 1998 blockbuster bust.  There is no denying that Emmerich has created some of the most visually stunning films.  “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Independence Day” are not known for their wonderful stories, only for their visual styles.  “Godzilla” wasn’t a bust at the box office, having raked in over $130 million.  Still, that doesn’t mean this was a good movie.  It was seen simply for its visual effects.

“Godzilla” suffers from a lame story, horrible dialogue and a lack of intuitive moves.  Over the course of 139 minutes I lost count how many times the actors just stand and stare blankly at Godzilla or his hatchlings in front of them.  Have they ever heard of running?  Aside from the amount of screen time wasted on those shots, the film wastes more time on tricking Godzilla with mounds of fish and sideline stories.

Niko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick) stars as a scientist that is called in by the army for his skills in analyzing radiation’s effect on animals.  He comes to conclusions quite illogically but what the hey.  His ex-flame comes back into his life only to use his inside information to get ahead in her reporting career.  Of course, the movie succumbs to the biggest Hollywood clichés and has its lead male character take the woman back regardless of the fact that she does nothing to redeem herself.  Somehow she is able to convince herself that what she did is all Niko’s fault.

When Godzilla comes to New York to nest and lay his eggs, the US army tears up half the city trying to battle the overgrown lizard.  Since the army refuses to look for the nest, Niko and a group of French secret service agents splinter off the group and perform the search themselves.

Not one single choice in the direction this film took was logical.  Any viewer will sit there challenging ever decision made by the writing team.  It is hard to believe a script like this gets approved.

Many may not notice it, but it seems the studio has done some reediting.  At one point in the film a reporter makes reference to the World Trade Center bombings.  Obviously this is not part of the original film as the WTC bombing was in 2001 and this film was released in 1998.  Just a little side note for you all.

Lame writing aside, the Blu-ray features a rather good video transfer for the age of the film.  Sony provides us with a 1080p AVC transfer with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  The source print is in decent shape.  There are few occurrences of scratches.  There is a fine layer of grain covering the image.  This is hardly distracting.  The image is primarily dark throughout the film.  Black levels are sufficient.  Colors are stable but hardly prevalent.  The outdoor sequences at the beginning of the film contain the most color.  However, the backgrounds in these sequences appear a bit blurred.  Nevertheless, foreground objects are nicely defined.  Textures are decent but could be better.  The scaly nature of Godzilla doesn’t exactly leap off the screen.  Overall, this is a good video presentation that will please those fans of the film that need to own this film.
The star of the disc is the audio track.  Sony gives us a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  Like the audio on “The Day After Tomorrow,”  “Godzilla” is quite excellent.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it is perfect, but it comes close.  My nitpicks with the film’s audio track are the LFE channel and clarity.  Compared to today’s audio tracks like “Transformers,” “Godzilla” does not contain nearly as strong of an LFE channel.  Don’t get me wrong.  The bass is substantial in the film, but it could have been a lot tighter.  The overall clarity of the audio track is also just slightly less than perfect.  There are occasions in which the sounds all clash.  That being said, the surrounds channels are constantly engaged.  The track gives us some of the best pouring rain sounds.  Sound effects are excellently placed in the rear channels and panning is quite smooth.  Kudos to Sony.

The Blu-ray disc contains a handful of special features.  First there is a fairly standard audio commentary with two members of the visual effects team.  “Behind the Scenes of ‘Godzilla’” covers some thoughts on the story and characters.  “All Time Best of ‘Godzilla’ Fight Scenes” contains Godzilla scenes from other films.  Finally, there is the music video for The Wallflowers’ “Heroes.”  New to the Blu-ray disc is a trivia track and Sony’s movie IQ information track.  This Blu-ray disc also doubles as a Digital Copy, which is only accessible through a PS3 network.

“Godzilla” is far from being a good action film.  The visual effects look much like “Jurassic Park.”  Still, there are a fewer cool sequences.  I can only recommend the film if you know what you are getting into and have accepted it.  The video and audio transfers are stellar that if you are inclined to do so, this is a disc to own.

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