As usual, when looking for a review of a film on Amazon you have to wade through dozens of irrelevant ones for other format versions to find a smattering of fairly unhelpful ones of the actual product. This review is only for the blu ray version, and I won't bother discussing the film itself; if you're looking at blu ray versions you more than likely have already seen the film and liked it enough to upgrade, like me. Regarding the blu ray quality - it's excellent. I didn't find it excessively grainy and I have to say it's a hell of a lot clearer than the dvd version. Many complaints about this film were over the fact that you couldn't see enough because it was always dark and rainy. Not a problem here; still dark and rainy, but the sharpness of the blu ray image makes the details stand out. I got a lot more from this than from the dvd. The sound is better, even if you're not using a home cinema system and just a standard HD tv with dolby. The menu is entertaining, too - if you don't select immediately you get a cgi meander down the street to the accompaniment of huge, reverberating footsteps. The extras are a Godzilla trivia quiz, a visual effects commentary, Behind the Scenes with Charles Caiman, a round up of best Godzilla fight scenes, and a music video by the Wallflowers. It's widescreen format (2:40:1), audio in English, German and French DTS-HD MA, and subtitles for English (HOH and standard), Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish and Turkish. It loses a star because when all's said and done, I really like the old Japanese Godzilla stuff and would have liked a bit more in the movie related to those. But maybe someday someone will put out remastered blu rays of the originals, so I'll be able to relish them more.
on 21 December 2006
I remember going to see this film in the cinema, twice. As a 14 year old kid who was interested in movies I have to say I was awestruck on my first viewing. I simply could not believe Comptuer Generated Imagery had come so far as to have a collosal dinosaur thing roam through the streets of Manhattan.
Now I'm older an wiser I realise the story is weak to say the least, dialogue has no real motivation and the character depth is shallow. The audience follow a simple plot from one Gozilla fiasco to another without having to think, but it must be said the visuals are fairly impressive. Being released a year after Men In Black this film really went all out on CGI to be the next big thing, as well as having the largest movie promotion budget at the time. It came at the stage where movies were changing, and relying more on the fantastic to reel in the sudiences. For this, it deserves my 3 star salute.
The problem with special-effects films like "Godzilla" is 'age' - and in 2014 ("Mastered In 4K" or not) - 1998 seems like a very long time ago. But a few details first before I get into this…
I don't own a 4K TV - nor do I own the Sony BDPS6200 BLU RAY player with built-in 4K upscaling. So I suppose this review of "Godzilla Mastered In 4K" is compromised on 2 fronts. However I have what I suspect most film lovers have - a good Plasma TV and a half-decent BLU RAY player.
I’ve already bought and reviewed the BLU RAY for "Glory Mastered In 4K" just recently and loved it. I thought the improvement was huge on what went before. But unfortunately - I only sporadically see improvement in "Godzilla"(no matter how much fun it is)...and I suspect there are several reasons for this.
I’ve found that a certain percentage of BLU RAY reissues only make the print worse by exposing more – and to some degree that’s what’s happening here with 4K. A large amount of the shots are in a rain-sodden New York - or at night - or in tunnels - inside Madison Square gardens - out at sea in the dark - and mostly you simply get accentuated grain. There are so many scenes when proceedings just seem murky rather than clear – and it didn’t matter what Aspect I watched the film in. A lot of the time I felt like I wasted my money on this.
But let me be clear about the other side of the coin - there absolutely are moments when the picture quality is startlingly good – beautiful even. Broderick making a phone call on a payphone in the rain – Hank Azaria talking to his girlfriend in a coffee shop - earth worms coming up to the surface of the mud as he sends shocks into the clay – Jean Reno’s face as he turns around in a taxi on the docks…these were superbly filmic. But overriding all of that is another core problem…
Special-effects shots that were once state-of-the-art and thrilled audiences – now seem hammy and worse - obviously painted in. When you think of the recent "Transformers" films or "Man Of Steel" or "Avengers" or "Total Recall" and realize just how far effects have come on – the feeling that the giant reptile is actually there in New York no longer plays because spaces and hiding techniques now show up more than ever.
So is Mastered In 4K a gimmick? No it's not. The new format on BLU RAY is in its infancy for sure as far as releases and market interest is concerned - but judging on what I saw with "Glory" – 4K will eventually take over – and does make a difference if the print is properly restored.
It just appears that some films will benefit more than others. I would advise either avoid this one or try to view first before you buy…
PS: Titles MASTERED IN 4K as of April 2014 are:
1. Angels And Demons (2009)
2. Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
3. Elysium (2013)
4. Ghostbusters (1984)
5. Glory (1989)
6. Godzilla (1998)
7. The Karate Kid (2010)
8. Men In Black (1997)
9. Moneyball (2011)
10. The Other Guys (2010)
11. Pineapple Express (2008)
12. Spider-Man (2002)
13. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
14. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
15. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
16. Taxi Driver (1976)
17. Total Recall (2012)
There's loads of fun to be had with this CGI monster fest. Sure, it gets a tad bogged down around the streets of New York but there's a big pay off inside Madison Square Garden and the final chase is really well done. Matthew Broderick is the charming geeky scientist brought in to examine the strange happenings and he's ably assisted by Maria Pitillo as an extremely perky journalist. The movie wastes five minutes of sub plot about French Nuclear testing which gives Jean Reno a reason to be around and to be fair his mysterious French military man is by far the best character. The CGI monster's are well rendered and chase around like mini T-Rex whilst the big fella looks good tearing up the town. Hank Azaria brings a bit of comic relief and not just because you spend a few minutes thinking "does he do voices from the Simpsons?" In the end, the geek finds love and the humans win....what's not to like!
on 30 July 2016
I've loved Godzilla since the 1954 movie of ''Gojira'' - watching this was a no brainer, whether or not it was a downfall I would not stop watching it, and I'm glad I did watch it, the fighting scenes with the army was awesome, the ending of the movie left it open for the sequel in which is yet to be released or created....Godzilla is the king of all monsters.
It felt like this take on Godzilla was advertised for 2 years in advance of its actual release, every time (it seemed) I went to the cinema I was awestruck by little teaser trailers, in fact the one of the old guy fishing and hooking Zilla is a personal favourite...SIZE DOES MATTER! Love it I do. Sadly as most of us now know, the film didn't meet fans and critics expectations at all, but was the film done down by the hype and an expectation of a masterpiece for the genre?
Well it didn't help that is for sure, but taking aside that problem, the film only glimpses at what might have been. It has many great points that seem to have been forgotten, so sadly we are all too aware of the film's failings on the makers behalf. The build up in the film is excellent, the makers mount the tension in steady strokes, doing what all classic monster movie makers do, they have you waiting with gripping expectation of the creature by a series of scenarios and inventive dialogue. The sound is incredible, making it an essential viewing for those who cherish home surround cinema, while some of the shots and destruction of New York are well worth the viewers time.
But then? Well they throw the good work away by turning the film's focus away from the big lizard to a story line that was only fitting for the cartoon version of Godzooki. Thus rendering the film as a poor man's Jurassic Park, which quite frankly doesn't sit well. Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Hank Azaria all deserved better scripting, hell we all did!
It's not the evil stinker some would have you believe, it does have its moments of both good and bad, it is, by definition, very much a film split down the middle. 5/10
Well, I've been suckered into watching yet another Roland Emmerich disaster movie - never again, though. I'd somehow missed this 1998 film until a friend recently suggested that I watch this as they knew I was a fan of the 1954 Japanese version Godzilla  [DVD] but I think I'm about to cross them off my Christmas card list as I thought this film was just awful, with an appallingly bad script, mediocre acting, banal humour, and an unbelievably poor grasp of basic geography (Godzilla is in the South Pacific one minute, and then totally inexplicably appears off the coast of New York on the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean - why? how? who knows? who cares? - the director obviously didn't....).
The original Godzilla rampaged around Tokyo causing mass destruction with fiery "atom breath", but the poor Godzilla in Emmerich's film had no such weaponry, just enormous size, and is consequently hamstrung from the start. San Francisco would have been a much better location for this Godzilla's antics as it's at least on the edge of the same ocean that spawned Godzilla; and Frisco also has a significant population descended from Japanese immigrants, so that would have added a touch of authenticity too. Why New York was chosen is anyone's guess - maybe Emmerich hates the place and likes to see it repeatedly destroyed in his films...
On the plus side, Godzilla is nicely animated and looks intimidating enough, but I can't forgive the director for omitting Godzilla's atom breath as that's such a major feature of the monster. Godzilla's children were also animated well enough, but looked too much like a rehash of scenes from Jurassic Park [DVD] and didn't really add anything for the story, except to set up a sequel - please, no, NO!
But the negatives are too numerous for me to like this film, with a dreadful script that plods along at times, and mediocre acting in the most part - although Jean Reno managed to squeeze a bit of wry humour out of very poor material, very often with just a raised eyebrow or a Gallic shrug; he had the air of someone who knew he'd been lumbered with a turkey, but was doing his best to rescue some credibility.
This film had the trademark Emmerich "suspend all disbelief before watching" special effects where all sorts of improbable and unlikely things become possible, such as the manic taxi ride around numerous obstacles, into Godzilla's mouth and back out again... It also had very poor, supposedly humourous, dialogue that just wasn't funny at all - the scenes with the mayor were some of the worst and just fell totally flat.
If you liked Emmerich's other films like 2012 [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] then you'll probably love this version of Godzilla. But if you hated 2012 then steer clear and watch the original 1954 version of Godzilla instead. Or maybe even try the 2014 version by Gareth Edwards which has had mixed reviews, but looks a lot more promising than Emmerich's turkey; I'll rent this one soon just so that I can make up my own mind: Godzilla [DVD] 
This movie's biggest problem is its title. I can't imagine how much money it took for Toho to permit American filmmakers to completely reinvent Godzilla in such an appalling way. As a Godzilla purist, I have to say that the monster in this film is a CGI imposter who has little if nothing to do with the real thing. Godzilla does not have remarkably svelte, feminine legs and he most certainly does not lay eggs - even the son of Godzilla was adopted. I was willing to play along with Toho in 1985 and pretend that all of the Godzilla sequels up to that point never really existed, but I'm not going to accept this Americanized monster as Godzilla. It would have been much better (and probably much cheaper) just to call this thing Reptilosaurus or Freakin' Huge Monster or The Monster That Ate New York - anything but Godzilla.
All my Godzilla issues aside, this really isn't that bad of a movie. This was intended to be a "popcorn" movie, a summer action blockbuster that sought merely to entertain - and I did find it entertaining. Heck, I even liked the French guy, and that almost never happens. Of course, it was the French who got New York into this mess with their atomic tests, but here they actually recognize that a problem exists and do something to rectify the situation - that, even more than the CGI Godzilla's wake of destruction - is how you know this is pure fiction. Matthew Broderick carries the film pretty well as "the worm guy," and that Maria Pitillo is just cute as a button. Harry Shearer's rather needless role as the smarmy local news anchor is interesting only because of the Simpsons connection (apparently, his real voice is that of Principal Skinner). Hank Azaria, who can be annoying at times, adds some great comedy to the film, which prevents him from being completely overshadowed by the mysterious French agent Philippe (Jean Reno).
There's plenty of action - there's no denying that fact. What Godzilla doesn't tear up himself, the military destroys in the process of trying to kill the world's biggest illegal alien. Bombs, explosions, tanks, rifles, missiles by land, sea, and air - they're all here in droves. Then, of course you have the whole siege of Madison Square Garden by untold numbers of baby monsters. And then, just when you think the credits are about to roll, the biggest chase scene of the whole movie takes place. None of it is remotely plausible, but it's not supposed to be. For some, such as me, the film is ultimately rather sad. Here's this monster created by radiation, and all he wants is to raise a family - and then he has to watch his whole world fall apart and ultimately fail.
There is a bit of the oddball in this film. I am still trying to figure what the heck the deal was with the Siskert and Ebert parody (Mayor Ebert and his assistant Gene). Where in the world did this come from? Did someone actually think this would be funny? It's really just extremely silly, and it does the film no good whatsoever. You can also add some really stupid lines of dialogue to the movie's faults -New Yorkers arguing over driving directions while the monster is breathing down their tail, the "That's a lot of fish" throwaway line, etc. The movie is also pretty long - many will find it too long, but I rarely mind getting extra minutes for my money. Ultimately, though, this film relies far too much on special effects; give me the guy in the big rubber suit any old day. Notwithstanding this, however, the film does what it sets out to do, and it succeeds rather well at meeting its less than lofty goals; first and foremost, this is, after all, nothing more than a "popcorn" movie.
on 5 August 2015
Cartoonish 1 dimensional characters, a monster which looks like phony CGI T-rex (makers hoping to cash in on the popularity of Jurassic Park), wooden acting and lots and lots of rain. This film was just awful, in one scene our group in their taxi literally drive the taxi into the mouth of Godzilla....I'll say no more.
It’s not a popular opinion on the internet (where even the original films are widely ridiculed), but the 1998 American version of Godzilla is, once it gets going, is a surprisingly enjoyable monster movie, albeit one that’s best thought of as a big budget throwback to the classic American rampaging creature features of the 50s that inspired Godzilla rather than a Godzilla film per se. As an origin story there are no monster mashes but plenty of “We’ve tried everything and nothing can stop it!” rampages and showdowns between the big feller and the military, be it submarine attacks or helicopter chases through the skyscrapers of New York, and if that’s all you’re expecting it’s a fun popcorn flick on an epic scale.
Not that it’s without some major problems. Yes, there’s some very bad bad dialogue (“That’s a LOT of fish!” “We’re going to need bigger guns”). Yes, Maria Pitillo’s heroine is annoying (as, sadly, are all the women in the film) and Harry Shearer’s comic relief too broad. But, after the first third, which doesn't really work as well as it should, once the monster appears it's quite enjoyable, and the last third with the Babyzillas in their nest in Madison Square Garden (and Jean Reno impersonating Elvis) is great fun, David Arnold’s superb score and camerawork pull off one of the most effectively executed false endings in a blockbuster and the then-surprisingly dark, rainy look for what was intended as a fun summer blockbuster now almost looks bright and sunny as designer gloom has become the default visual option for so many big budget fantasy franchises. Time has taken some of the shine off the FX but they’re still for the most part impressively photorealistic and while this Godzilla doesn’t have much personality he’s given a lot more screen time than in any other Godzilla film before or since.
But the giant dinosaur in the room will always be the fact that this is not the Godzilla that fans of the Japanese films know and love but has been given an ill-considered redesign from a guy in a suit to a giant iguana-like reptile. Changing the look of such an iconic movie monster is the kind of bad idea that’s like turning King Kong into a giant werewolf. What made it worse was the redesign was kept a big secret until the film’s release, building up unrealistic expectations of what the new look would be that were fuelled by the bigger is better marketing overkill. At first it was fun to see huge billboards on office blocks promising 'He's bigger than this building' or huge billboards covering a block saying 'His tail is this long,' but when they booked what seemed every single billboard in every capital city in the world with variations on the same theme, it got tired fast. It didn’t help that director Roland Emmerich boasted of completely changing Godzilla and producer Dean Devlin was giving self-aggrandizing interviews about how this was what the Toho Godzilla would have been like if they had access to modern effects and of bearing the awesome responsibility of making the year’s biggest hit and talking up the proposed sequels before it even opened, while the film’s classic first teaser trailer took a swipe at Jurassic Park’s takings by having the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex effortlessly crushed by Godzilla’s foot. Such self-satisfied hubris was just riding for a fall, though it’s worth noting the film still sold more tickets than the 2014 version and ended its run showing a decent profit even if it was a long, long way from the filmmakers’ unrealistic expectations.
Taken away from those unrealistic expectations and the fanboy outrage of 1998, it holds up pretty well. It’s certainly not disrespectful to the original films, bowing to the big feller’s origins by opening on a Japanese ship and it comes up with a credible explanation for why modern weapons don’t work – heat-seeking missiles aren’t much good when your target is a cold-blooded lizard. And Toho have made plenty of worse Godzilla movies, not least Godzilla 2000, which ushered in the last and most inconsistent series of Japanese movies (with this film’s Notzilla having a brief literally throwaway cameo that’s the highlight of the worst of them, Godzilla: Final Wars). As long as you’re not expecting a classic kaiju film but accept it as a Hollywood monster movie with (then) state of the art effects, it’s an enjoyable low-brainer that offers far more entertainment value than some modern summer blockbusters.
That the film’s overambitious box-office expectations weren’t met has always been apparent in the extras package the film received on DVD (where it was one of the first major releases) and Blu-ray. Where there was no shortage of material swamping the TV airwaves during the film’s release, little of it made it to home video. The DVD featured and audio commentary by visual effects supervisors Volker Engel and Karen Goulikas and creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos, theatrical trailer and the two teaser trailers, music video (Heroes), behind-the-scenes featurette (introduced in character by Harry Shearer but running only a third as long as the version that played on TV and omitting its interview with the original man inside the suit Haruo Nakajima), and a before and after f/x stills and stills gallery, all of which is less substantial than it sounds. The Blu-ray offered only the commentary, music video and featurette and adding a few extracts from Sony’s Toho Godzilla titles and a trivia game but offers a very substantial upgrade in picture and sound quality.