Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth entry in the Monsterverse franchise, taking place three years after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. As the title indicates, this movie is the rematch some fans have been waiting almost 60 years for since the characters first fought in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). Director Adam Wingard and his crew have created an impressive spectacle of visual effects destruction.
Kong is housed within a containment dome on Skull Island, which helps explain his absence from the previous movie. Ilene (Rebecaa Hall) oversees the operation, and her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who is deaf and mute, has a special bond with Kong.
Meanwhile, Godzilla attacks an Apex Cybernetics facility on the Florida Coast. No one knows why, but conspiracy podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) has his theories. Having already encountered the creature in King, Madison Russell (Millie Bobbie Brown) doesn’t believe Godzilla is acting randomly. Enlisting her friend Josh (Julian Dennison), they seek out Bernie, who gets them inside Apex to search for answers.
Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), CEO of Apex, believes there is a potential energy source at the center of Earth. To find it, he hires former Monarch scientist, Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), who believes in the Hollow Earth theory, and that it is the location from where the Titans came. Believing Kong could serve as a guide there, Nathan, accompanied by Ilene and Jia, leads an Apex team that transports Kong to Antarctica on an aircraft carrier. Naturally, Godzilla senses Kong and there’s a spectacular battle in the ocean that a few humans foolishly try to take part in.
They fight again on the streets of neon-lit Hong Kong in an amazing sequence that looks like a dorm-room, black-light poster come to life as they usually do before one’s bloodshot eyes. Like many superhero team-ups in comic books, they stop fighting each other to unite against a common foe.
As seen during the credits of King, one of King Ghidorah’s skulls was obtained. Apex uses the DNA to create a Mechagodzilla controlled by a human mind. However, no one considered the forces they were dealing with. While Godzilla and Kong fight Mechagodzilla, Madison and her friends work to hack the computers controlling the giant robot.
Screenwriters Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein expand the mythology of the Monsterverse and have written scenes with tension and humor, but the story is just an excuse to give audiences a breather between the action scenes.
The special effects teams at Moving Picture Company, Scanline VFX, and Weta Digital do outstanding work that will hopefully be recognized during Awards Season. Where the previous pairing saw the characters played by men in runner suits which the viewer was hard pressed to overlook, the CGI versions of Godzilla and Kong move in ways more natural to their species.
The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed in the the original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The colors pop off the screen in strong hues, especially the neon colors in Hong Kong. Blacks are inky and don’t crush. The image delivers sharp focus, and the texture detail, from the scales and hair on the titular characters’ bodies to the devastation they cause individually and together is stunning.
The audio is available in Dolby Atmos, which downgrades to Dolby TrueHD 7.1. At my typical volume setting, the dialogue plays quieter so I had to turn up. The viewer is immersed by sound effects that fill the surrounds, are positioned in and move across channels. The bass is strong, too much at times as the subwoofer and speakers rattle on occasion.
The special features includes an audio commentary by an enthusiastic Wingard. The other extras, all in HD, are one 62-minute making-of featurette for the franchise broken down into subjects. Cast and crew from this and previous movies talk about Godzilla (two segments), Kong (four segments), Mechagodzilla (one segment), and each of the movie’s three battles. Unfortunately, there’s no Play-All option.
If you like special-effects work and seeing things get smashed, Godzilla vs. Kong is the movie for you. The visual and audio components on this high-definition disc set a high bar for other blockbusters.
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