Godzilla vs. Kong – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review
Amazon Commissions Earned
Film Title: Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
Release Date: 2021
Runtime: 113 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
High Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Amazon Commissions Earned
Release Date: 6/15/21
Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Julian Dennison, Brian Tyree Henry, Demián Bichir, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Kaylee Hottle
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Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom
“Godzilla vs. Kong” was a 2021 film that continues the “MonsterVerse” franchise, which was created by Legendary Pictures in collaboration with TOHO, Co. Ltd. — who created the character “Godzilla” in the classic 1954 original film. This is the fourth film so far in that new franchise that started with the remake of “Godzilla” (2014), and then continued with the films “Kong: Skull Island” (2017), and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019).
“Godzilla vs. Kong” posed the question of who will win? And it gave you the tagline “One will Fall.” The film was directed by Adam Wingard. Wingard, who comes from a horror background, is best known for directing the films “Home Sick” (2007), “Pop Skull” (2007), “A Horrible Way to Die” (2010), “You’re Next” (2011), “The Guest” (2014), and “Blair Witch” (2016), which all make for one bit of strange bit of wording when combined like that, don’t they? Joking aside there, Wingard is also known for co-directing parts in the horror anthology films “V/H/S” (2012), “The ABCs of Death” (2012), and “V/H/S 2” (2013).
The story here was based on the work of Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shields. Those guys were best known for working on the previous film, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019). The screenplay to this film (Godzilla vs. Kong) was written by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein. Pearson is best known for his co-writing on some Marvel Studios projects like the “Agent Carter” (2015-2016) TV series, as well as “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017), and most recently “Black Widow” (2021). Borenstein is best known for writing the screenplay for “Godzilla” (2014), co-writing the screenplay for “Kong: Skull Island” (2017), and most recently entirely writing the screenplay for the film “Worth” (2020). These two writing the screenplay makes for one excellent combination, looking back at their previous credits alone, in my own personal opinion.
As mentioned, this film takes place after the previous films in the MonsterVerse and it starts out with us getting to see that “Godzilla” is making an attack towards humans. Meanwhile, “Kong” is being kept on “Skull Island.” Godzilla is just destroying things and wreaking havoc, as we’ve grown accustomed to the character doing over the decades. Kong is not in the best of moods either, as he’s grown unhappy with being held captive on the so-called island. Kong has established a relationship with a young hearing-impaired girl named “Jia” (Kaylee Hottle), who communicates by sign language with Kong as well as a woman named “Ilene Andrews” (Rebecca Hall). And yes, you read that correctly, Kong is communicating with them via sign language.
So, as the movie’s title sets things up, you can imagine there’s going to be a few match-ups, or rounds rather, and that’s true — not to give you any bit of “spoilers” about the action. Along the way here, with the story, you’re going to see a few new faces as well as familiar faces from the previous film (“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”). There’s “Madison Russell” (Millie Bobby Brown) and her father “Mark Russell” (Kyle Chandler), as well as Madison’s best friend “Josh Valentine” (Julian Dennison), as well as “Bernie Hayes” (Brian Tyree Henry), an employee at “Apex Cybernetics” and podcast host (called “Titan Truth”). Madison is obsessed with trying to find the truth about the titans and such, so it should be of no surprise that she’s become a fan of Bernie’s podcast — especially given its title. She will drag her best friend Josh along with her to try to find Bernie and the truth, all while Godzilla and Kong will go at it in some pretty epic fights.
I won’t really try to tell you a whole lot about the story than I already have but I will say there are some other important characters here that you’ll grow to be familiar with. These characters include the head of Apex Cybernetics “Walter Simmons” (Demián Bichir), his assistant “Ren Serizawa” (Shun Oguri), his daughter “Maia Simmons” (Eiza González), and finally a geologist obsessed with a “Hollow Earth” theory by the name of “Nathan Lind” (Alexander Skarsgård). Here, over the course of this film, you’ll get to see what happens when the two biggest and strongest Titans fight it out and answer the question that people have asked for decades: who would win in a fight between Godzilla and Kong? You’ll find out, and I won’t spoil one bit of it for you. I found this to be very enjoyable after viewing it a total of three times now.
Movie Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
“Godzilla vs. Kong” on 4K UHD Blu-ray is presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ forms of high dynamic range all included.
This movie was shot digitally in a variety of 3.4K and 6.5K resolutions (in Arriraw codec) using the Arri Alexa 65 and Arri Alexa Mini cameras. A wide variety of lenses were used here such as the Arri Prime Dna, Petzval, Panavision Super Speed & Ultra Speed Z-Series MKII lenses, and Cooke Speed Panchro lenses (on some scenes). That’s a bit to take in, I know, for the average person. My point by emphasizing these specs is so that you l know that the director and director of photography put an interesting mixture together for this modern cinematic experience, in terms of cinematography. Finally, the movie received a 4K digital intermedia (DI) master and as a result, it comes to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format in a true 4K resolution.
Next, let me get technical, for a bit, in regards to the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc itself here. This release is using a BD-66 (66 gigabytes) disc, 56.69 gigabytes total, and 52.6 gigabytes for the film itself. Moving on. Let’s take a look at the included 2021 Blu-ray Disc release of the film. That release is using a BD-50 (50 gigabytes) disc, 40.1 gigabytes total, and 28.5 gigabytes for the film itself. So, the 4K version isn’t quite using double the space for the film but it’s pretty close, off by about 5 gigabytes. I am honestly also a bit surprised this didn’t get a BD-100 disc, but that’s just my own personal take on things. It manages to make some very impressive and effective use of the BD-66 disc, with a very nice and extremely detailed 4K presentation from the very start all the way up until the finish, when the credits roll.
The CG effects for both“Godzilla” and “Kong” look amazing here, and most especially during the facial close-ups of the characters. Their skin and hair textures, realistic movements, and just their physical appearances both come across so breathtaking in the 4K resolution, and most especially with the addition of all three current forms of high dynamic range. Speaking of which, the color palette can be very vibrant (making heavy emphasis on the neon colors later in the film). The color feels very realistic, as does the lighting and things such as wardrobe and you most certainly get some accurate flesh tones on the human actors. There’s one very solid black level here and it makes for some of the night-time scenes looking just jaw-dropping incredible.
All and all on physical media, this is one very, very magnificent 4K visual presentation that isn’t compressed like you saw streaming. You’ll be just as visually engaged by this film as you will with its amazing Dolby Atmos sound mix that I’ll be discussing in the audio section below. In its debut to 4K UHD Blu-ray “Godzilla vs. Kong” earns itself a perfect 5 rating for video quality. I cannot find anything to complain about here, and I admittedly from time to time have been known to like to overanalyze things.
Video Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
“Godzilla vs. Kong” makes its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format in Dolby Atmos with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless surround sound core for those unable of decoding the Atmos mix.
Now, when this movie first debuted on HBO Max, numerous people (including myself) found that they had to amplify its streaming version of the Dolby Atmos mix, via their AVR (audio video receiver), in terms of volume to hear it at what we thought was rightfully enough, mainly in terms of oomph, for the movie, in the form of LFE and rear channel as well as height channel usage.
Well, in regards to the previous issue with HBO Max, here on the physical release of the movie, you will not need to amplify this sound mix like before [via streaming]. In fact, you’ll be more than fine right at your reference volume level and this downright is one of the most intense of the Dolby Atmos film mixes that I think I have heard (to date). Hell, it really only takes 6 minutes to prove to you that this is better than the HBO Max sound quality. By that early into the film, especially if this is your first time watching, you’ll be able to tell you’re in for a downright thrill ride in terms of an object-based surround mix.
First and foremost, let me get it right out of the way but stating the dialogue here in this mix is delivered in a precise manner from almost entirely the center channel speaker. However, let’s face the fact that this is one movie with a whole lot more action via sound effects than perhaps even dialogue at some points — which is not at all a bad thing. Simply put, without giving you much more hype, this is some of the finer Dolby Atmos out there, with height channels being used for all the right reasons, rear channels to feel as if it’s encompassing the viewer, and if that’s all not good enough as it is, there’s also just a massive amount of bass here in the mix that’ll leave your subwoofer getting a lot of action. You will be feeling this, and I mean very early on. Trust me. The amount of low-end bass can be downright incredible at times.
Some of my real favorite highlights came around 56 minutes in, for one, where you’ll be treated to a sequence that I’d deem worthy of calling demo material. This doesn’t even involve any fighting between Godzilla and Kong either, as it’s more about the action going on in a new environment we switch over to. I won’t spoil it too much, but let’s just say it’s pretty insane, and you’ll be feeling the height channels above, the rear channels, and front left and right channels, in unison with the center channel and subwoofer giving you one immersed experience. Then, when a fight happens between Kong and some other threats things get really impressive and I totally felt right smack dab in the middle of climactic action scenes like these. This all comes many thanks to this superior physical media Atmos mix, it pulled me in even more so this time around with sound format at its peak — both in terms of quality and also literally (with bandwidth).
Speaking of the sound mix and hitting its peak, this hits the maximum bitrate that (I believe) Dolby TrueHD 7.1 will allow at 16.8Mbps for sound very often, all throughout this mix, from the very start-up until when the end credits roll. In other words, it peaks a lot in terms of bandwidth use translating over into high bitrates. And where are the rest of the demo material action sequences? Well, honestly, the action pretty much doesn’t stop after the 56-minute mark and you’ll be in for a treat. Lastly, I have to say that the music here, all throughout, and especially during the latter half, primarily with the original score, was just amazing and came across spot-on. I also enjoyed some of the original music used like a song performed by Elvis Presley.
All and all, “Godzilla vs. Kong” has easily one of my new favorite Dolby Atmos mixes on 4K UHD Blu-ray format, and the release earns itself every bit of a perfectly loud monstrous roaring 5 rating for audio quality.
Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
- A Digital Copy of the film is included via a paper insert with redeem code, which is compatible with Movies Anywhere. This means you’ll get the film digitally in 4K on a variety of online video platforms including AppleTV (iTunes), Vudu, FandangoNow, and more. It is worth noting that the iTunes (AppleTV) version on iTunes Extras of this film.
The 4K UHD Blu-ray contains only one bonus (extra) and that is an Audio Commentary with Director Adam Wingard. That also is featured on the Blu-ray that is included in this set, as I’ll cover below.
- A Blu-ray Disc of the film is included in this “combo pack” release featuring a 1080p HD video presentation in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio and Dolby Atmos sound. All of the bonus materials for the release are housed on this disc, all presented in HD video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound, and include the following.
Blu-ray Disc Extras:
- Audio Commentary with Director Adam Wingard
- “The God” focuses on “Godzilla” and consists of the following featurettes:
- “Godzilla Attacks” (6 minutes, 25 seconds – HD) includes interviews with Adam Wingard (director, Godzilla vs. Kong), Kyle Chandler (“Mark Russell”), Alex Garcia (producer), Thomas S. Hammock (production designer), Julian Dennison (“Josh Valentine”), Brian Tyree Henry (“Bernie Hayes”), and Millie Bobby Brown (“Madison Russell”).
- “The Phenomenon of Gojira, King of the Monsters“ (9 minutes, 52 seconds – HD) includes interviews with Sally Hawkins (cast, Godzilla 2014), Gareth Edwards (director, Godzilla 2014), Brian Tyree Henry (cast, Godzilla vs. Kong), Zach Shields (writer, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Adam Wingard (director, Godzilla vs. Kong), Bryan Cranston (cast, Godzilla 2014), Mary Parent (producer), Stephen T. Asma (author, On Monsters), Michael Dougherty (writer/director, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), David Strathairn (cast, Godzilla 2014, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Leo Braudy (author, Haunted), and Vera Farmiga (cast, Godzilla: King of the Monsters).
- “The King” focuses on “Kong” and consists of the following featurettes:
- “Kong Leaves Home” (7 minutes, 56 seconds – HD) features some on-set footage as well as includes interviews with Adam Wingard (director), Owen Paterson (production designer), Alexander Skarsgard (“Dr. Nathan Lind”), Thomas S. Hammock (production designer), Ann Foley (costume designer), Alex Garcia (producer), and Rebecca Hall (“Dr. Ilene Andrews”).
- “Kong Discovers Hollow Earth“ (7 minutes, 53 seconds – HD) includes some on-set footage as well as interviews with Adam Wingard (director), Alexander Skarsgard (“Dr. Nathan Lind”), Alex Garcia (producer), Demian Bichir (“Walter Simmons”), Thomas S. Hammock (production designer), Owen Paterson (production designer), Ann Foley (costume designer), and Rebecca Hall (“Dr. Ilene Andrews”).
- “Behold Kong’s Temple” (5 minutes, 52 seconds – HD) includes on-set footage and interviews with Adam Wingard (director), Alex Garcia (producer), Owen Paterson (production designer), Eiza Gonzalez (“Maia Simmons”), and Demian Bichir (“Walter Simmons”).
- “The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World“ (8 minutes, 25 seconds – HD) includes interviews with Adam Wingard (director, Godzilla vs. Kong), Tom Hiddleston (cast, Kong: Skull Island), Brie Larson (cast, Kong: Skull Island), Michael Dougherty (writer/director, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Jordan Vogt-Roberts (director, Kong: Skull Island), Mary E. Vogt (costume designer, Kong: Skull Island), Stefan Dechant (production designer, Kong: Skull Island), Jordan Vogt-Roberts (director, Kong: Skull Island), Rebecca Hall (cast, Godzilla vs. Kong), Owen Paterson (production designer, Godzilla vs. Kong), Corey Hawkins (cast, Kong: Skull Island), and Millie Bobby Brown (cast, Godzilla vs. Kong).
- “The Rise of Mechagodzilla“ (7 minutes, 6 seconds – HD) includes on-set footage and interviews with Adam Wingard (director), Jay Ashenfelter (executive producer), Julian Dennison (“Josh Valentine”), Owen Paterson (production designer), Thomas S. Hammock (production designer), Alex Garcia (producer), Millie Bobby Brown (“Madison Russell”), and Brian Tyree Henry (“Bernie Hayes”).
- “The Battles” include the following scenes, analyzed with interviews:
- “Round One: Battle at Sea” (5 minutes, 1 second – HD) features interviews with Adam Wingard (director), Thomas S. Hammock (production designer), Jay Ashenfelter (executive producer), Alex Garcia (producer), and Brian Tyree Henry (“Bernie Hayes”).
- “Round Two: One Will Fall” (5 minutes, 58 seconds – HD) features interviews with Adam Wingard (director), Jay Ashenfelter (executive producer), Thomas S. Hammock (production designer), and Alex Garcia (producer).
- “Titan Tag Team: The God and The King“ (7 minutes, 59 seconds – HD) features interviews with Adam Wingard (director), Alexander Skarsgard (“Dr. Nathan Lind”), Jay Ashenfelter (executive producer), Owen Paterson (production designer), Kyle Chandler (“Mark Russell”), and Alex Garcia (producer).
Overall, the bonus materials here are pretty in-depth, proving to be both informative and entertaining. It’s great to see that the film’s director Adam Wingard was so heavily involved with the extras and that we also get an audio commentary track from him on both the 4K and Blu-ray Discs. This is one solid set of supplemental materials, with a 4K digital copy included as well as the Blu-ray (HD) counterpart.
Bonus Materials Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Looking back on it, this soon, “Godzilla vs. Kong” — after now watching it for the third time after the original HBO Max launch viewings — I already feel that it is one of my favorites from the “MonsterVerse” that Legendary Entertainment has created. I think all of the previous films have been a lot of fun but this and one particular other just seemed to really stand out. Sure, the story was perhaps not as good as that found in “Godzilla” (2014) and even the more recent “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” film from 2019, but it had the action we wanted. Sometimes it [the action] may have felt a tad bit senseless but it is just part of what I call a popcorn action movie. Let’s be honest here, the story itself and groundbreaking dialogue exchanges sometimes take a passenger seat or even at times back seat while its title versus (“vs.”) and its the action is truly what drives a vessel. And, in this case, that vessel is a film about two titans of the “MonsterVerse” battling it out.
Plus, then you have to face the fact that they don’t speak (aside from Kong with sign language), so dialogue between them isn’t at all a focus here and it’s more about what the two are fighting over and where and how, as we the audience — a bit like the human cast in the film. Now, some might ask, does some of the action or does some of the plot or story here get ever outlandish? No, not really, but then again, there’s some weird thing that happens that might seem a bit out there to some. However, the plot point I’m referring to but not mentioning ad to avoid a spoiler is just remaining true to the legacy that the characters have created, and in this case: one specifically.
Lastly, in terms of the film itself, it’s most certainly worth noting that at the time of writing this film is “Certified Fresh” over at Rotten Tomatoes.
In terms of the video presentation, this is just downright visually impeccable and comes from a true 4K DI (digital intermediate) master, as well as 3.4K and 6.5K digital sources. The CG effects for the monsters look downright incredible and will leave you astounded. The cinematography also makes things all the more impressive and that said, this is just perfect in terms of 4K video quality.
In terms of the audio presentation, this comes with one of the most impressive Dolby Atmos immersive sound mixes that I have heard (to date) on the physical 4K UHD Blu-ray or Blu-ray formats. This is just downright something that fires on all cylinders so-to-speak, roars (literally), and will have a whole lot of stomping and explosions and other action to leave you shaking from the subwoofer likely to help you feel right in the middle of the action. The amount of use of the height channels here to make you feel like things are really roarings, soarings, or explosions, or such above you really is incredible and makes to be some pure “demo material” from start to finish.
The bonus materials here include an audio commentary track with the director on both the 4K and Blu-ray Discs, over an hour of extras all in HD, as well as a digital copy of the film in 4K. It’s a solid set of supplemental material for a film released in a time period such as now, and I’m rather pleased.
That all being said, I feel that “Godzilla vs. Kong” on 4K UHD Blu-ray, as a physical media release, comes as very highly recommended.
In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
5 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
4 (out of 5) for bonus materials