Godzilla 3D review

Blockbuster creature-feature roars onto Blu-ray with a reference-quality 7.1-channel soundtrack

Hollywood's second attempt at bringing Godzilla to the bigscreen avoids the (many) pitfalls that befell Roland Emmerich's terrible 1998 effort. However, this hasn't stopped this new reboot from stumbling into a couple of its own making.

Returning to the original idea of its titular character as a nuclear-powered force of nature, Godzilla positions its human cast as spectators in a battle between the beast and the new-made M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). This allows director Gareth Edwards to build on the techniques he developed for his 2010 debut Monsters; the action is viewed from humanity's point of view, with the monsters themselves frequently obscured by the destruction they cause and their sheer scale.

It's not a bad idea and goes some way to bringing a little mystery back to the franchise. The trouble is that the character who acts as the audience's primary viewpoint into the film (Aaron Taylor-Johnson's bomb disposal expert) just isn't very interesting, and the contrivances needed to ensure that he's always where the action occurs sometimes beggars belief. The supporting cast is packed with actors like Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins and Juliette Binoche – any one of whom could have improved the human element that dominates so much of the film had they only been given more screen time.

Picture: While Godzilla wasn't shot in native 3D, the conversion here works pretty well, thanks to the film's vast amount of green-screen and digital VFX. This is evidenced by the Blu-ray's stereoscopic 2.40:1-framed MVC 1080p encode, which offers good separation and dimensionality for much of its running time.

Unsurprisingly, image clarity drops off a touch during the final act as Godzilla and the M.U.T.O.s face-off against one another at night in the ruins of San Francisco, although the use of pockets of light on different planes during night shots helps sell the 3D effect in even the darkest scenes, demonstrating a level of forethought on the Edwards' part that hasn't always been present in other ret-cons.

The alternate AVC 2.40:1 1080p 2D presentation (which arrives on a separate disc) scores better when it comes to the overall clarity and brightness of the image. This in turn aids the resolving of shadow detail, resulting in an even more finely-nuanced and textured hi-def presentation. Given the frequently dark and gloomy visuals the film adopts, it's about as good as you could hope for.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: As we learnt from Pacific Rim, any movie based around the notion of giant monsters rampaging around cities is going to come with some hefty assumptions where the soundtrack is concerned. Even so, this Blu-ray release of Godzilla still managed to trump our expectations with its staggering DTS-HD MA mix.

Dynamic, powerful, aggressive, expansive and detailed from start to finish, the disc's 7.1-channel soundtrack delivers on all levels. And while it was inevitable that there would be no shortage of booming bass, it's the way in which low-end effects are controlled that really stands out.

To see what we mean, spin up the railway bridge sequence in Chapter 8 where the bass-rich clicks and vocalisations of the M.U.T.O circle around the soundstage – as the creature itself circles around the two soldiers hiding there. It's an astonishing acoustic experience of precision and control.

So do we have any complaints? Only, considering the film was mixed theatrically for Dolby Atmos, that this Blu-ray release hasn't been turned into the flag-bearer for the home incarnation of the technology.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: There's not a lot to get excited about here. Monarch: Declassified hosts a trio of in-universe films – Operation: Lucky Dragon (three minutes) regards the original encounter with Godzilla, The M.U.T.O. File (four minutes) explores the film's other monsters, and The Godzilla Revelation (seven minutes) reflects on the events of the movie.

The Legendary Godzilla contains four featurettes looking at the making of the film. Godzilla: Force of Nature (19 minutes) is an interesting overview of the production, A Whole New Level of Destruction (eight minutes) deals with the set and production design, Into the Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump (five minutes) looks at this key scene from the film; and Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s (seven minutes) handles the creation of Godzilla's opponents.

If Godzilla is to be re-released on Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos audio upgrade in the not-too-distant future (and if it was we'd queue up to buy it), then Warner Bros. Home Entertainment should also take the opportunity to give the extra features a much-needed boost as well.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: Astonishing 7.1-channel sonics make this incarnation of Godzilla the king of the monsters on Blu-ray

Godzilla 3D, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £28 Approx