Sunday, June 13, 2021



Label: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 113 Minutes 
Audio: English Atmos, TrueHD, 5.1 Dolby Digital, Dolby with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p UHD Widescreen, 1080p HD Widescreen 
Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González , Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir

This is it - the big monster match-up we've been waiting for, the culmination of the four MonsterVerse films - Godzilla Vs. Kong has arrived on home video! Set five years after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters we have King Kong still living on Skull Island, albeit inside a huge semi-virtual dome structure, under the care of Monarch's resident Kong expert Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall, Tales from the Loop), who lives on the island with her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who is a deaf orphan, the sole survivor of the Iwi natives who we previously saw in Kong: Skull Island. Jia has a connection with King, communicating with him through sign-language, which she has taught him. Then we have mega-wealthy CEO of Apex Cybernetics Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir, Perdita Durango) who recruits d Hollow Earth theorist Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård, HBO's True Blood) to lead an expedition to the Hollow Earth, through an entrance located in Antarctica, an expedition requires that he borrows Kong, with the permission of Dr. Andrews to guide the mission. On top of that you have a trio of truth-seekers, conspiracy nuts comprised of podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry, Joker), Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown, Netflix's Stranger Things), the daughter of Monarch deputy director Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler, Super 8), as well as her more sensible teen pal Josh (Julian Dennison, Dead Pool 2).

That's the various human elements in a nutshell, and all of it is as ridiculous as you might imagine. I have long been hopeful that someday we would get a large-scale disaster epic that didn't have a human element at all, a notion which first occurred to me when I saw the, as I remember it anyway, wordless trailer for Roland Emmerich's 2009 worldwide apocalypse film 2012 which featured epic scenes of natural disasters. I thought to myself, I could easily watch a two-hour apocalyptic film with nothing but the world being destroyed. Could I, though? I don't know, it has not happened yet, but I wish someone would have the balls to do it. The human melodrama of most disaster/apocalypse films are so rote and over-worn, let's just chuck it out the door altogether. Remembering 2012 it's the destruction sequences that were far and away my favorite stuff, all the human bullshit just got in the way, and I say that as a tired and true fan of John Cusack. 

Back to Godzilla Vs. Kong, obviously the filmmakers here know we are here for the giant-sized monster action, and they deliver it in heaping doses of eye-popping and ear-shattering destruction. Sure, we have the human stuff, but I think they purposely made it a bit silly and not overly-serious that it washed over me like a cool breeze in between the big-boss battles, so well-done guys, easily allowing me to check my brain at the door and enjoy the carnage, and I am completely fine with that. 

We open with a scene of a grizzled, older looking Kong on Skull Island, then onto Godzilla attacking an Apex base in Florida, using his Atomic Breath to lay waste to the facility, For years Godzilla has been away from the spotlight, keeping to himself, so why is he waging war against the human population all of a sudden? It turns out that *MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD*  evil-corporation Apex is secretly building a MechaGodzilla, a giant-sized Titan killing machine modelled after Godzilla, that is controlled by human pilot, Ren Serizawa, the son of the late Ishirō Serizawath from Godzilla and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, connected through a neural network made from the skull of one of the severed heads from Ghidorah. Now, Godzilla does not know about MechaGodzilla per se but he preternaturally senses something is amiss and is drawn towards it. If you have ever thought to your self that Godzilla does not use his Atomic Breath enough let me tell you that director Adam Wingard has answered your prayers, he is slinging Atomic Breath left and right in this flick! 

The action comes at regular intervals, never long enough to get bored by the human stuff, and the first battle happens when the U.S. Navy is transporting Kong to the Antarctic drop-off point, Godzilla arrives enroute and we get a cool sea battle between the Titans that genre fan Wingard cannot help but reference Jaws with. A lot of this was featured in the trailers but there's plenty more to it and it's mind-boggling awesome with the Navy launching tons of heavy artillery at the King of the Monsters as he attempts to drown Kong, using his massive tail to take down fighter jets and decimate the warships. 

Then we have the journey to Hollow Earth where Kong faces off against winged-snakes, and discovers his ancestor's throne room, where he picks up a cool axe made from one of Godzilla's ancestor dorsal plates. A quick aside to discuss more human stuff, this film goes full sci-fi with anti-gravitational transports for the human called HEAVS, which were cool. I had no problem with the future tech, c'mon, we're talking about giant monsters here, what's a bit of futuristic sci-fi to go along with it, and go along with it is what I did.  

Meanwhile, Godzilla senses more Apex shenanigans happening in Hong Kong when Apex fires up their now completed MechaGodzilla, with the King of Monsters making landfall there and blasting a hole from the surface down to the Hollow Earth, right into the Kong throne room, which was very convenient, with Kong using the new tunnel to climb his way to Hong Kong  and once again battle his nemesis, until they must team-up to battle the MechaGodzilla. 

Watching this flick I felt like a 10 year-old kid again, the world's two greatest Titans battling one another and then teaming up to take on MechaGodzilla was the tits from start to finish. The digital artistry that made this possible was the best sort of eye-candy, offering a scale of destruction and mayhem that I could not have imagined watching Godzilla and Kong films as a kid, it's just stunning. I love the grizzled look of Kong, the way that their faces convey not just rage but begrudging respect and defeat, without being silly, everything about the fight sequences is bad-assery to the nth degree, it's just a hugely satisfying wild ride, and easily the best of the MonsterVerse flicks. 

Audio/Video: Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021) arrives on 4K Ultra HD from WBHE in 2160p UHD framed in 2.39:1 widescreen. Wow! The UHD offers a sumptuous visual orgasm, the colors in the titan rampaging romp are eyepopping, enhanced by some spectacular HDR color-grading that deepens the highlights, even when compared to the solid-lloking Blu-ray that accompanies it. From the jungle canopy on through to the sea battle, the neon-lit Hong Kong showdown, and the otherworldly Hollow Earth this is a fantastic looking film and it shines bright on UHD with deep blacks and superior contrast.  The fine detail is also quite wonderful, the close-ups of Kong's fur covered body and beard-like whiskers look terrific. 

Onto the audio we get a massive Dolby Atmos mix that will shake your theater room with the sounds of mass carnage and giant-creature rumble that has plenty of height channel action as you might imagine, the sounds of Kong and Godzilla duking it out, fighter jets overheads, and exploding ordinance, it's wonderful thing with a deep low-end. A very impressive sound design, certainly one of the best I have heard. If you don't have an Atmos system, no worries, it's defaults to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1. 

Extras kick-off with an audio commentary with director Adam Wingard, who gives a fun, revealing and informative talk, getting into the changing script, various film homages, his love of l Kong and Godzilla, the effects and working with the cast and crew. It's great to have someone like Wingard onboard, he's not just the director, he's an enthusiastic fan, and his love of the Kong and Godzilla is infectious. 

There also ten featurettes that average 5-7 minutes that run about 72-minutes in total, these get into the cinematic histories of Kong and Godzilla, breaking down the various battles, the design of MechaGodzilla, and various set pieces. Lots of participation from the cast and crew with loads of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, pre-vis footage, concept artwork, and clips from other films in the franchise. 

The 2-disc release arrives in a standard black keepcase with a single sided sleeve of artwork and a slipcover. Inside there's a redemption code for a digital UHD copy of the film and extras. Be aware the digital copy does not feature the commentary which is exclusive to the Blu-ray and UHD discs. 

Special Features: 
- Kong Discovers Hollow Earth (8 min) HD
- Kong Leaves Home (8 min) HD 
- Behold Kong’s Temple (6 min) HD
- The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World (8 min) HD 
- Godzilla Attacks (6 min) HD 
- The Phenomenon of GŌJIRA, King of the Monsters (10 min) HD 
- Round One: Battle at Sea (5 min) HD
- Round Two: One Will Fall (6 min) HD
- Titan Tag Team: The God and the King (8 min) HD
- The Rise of MechaGodzilla (7 min) HD
- Commentary by Director, Adam Wingard (only on 4K and Blu-ray)

Godzilla Vs. Kong (2012) is a flat-out awesome giant-sized monster flick that was directed by a guy who clearly loves and understands the genre, and in my opinion made the ultimate version of this story, it's a fucking blast and comes hugely recommended. The UHD release from WBHE is reference quality across the board and the extras are pretty dang great, terrific stuff. 

Screenshots from the WBHE Blu-ray: