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Adam Wingard
Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall
Writing Credits:
Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein

As they go down separate paths influenced by humans with ulterior motives, Godzilla and Kong head on a collision course.

Box Office:
$180 million.
Opening Weekend
$31,625,971 on 3064 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby Atmos
Italian Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 113 min.
Price: $42.99
Release Date: 6/15/2021

• Audio Commentary with Director Adam Wingard
• ”The God” Featurettes
• ”The King” Featurettes
• ”The Rise of Mechagodzilla” Featurette
• ”The Battles” Featurettes
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Godzilla vs. Kong [4K UHD] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 15, 2021)

Back in 2014, Warner Bros, rebooted an iconic franchise for American audiences with Godzilla. Three years later, they did the same for another major character via 2017’s Kong: Skull Island.

Rather than take the logical next step and pair the two for the follow-up, our favorite ginormous lizard got another stab at the spotlight with 2019’s Godzilla, King of the Monsters. After delays caused by the COVID pandemic, 2021 finally delivered the hoped-for matchup as Godzilla vs. Kong made it to the screens.

Under the auspices of the Monarch organization, giant ape Kong remains imprisoned on Skull Island. Expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) monitors the animal, though her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle) – the final surviving native of Skull Island – boasts a special bond with the creature.

Back in the United States, enormous lizard Godzilla suddenly attacks the Florida base for Apex Cybernetics. Given that Godzilla seemed to act as a protector of humans, his aggressive behavior sets off alarms.

Eventually it appears that only one figure might be able to contend with Godzilla: Kong himself. This leads toward a slew of conflicts between the two titans.

That right there acts as what we like to call a radically simplified plot synopsis. Despite what my description might imply, GvK comes with a whole bunch of other characters and story points.

And these become the movie’s semi-downfall. I won’t call the array of potentially extraneous narrative choices the doom of GvK but they make the movie much more of a chore than it needs to be.

Let’s face it: we want little from a flick like GvK than slam-bang action, and the film does indulge in these elements… eventually and occasionally. All these recent movies seem to want to take their sweet time to invest in real action, and that becomes a problem.

Of the three prior movies, only Skull Island managed some interesting human characters – or interesting human character, as a stranded soldier played by John C. Reilly becomes the sole role who allows our investment. Still, that tops both 2014 and 2017 Godzilla flicks, as they come entirely devoid of compelling personalities.

Because GvK continues the prior three movies’ “tradition” of ample time with these humans, it becomes a drag much of the time. At least GvK brings a fun new character via Apex employee and conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry). Sure, Bernie offers a cliché role, but Henry plays him with enough wild-eyed vivacity that he turns into a much-needed spark in the proceedings.

Much praise landed on young Hottle as “Kong whisperer” Jia, and the child does fine in the role. However, the movie gives her little to do beyond gaze dolefully at Kong, so her character winds up as just another dull nothing.

Even without the bland characters, GvK falters because it ladles out too many plot points and doesn’t integrate them well. Honestly, much of the film feels like two separate movies awkwardly cobbled into one, as the Godzilla and Kong plots usually come across as disconnected.

Of course, they eventually link, but this takes forever to occur, and in the meantime, we find ourselves stuck with two narratives that never click. GvK can’t balance the two sides well, especially because the film often feels more like Here Comes Kong! (Featuring Godzilla) than a production that puts the two legends on equal billing.

As often occurred with the prior three films, GvK loves to dally on its humans and various incoherent plot threads. At least the Kong narrative – which finds a semi-confusing reason to send the big lug to the middle of the Earth – involves the title character, whereas Godzilla goes MIA an awful lot of the time.

Oh, we hear plenty about Godzilla, but the creature simply doesn’t show up on screen often. That becomes an issue, one that damaged the 2014 movie – and one that shouldn’t exist at this point.

This leads to the view of Kong as the main beast, though he doesn’t get all that much to do either. While we see him a lot, he remains pretty passive much of the time, so the movie fails to explore his strengths.

I really don’t understand why the filmmakers felt the need to muck with movie that comes with so little need for complication. Maybe the Marvel Cinematic Universe now forces studios to view every franchise in this way and they can’t allow films to develop without ever-widening circles of organizations, characters and plot motives.

Again I state that a movie called Godzilla vs. Kong doesn’t need anything more than a big dollop of fights. Sure, we expect some form of story as well as issues with humans, but these could – and should – remain simplistic.

We just want some basic narrative points that set up the expected battles. Anything else muddies the waters and dilutes the impact of the production.

When GvK does occasionally remember its raison d’etre, it does acceptably well for itself. The movie choreographs the brawls in a generally vivid way, so these redeem the film to a degree.

But not as much as GvK needs to turn into a winning project. Too burdened with dull characters and poorly told plot points, this becomes a less than thrilling epic.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio A/ Bonus B

Godzilla vs. Kong appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. A native 4K project, this Dolby Vision presentation looked great.

At all times, sharpness appeared positive. I thought the image seemed accurate and well-defined from start to finish, with virtually no signs of softness on display. I noticed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and the movie lacked any print flaws.

Like most other modern action flicks, GvK favored stylized colors, and as usual, those colors tended toward teal and orange. Actually, the palette broadened at times, so while it stayed heavily stylized, at least more red, blues, pinks, purples and greens emerged.

Given the visual choices, the hues looked positive. The disc’s HDR added kick and power to the tones.

Blacks were always deep and tight, while shadows seemed clear and appropriately opaque. HDR brought intensity and range to whites and contrast. The 4K UHD became a strong reproduction of the film.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I felt just as pleased with the impressive Dolby Atmos soundtrack of GvK. A movie packed with mayhem and action, the mix used all the channels in a lively, involving manner. Vehicles, weapon-fire, monsters, and similar elements popped up from all around the room and delivered a smooth, engrossing soundscape.

This meant nearly constant material from the surrounds. The back speakers delivered a high level of information and created a great sense of place in that domain. All of this melded together in a vivid, satisfying manner.

Audio quality was also strong. Music seemed full and bold, while speech was consistently natural and crisp.

Effects became the most prominent component, of course, and packed a solid punch, with positive clarity and range. People invest major bucks in home theaters for flicks like this, and GvK delivered the goods.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio remained identical, as both sported the same Atmos track.

Visuals showed a nice upgrade, as the Dolby Vision rendition boasted improvements in terms of definition, blacks and colors. While the BD looked very good, the 4K became a stunning representation that easily topped the Blu-ray.

On the 4K disc, we find an audio commentary from director Adam Wingard. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and connections to the earlier films, sets and locations, cinematography and music, cast and performances, various effects, influences/references and related areas.

Though he occasionally goes AWOL for brief periods, Wingard mostly provides a solid chat. He remains chatty and engaging as he gives us a fine view of the production.

The remaining extras appear on the included Blu-ray disc. Under The God, we get two featurettes: “Godzilla Attacks” (6:25) and “The Phenomenon of Gojira, King of the Monsters” (9:52).

Across these, we hear from Wingard, producers Mary Parent and Alex Garcia, production designer Thomas S. Hammock, 2014 director Gareth Edwards, 2019 writer Zach Shields, On Monsters author Stephen T. Asma, 2019 director Michael Dougherty, Haunted author Leo Braudy, and actors Kyle Chandler, Julian Dennison, Brian Tyree Henry, Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins (2014), Bryan Cranston (2014), David Straithairn (2014, 2019), and Vera Farmiga (2019).

These examine the depiction of Godzilla, some human characters/actors, and reflections on the Godzilla series. Both offer some decent notes but they tend to feel a bit fluffy.

Four more featurettes show up within The King: “Kong Leaves Home” (7:56), “Kong Discovers Hollow Earth” (7:53), “Behold Kong’s Temple” (5:52), and “The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World” (8:25). These include notes from Wingard, Hammock, Garcia, Dougherty, Brown, production designer Owen Paterson, costume designer Ann Foley, 2017 director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017 costume designer Mary E. Vogt, 2017 production designer Stefan Dechant, and actors Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Demián Bichir, Eiza González, Tom Hiddleston (2017), Brie Larson (2017), and Corey Hawkins (2017).

Here we examine the movie’s depiction of Kong and other characters, costumes, creatures and vehicles, cast, set design, and Kong over the years. Though we still get some superficial elements – especially during “Wonder” – the “King” featurettes usually offer good content.

With The Rise of Mechagodzilla, we get a seven-minute, six-second reel that features Wingard, Dennison, Paterson, Hammock, Garcia, Brown, Henry, and executive producer Jay Ashenfelter.

As expected, “Rise” views the design and execution of Mechagodzilla and related sets. It becomes a pretty useful overview.

Finally, The Battles breaks into three clips: “Battle at Sea” (5:01), “One Will Fall” (5:58) and “Titan Tag Team” (7:59). In these, we hear from Wingard, Hammock, Ashenfelter, Garcia, Henry, Skarsgård, Ashenfelter, Paterson, and Chandler.

We find a mix of notes connected to the movie’s fight sequences. These become reasonably informative featurettes.

While not devoid of thrills, Godzilla vs. Kong never lives up to the excitement promised by its premise. With a messy narrative and too many extraneous story beats, the movie fails to capitalize on its potential. The 4K UHD brings excellent picture and audio along with a generally informative set of supplements. Though it occasionally rouses to life, too much of GvK feels slow and inert

To rate this film visit the prior review of GODZILLA VS. KONG

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main