Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire UHD Review

3.5 Stars Franchise running out of steam

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is great demo material for your home theater, but this franchise is starting to run out of steam.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)
Released: 29 Mar 2024
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 115 min
Director: Adam Wingard
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens
Writer(s): Terry Rossio, Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett
Plot: Two ancient titans, Godzilla and Kong, clash in an epic battle as humans unravel their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island's mysteries.
IMDB rating: 6.4
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 DD, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 55 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Digital Copy
Case Type: UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 06/11/2024
MSRP: $39.98

The Production: 3/5

After their epic battle with Mechagodzilla at the conclusion of Godzilla vs Kong, Kong was sent to Hollow Earth under the supervision of Monarch while Godzilla was allowed to roam the surface to protect Earth from other monsters bent on destroying our planet. The city of Rome is not particularly pleased with this, since Godzilla prefers to use the Coliseum as his bed. However, after Kong returns to the surface for a much-needed tooth extraction after battling some nasty beasts, Monarch researcher Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and her team detect a beacon coming from Hollow Earth. In addition, her adopted deaf and mute daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is having hallucinations of Hollow Earth. Ilene along with Jia gathers a crew consisting of kaiju veterinarian and former flame Trapper (Dan Stevens) and conspiracy podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) to travel to Hollow Earth and investigate. They quickly discover that their outpost has been destroyed and continue to follow the beacon, which leads the to a human tribe, the Iwi, who appear to be Jia’s missing ancestors.

Meanwhile, Kong discovers an uncharted area of Hollow Earth and encounters a tribe of his species who are hostile towards him and take him to their leader, Skar King, who has enslaved not only the tribe but also an ice-powered Titan known as Shimo. Kong also encounters a juvenile (who is credited as Suko), who befriends Kong after Skar King orders one of his soldiers to kill who I suspect is Suko’s father and Kong retaliates. When a battle ensues, Kong and Suko escape.

Meanwhile, back at the Iwi village, Ilene and her team encounter the tribe’s Queen (Fala Chen) who invites them into a temple where Ilene deciphers some hieroglyphics that tell the history of how Skar King attempted to conquer the surface and had Shimo start an ice age, only to be defeated by Kong who imprisoned them deep within Hollow Earth. The hieroglyphics also tell of a prophecy where Jia is the key to releasing Mothra who will bring peace to both sections of Earth with help from both Kong and Godzilla. But can these two behemoths set aside their differences to save humanity and the planet?

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is way too overstuffed with plot and like other entries in the franchise, gets bogged down in human plot points that most audience members won’t really care about. It is the battle sequences that audiences of these types of movies crave most, and Godzilla X Kong delivers in spades, although they do tend to get a bit cartoonish, but that is part of this movie’s sense of humor (the opening battle especially, when Kong realizes that the creature he just ripped into two has drenched him with green blood and now needs a shower in a nearby waterfall). The visual effects are also quite exceptional, although I found the design and animation of Suko to go too much for the cuteness factor. Godzilla X Kong is a fun, entertaining, yet rather forgettable entry in Warner and Legendary’s Monsterverse franchise, a franchise that seems to be running on fumes.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Godzilla X Kong was captured in 4.5K resolution using a variety of digital cameras including Arri Alexa LF and Mini LF, and Red Helium and Komodo cameras and per the end credits was then printed out to film and back to digital as a 4K digital intermediate using a process called FotoKem SHIFTai in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with some scenes in 1.90:1 in IMAX theaters and Dolby Vision high dynamic range for its premium theatrical engagements. Warner’s 2160p HEVC encode on this disc is in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio for its entire running time and includes both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range on a BD100 disc (although only using about 76 Gb of the disc space with the feature taking just over 67 Gb, surprising since there is close to an hour of 1080p special features). This is a terrific looking disc (I viewed on an LG C1 OLED). Colors are bold and vivid without appearing overly saturated, blacks are deep and inky with no crushing, and fine detail is exquisite down to the individual hairs on Kong’s body.

Audio: 5/5

Default audio is an impressively immersive lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD7.1) track that will have your room shaking as Kong stomps into your home theater. Surrounds and heights are extremely active throughout, from the loud action sequences with sounds coming from all around you to the more quieter indoor lab facility sequences with excellent reverb. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 3/5

This is a single-disc release with no Blu-ray disc included. Warner has managed to stuff both the feature and special features on to a single BD100 disc.

Audio Commentary: Director Adam Wingard is joined by Visual Effects Supervisor Alessandro Ongaro, Production Designer Tom Hammock and Editor/Second Unit Director Josh Schaeffer as the four casually discuss the making of the film.

GxK: Day of Reckoning (1080p; 5:58): A brief overview of the franchise so far.

Evolution of the Titans – Godzilla Evolved (1080p; 5:33): As the title implies, a look at how Godzilla’s look has changed over the course of four movies.

Evolution of the Titans – Kong’s Journey: From Lonely God to King (1080p; 5:44): A look at how Kong’s development as a character has evolved throughout the franchise.

Into the Hollow Earth: Visualizing Hollow Earth (1080p; 5:46): A look at the various visual concepts for Hollow Earth.

Into the Hollow Earth: Monsters of Hollow Earth (1080p; 5:39): Designing the creatures that inhabit Hollow Earth.

The Battles Royale: A Titanic Fight Among the Pyramids (1080p; 5:30): A behind the scenes look at the creature fight at the Egyptian Pyramids.

The Battles Royale: The Zero Gravity Battle (1080p; 5:03): A behind the scenes look at this action sequence.

The Battles Royale: The Titans Trash Rio (1080p; 5:22): A look at how the battle in Rio de Janeiro was created.

The Intrepid Director: Adam Wingard – Big Kid (1080p; 3:43): A look at the child-like enthusiasm of the film’s director.

The Intrepid Director: Adam Wingard – Set Tour (1080p; 3:44): Wingard takes us on a tour of some of the sets.

The Imagination Department (1080p; 3:47): A look at the Art Department War Room.

The Monarch Island Base: Portal to Another World (1080p; 5:32): A look at the production design of the Monarch base.

The Evolution of Jia: From Orphan to Warrior (1080p; 5:58): Exploring the character of Jia.

Bernie’s World: Behind the Triple-Locked Door (1080p; 3:28): A look at the production design of Bernie’s apartment.

Digital Copy: A Movies Anywhere code is included to redeem a 4K digital copy of the film.

Overall: 3.5/5

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is a terrific looking and sounding disc, but as a movie, the franchise seems to be running out of steam.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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Sam Posten

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Bryan^H

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Love this disc. The review is 100% right.
Goofier than the last one, but wow what a showcase for 4K.
I enjoyed it greatly.
 
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