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  • Jeff Beck

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire: Small Improvements Can't Overcome the Usual Monotony (Blu-ray)

The Film:

The last time we saw the beloved giant ape & lizard on the big screen, they had to reluctantly join forces to stop the threat of Mechagodzilla before ultimately calling a truce and going their separate ways. However, it was absolutely inevitable that these two would eventually come face-to-face once again, which brings us to the latest entry in the saga, "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, where the titular pair have yet another massive threat to deal with. Will these two be able to continue putting aside their enmity in order to help save the planet once more?

As the film opens, we find that Kong has settled into his new home of Hollow Earth, though being the only one of his kind has him feeling rather lonely. Meanwhile, Godzilla remains on the surface to fight other Titans as needed. When Monarch picks up an unidentified signal, it begins having an effect not only on Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the only survivor from the Iwi tribe of Skull Island, but also on Godzilla, who starts to prepare for battle. Worried about the visions the signal is giving Jia, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) investigates the signal with the help of podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), eventually leading them on an expedition into Hollow Earth, where they discover a planetary threat that Kong has only just uncovered in his search for more of his kind. As before, it's up to Earth's new guardian duo to save the day.

At this point in the franchise, one really has to marvel at the way it's been able to get this far, through several sequels that, while not critically praised, have remained rather popular at the box office. That said, after so many films based on somewhat flimsy material, they do start to run pretty thin, to the point where they don't really have a choice but to repeat very familiar beats, as we've already clearly seen throughout the series. That is, whether they're fighting some giant monster on their own, or fighting each other, or joining forces to fight something even worse, it's incredibly easy to get a "been there, done that" feeling from these films, but, as mentioned, audiences have continued to eat them up for the most part to the tune of billions of dollars.

As far as "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" goes, we do get a lot of that familiarity once more, but this one does seem to try a little harder with its storylines than the previous entries. Kong goes on his search for more of his kind and makes quite a discovery along the way, while Dr. Andrews desperately tries to help her adoptive daughter by taking her into Hollow Earth to find the source of what turns out to be a distress signal, ultimately leading to a pretty shocking discovery of their own. But then, as we've come to expect, the third act falls into the same old repetitive pattern of the Titans all duking it out, blasting, punching, and throwing around remnants of a destroyed city until only the inevitable victors are left standing (though, to be fair, there is an intriguing zero gravity fight just before this that does try to shake things up a bit).

So while it does try a little harder as far as the narrative goes, sadly it ends up relying on the same bland climax that these films tend to fizzle out with. At least it can be said that this entry was a little better than the last, and admittedly, I had to skim a synopsis to even remember what had happened as the film had long faded from memory after three years. However, with another sequel already in development (which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone), one can only hope that they'll move further away from the standard formula and more towards elements that will help shake things up and break up the usual monotony. There are some decent steps in the right direction here, now they just need to dare to venture further.


"Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" comes to Blu-ray in a 2.39:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of excellent quality. The image remains suitably sharp throughout, highlighting the film's extensive quantity of visual effects work. Likewise, the Dolby Atmos-TrueHD soundtrack is fantastic, giving you all of the dialogue, sound effects, and music in outstanding quality. Overall, Warner Bros. has done a wonderful job on the home release of this latest entry in the Monsterverse Saga.

Special Features:

Commentary by Director Adam Wingard, Visual Effects Supervisor Alessandro Ongaro, Production Designer Tom Hammock, and Editor Josh Schaeffer

GxK: Day of Reckoning (6 Minutes)

Evolution of the Titans: Godzilla Evolved (6 Minutes)

Evolution of the Titans: From Lonely God to King (6 Minutes)

Into the Hollow Earth: Visualizing Hollow Earth (6 Minutes)

Into the Hollow Earth: Monsters of Hollow Earth (6 Minutes)

The Battles Royale: A Titanic Fight Among the Pyramids (6 Minutes)

The Battles Royale: The Zero Gravity Battle (5 Minutes)

The Battles Royale: The Titans Trash Rio (5 Minutes)

The Intrepid Director: Adam Wingard: Big Kid (4 Minutes)

The Intrepid Director: Adam Wingard: Set Tour (4 Minutes)

The Imagination Department (4 Minutes)

The Monarch Island Base: Portal to Another World (6 Minutes)

The Evolution of Jia: From Orphan to Warrior (6 Minutes)

Bernie’s World: Behind the Triple Locked Door (3 Minutes)

The Blu-ray comes with a vast collection of extras, mainly consisting of behind the scenes & "Making of" featurettes, covering pretty much every aspect of the film that you could want to know more about (the monsters, the settings, the fights, the director, etc.), and they even throw in a crew commentary on top of all that. There's definitely more than enough here to please any fan of the Monsterverse.


"Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" may make small strides in terms of improving its storylines, but sadly it still succumbs to its usual bland, formulaic, and overly-familiar climax, which effectively dampens the little progress that's been made, ultimately leaving you to hope that the next entry will be a little more daring.

Score: 2.5/5

Available on Blu-ray starting tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.


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