A Monster Mash is Brewing

Ben Atwater

The age of giant monster films is finally returning, starting with Pacific Rim in 2013. 2014 brought Godzilla, and 2015 brought Jurassic World. All three films have been very profitable, and it now looks as though a crossover is in the works.

A scene from Godzilla (AP photo)
A scene from Godzilla (AP photo)

Coming in 2017 is Kong: Skull Island. The first film with the world’s most famous giant ape since Peter Jackson’s 2005 masterpiece, Kong boasted an all-star cast including Academy class actors Michael Keaton and JK Simmons.

Meant to be a prequel delving into King Kong’s island home, Kong: Skull Island will be set in the 1970s, a new spin on the King Kong films.

The traditional King Kong story depicts a film crew going on a dangerous location shoot, only to be pursued by hostile natives, nonextinct dinosaurs, and of course, King Kong himself.

Best realized in Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic, the sense of adventure and mystery has always been central elements that make the King Kong films so appealing. So, the upcoming Kong: Skull Island is sure to delve deeper into the sense of adventure and jungle chases that make the 1933 and 2005 films so entertaining.

Also in production is a sequel to the 2014 film Godzilla. Godzilla revived a sixty year old series with 30 installments, 28 of which were Japanese productions.

While many dispute over Godzilla’s lack of screen time in the latest installment, Godzilla (2014) is accepted across the board as being leagues better than the other American Godzilla film from 1998, directed by Roland Emerich.

G’14 captured the monstrosity and peril that made the original 1954 Gojira such an impactful film. Making over $500 million, it’s no wonder that a sequel has been greenlit, set to come out in 2018.

Directed by returning director Gareth Edwards, not much is known about Godzilla 2. What is known is that it will feature three of Godzilla’s most famous adversaries from the Japanese Toho films; Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Rodan will all make an appearance.

Edwards also claimed that the Monster Island from the earlier films will play into the story. Monster Island is an initiative to contain all of the world’s kaiju (Japanese giant monsters) that was a central plot element to the 1968 film Destroy All Monsters, which was considered the climax of the original Godzilla film series.

So how are these two movies related? Well, Sept. 10 it was announced that Kong: Skull Island is being moved over to Warner Brothers from Universal.

Warner Brothers also just happens to be the studio behind Godzilla 2. It’s not hard to put two and two together here. Both films feature an island full of primordial monsters.

Perhaps 1970s Skull Island from Kong: Skull Island will be the same island as Monster Island in Godzilla 2. Skull Island is very isolated and already has giant dinosaurs, insects, and apes inhabiting it; perhaps nuclear fallout will turn some of these creatures to Godzilla size behemoths.

There could well be a pteranodon and giant moth on Skull Island that grow to become Rodan and Mothra. After Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla 2 are released, it seems very feasible that a follow up film could have the two face off on Skull/Monster Island. Godzilla and Kong have faced off before.

King Kong versus Godzilla was released in 1962, and is one of the fan favorites of the series for the sense of fun that seeing the world’s most famous monsters face off brings to the screen.

While the fights in King Kong versus Godzilla were very entertaining, they were done through the art of suits, just like all of the Japanese Godzilla films. Seeing the two monsters face off in beautiful Hollywood CGI would be a spectacle for the ages.

Both King Kong (2005) and Godzilla (2014) boasted excellent visual effects, and the art will only be polished even more by 2018.

While special effects clearly do not make a movie great, a fight between Godzilla and King Kong is purely a visual feast. The thought of seeing that battle in IMAX is awe-inspiring.

While no official announcement has been made, it is clear that a crossover is the logical and artistically sound move to make that will satisfy fans of both properties.