Skull Island: More Son of Godzilla than King Kong?

Recently, the first behind-the-scenes look was revealed on Kong: Skull Island, the upcoming reboot to the King Kong franchise. Have a look at it below: … actually, scratch that. It was uploaded by MTV and they don’t like making their videos accessible (that leads to a socialist internet). So here is the link to their site, and below I’ll just stick an IGN recap of what was said. Sound good?

Anyway, so this Kong is a bit different from the one that Peter Jackson brought to life back in 2005. Jackson’s Kong was a remake of the 1933 classic, plain and simple. It told the same story, albeit with minor alterations and updated effects. This new movie is going for something different.

Cinematic universes are all the rage now and Universal and Legendary are looking to make one of their own. As recently confirmed (and accurately guessed on this website long before), Legendary wants to remake King Kong vs. Godzilla, the most financially successful Godzilla movie ever made. Makes a lot of sense.

The original ultimate crossover.
The original ultimate crossover.

Yet we all know that good cinematic crossovers need establishing films. When companies just throw a lot of properties into a film without first establishing while the audience should care… well, bad things happen. Kong: Skull Island is meant to establish King Kong in the same universe as Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla, and set the stage for future monster rumbles.

What does this mean for the movie itself… well, quite a bit. Don’t expect Kong to climb the Empire State Building this time out. Don’t expect Skull Island to be populated with dinosaurs. Don’t expect the relationship between Kong and Brie Larson (the female lead) to be the center of attention. In short: don’t expect a lot of things that you would expect in a King Kong movie. A lot of this has to do with size.

Kong will be a lot larger this time out.
Kong will be a lot larger this time out.

In order to battle the King of the Monsters, Kong needs to go through a growth spurt. Kong is typically 25 feet tall, whereas the newest Godzilla clocked in at about 360 feet tall. That would look like this:

Comical but not blockbuster material.
Comical but not blockbuster material.

So obviously, bring Kong up to size. They’ve done it before and they can do it again. Yet this creates problems for the typical King Kong mythos. Either Godzilla becomes very mundane or Skull Island cannot be full of super-sized dinosaurs. This means that Kong will either be alone on his island (like he was in the other King Kong film set in the 70s), or they will be other creatures. To spoil what was said in the MTV First Look: There will be other creatures.

Gorosaurus is one large dinosaur-like creature that Kong could fight, having already done so in the Toho film, King Kong Escapes.
Gorosaurus is one large dinosaur-like creature that Kong could fight, having already done so in the Toho film, King Kong Escapes.

Where will these creatures come from? Well, there’s an intriguing possibility here. Let’s look at the facts. Gareth Edwards has long put forth the idea that he would like to establish the concept of Monster Island in his Godzilla movies. For those who don’t know: Monster Island is an island that houses all the Earth’s monsters. Pretty self-explanatory. In the Toho universe, Monster Island is somewhere in the Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands. No location has been given yet for the Legendary universe but hmmm, wouldn’t Skull Island do nicely?

Another fun factoid to know: Legendary has purchased the rights to multiple Toho monsters, meaning that they now have access to the largest famous kaiju (giant monster) library in existence. This sets the stage for Kong to have some noteworthy adversaries in Kong: Skull Island.

Kumonga, the main enemy in Son of Godzilla, would actually make for a decent villain in a King Kong movie.
Kumonga, the main enemy in Son of Godzilla, would actually make for a decent villain in a King Kong movie.

A movie, set on a tropical Monster Island, with giant monsters battling and a team of humans struggling to survive… sounds a lot like 1967’s Son of Godzilla. The movie, which follows a scientific team conducting a weather experiment, seems to line up a lot closer than the original King Kong likely will.

The team seems a lot more military-oriented this time out.
The team seems a lot more military-oriented this time out.

For one thing, Kong will most likely not be traveling to the mainland this time around – as the film is set in the 1970s. If Kong went mainland, and this film shares a universe with Godzilla 2014, how come the army seems unprepared to handle giant monsters forty years after one publicly appeared? It’s not likely. Edwards already tweaked the story of the 1954 Godzilla to avoid a similar situation.

So Kong: Skull Island will likely take place entirely on the island, following a team that discovers, and likely then attempts to escape from, the creatures they encounter. There’s few films like that out there, and Son of Godzilla is one of the better ones. I would not be surprised if that film becomes a blueprint.

They could also use Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster as a blueprint, which would be oddly fitting.
They could also use Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster as a blueprint, which would be oddly fitting.

Godzilla's Worst Villain: Ebirah (Also Known as the Sea Monster)

Anyone out there who knows me can tell you: I’m a Godzilla fan. There have already been a couple of posts on this site about the King of the Monsters and, with the upcoming release of the new movie (and to celebrate the 60th anniversary) there will be quite a few Godzilla-related posts in the coming weeks. I will do my best to not get totally consumed and post additional articles but… no promises. Anyhoo here we go with the first post, focusing on what might be the lamest of Godzilla’s foes.

Ladies and gentlemen: Ebirah. It looks goofy because it is.
Ladies and gentlemen: Ebirah. It looks goofy because it is.

Let the record show: I do not think there really is a bad Godzilla monster. Each is classic in its own way. Ebirah (pronounced Eb-E-ra, go ahead and scream it, you’ll sound so cool) may be a giant lobster but works in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Overall, he (or she… who knows what Ebirah’s gender is – let’s go with he) is only lame in concept. This is a creation that never had any hope of beating Godzilla. A giant lobster, seriously? He can’t shoot fire, he can’t fly… he isn’t even that big when compared to Godzilla. None of that stopped Ebirah from being the main villain in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.

So how did this happen? Did Toho just get lazy with monster creation? Were two producers out to dinner and one was like “this lobster shell is really tough to crack” and the other responded with “you’re a genius!”? The answer is actually an interesting (and unbelievably geeky) piece of monster movie trivia. Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster did not start out as a Godzilla movie. That’s right, the King of the Monsters was actually one of the last pieces added to the script. The film’s original title was Operation Robinson Crusoe: King Kong vs. Ebirah. That’s right… take a moment to enjoy that title, that really is a wonderfully cheesy title.

Cause this would have been so less silly.
Cause this would have been so less silly.

Japanese film company Toho began the project with western film studio Rankin-Bass. Needless to say, there was a (temporary) falling out between the two companies and Rankin-Bass withdrew the rights to King Kong. Toho then had to scramble to find a new leading monster. Lucky for them, they were Toho and had access to what is probably the largest lineup of famous giant monsters EVER, with the obvious highlight being Godzilla.

So Ebirah, who was initially just supposed to be beaten by a giant ape, had to instead battle a hundred-and-fifty foot, radioactive, fire-breathing monster. Ebirah remained simply… a very large lobster. The fight unfolds much the way that would be expected. Granted, Godzilla battles in a very King-King-like way initially (he picks up rocks and throws them at Ebirah, instead of simply just blasting him with fire). It’s comical in a way that matches the very light nature of the film (this is one of the funnest Godzilla movies in my opinion). The fight ultimately ends with Godzilla doing what he does:

But man, Ebirah splashed him… don’t know how Godzilla will survive that.

And Ebirah is defeated for the time being. The two fight again and this time Godzilla rips off both of Ebirah’s claws, thus defeating the giant lobster for good. BUT, Ebirah was not done as a Godzilla villain. He would return in (stock footage only) Godzilla’s Revenge (there will be a post on this movie… it is a thing) and again in Godzilla: Final Wars.

While not an actual shot from the movie... I feel this fits the tone.
While not an actual shot from the movie… I feel this fits the tone.

In Godzilla: Final Wars, Ebirah would gain the dubious honor of being one of the few (if not the only) monster to be soundly beaten by the military. Yeah, such a mighty monster he is… I hope that next they conquer him with a giant pot and some butter. Ebirah does survive the encounter, only to be killed by Godzilla later in the movie.

Ebirah received a shiny new look for Final Wars.
Ebirah received a shiny new look for Final Wars.

In terms of laziness, Ebirah isn’t the only “giant something” that Godzilla fought. There was Kumonga (giant spider), kamacuras (giant praying mantis), manda (giant snake), and most famously Mothra (three guesses what Mothra is). The two giant insects appeared in the same movie (Son of Godzilla) and represent a cool idea – insects are terrifying but tiny after all. Manda and Godzilla never directly fought, Manda is always kind of just there. Mothra… well Mothra has magical Moth-god powers… don’t ask. Ebirah got central billing… he was the main new attraction in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. A giant lobster… yeah.