Terminator vs Rocky? What’s next for the versus movie? | Movie


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LLike you, I was convinced that the versus genre of film died five years ago. What started out as a silly, self-aware method of getting butt in the seats had hardened into the unforgivable dark pomposity of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Any rational human being would see a movie like BvS as unimportant fun. And yet it was there; three hours of heaviness emo claptrap where the cinematic equivalent of two toys bumping into each other was treated as nothing less than a true biblical text. Why bother to make another versus movie after the agony of Marthagate?

Well, now that Godzilla vs Kong is out, it looks like we’re back. Because Godzilla v Kong is everything everyone wants from a movie like this. Two big stupid animals hitting each other in new and different ways for almost no reason, and it’s all done in under two hours.

Better yet, the movie understands how stupid it is. These can be considered spoilers, so skip this paragraph if you haven’t seen it yet, but the movie begins with King Kong taking a shower. There’s a bit in the middle where Godzilla literally blows a hole right up to the center of the Earth just in case rubble could hit King Kong on the head in the process. There is a skyscraper tall robot kung fu lizard that although supposedly the villain you end up rooting for. There are several scenes where humans flee from peril with such impertinence that you’ll really come to believe that the original intention was to record them all with Yakety Sax. The whole thing is dumber than a box of farts, but the movie never tries not to stray from it. It’s beautiful.

And now, quite frankly, all I want to do is watch versus movies. Where there used to be wasteland, I see nothing but promises. The Monsterverse, clearly, must last forever. If he can maintain that tone, rather than the default hollow fear of the much worse Godzilla: King of the Monsters, then he deserves to run and run. Let’s bring back Gigan (essentially a giant ninja armed with knives), or King Caesar (a sort of huge rimless dog who can only be awakened if a princess sings him a full three minute song) and do their fight Godzilla and Kong. Heck, let’s throw the Cloverfield monster in the mix, and a couple of whatever those Pacific Rim things were, too. More the merrier, the merrier. The Monsterverse is basically WWE at this point, so we might as well make it a Royal Rumble.

Godzilla vs Kong: Two big stupid animals hitting each other for almost no reason.
Godzilla vs Kong: Two big stupid animals hitting each other for almost no reason. Photography: AP

Then I suggest going back and correcting the mistakes of the past. Billy the Kid vs. Dracula in 1966, for example, featured almost no scene of Billy the Kid fighting Dracula. Let’s change that. Let’s make a new movie where, from the first frame, Billy the Kid and Dracula just Tom and Jerry pant each other like the clappers. Imagine the last third of Home Alone, but with a cowboy and a vampire. Awesome, isn’t it? Or let’s take another chance at Alien vs Predator, but this time there’s only one Predator and one Alien, and they’re both 300 meters tall, and no one ever adequately explains what happens. You would watch that. You’re angry that you can’t already watch this.

And then the fun can really begin; browse other franchises to find suitable candidates or film candidates. God knows there are a lot of them. You could revive the Terminator series by making a movie where an old T-800 has a boxing match with Rocky Balboa. Or a movie where James Bond fights The Rock and Jason Statham of Hobbs and Shaw. Or, and I’m spitting right here, Harry Potter vs. Jurassic Park.

It’s equally baffling that Disney – which produced seven of the ten best films of 2019 – hasn’t gotten to it yet. Imagine Snow White vs. Cinderella. Imagine Aladdin vs. Wreck-It Ralph. Imagine, and I mean this, Frozen vs. The Lion King. Imagine Elsa from Frozen fighting a real lion for two hours and being maimed every time she started singing.

And then, with the formula for this sort of thing definitely cracked up, let’s give Batman vs Superman another shot. Make it lighter and less rain drenched. Rock Batman and Superman with casseroles and cricket bats, and change them into a host of SPROING sound effects every time they do. Have Batman strike Superman with an Ancient Vase at some point, and have the vase owner stand beside them while that happens, and bring out his monocle upon impact. Make it exactly 87 minutes, including credits. This is the movie we should have had in 2016. And, thanks to the majesty of Godzilla vs. Kong, this is the movie we can have again.

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