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Contains spoilers for Godzilla vs. Kong
The long-awaited clash of the titans is finally here. Godzilla vs. Kong is now available in theaters and on HBO Max. The movie has all the kaiju-on-kaiju action audiences love, as well as a few touching scenes you might not expect from a film about a giant gorilla fighting a radioactive dinosaur. However, audiences usually watch Godzilla and King Kong movies for two reasons: the fights and the Easter eggs. Luckily, Godzilla vs. Kong has both.
At almost two hours long, Godzilla vs. Kong features plenty of runtime to slip in a few cheeky references. Some call back to kaiju characters and movies of the past, while others honor unrelated pieces of pop culture. Most of these Easter eggs fall into two categories. They are either far more subtle than your average kaiju, or they require an obscure bit of knowledge your brain might not access before the movie draws its attention elsewhere. Regardless, we’re here to fill you in on all the Easter eggs and references you might have missed in Godzilla vs. Kong.
Who’s in charge of King Kong’s containment, Homer Simpson?
When Godzilla vs. Kong starts, audiences are treated to King Kong’s morning routine. He wakes up, strolls through a river, washes his face, and throws a tree at the sun. You know, normal giant gorilla antics. Except, it turns out King Kong is stuck in Monarch containment outpost #236. He just skewered a section of its holographic ceiling, specifically "Sector 7G." Those designations probably weren’t drawn out of a hat and are likely Easter eggs.
First, the outpost. What does the number 236 have to do with King Kong? Professional fighting, probably. Many entertainment combatants have gone by the nickname "King Kong," including the Cuban boxer Luis Ortiz and the professional American wrestler Scott Thompson. One of Ortiz’ biggest fights was against American heavyweight Deontay Wilder. They fought in 2018 and arranged a rematch for 2019. Before the 2019 match, Luis "King Kong" Ortiz weighed 236 pounds. Coincidentally Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Scott "King Kong" Thompson the 236th top single wrestler in 1993. Intentional Easter egg or coincidence? Only the filmmakers know for sure.
The Sector 7G reference, however, is far more cut and dry since most audiences with passing knowledge of The Simpsons know that Homer Simpson works in Sector 7-G of the Springfield Power Plant. Homer causes the nuclear reactor meltdown almost daily, and King Kong fights a walking nuclear lizard in the movie. Sometimes the references write themselves.
Overnight Kong delivery
Godzilla and King Kong first crossed paths in 1962, during what was known as the Showa era of Godzilla movies. This was when the Godzilla films were goofier and campier — essentially the Adam West Batman era of Godzilla. That’s why the original King Kong vs. Godzilla has its share of goofy moments. Not quite Godzilla dancing or drop-kicking levels of silly, but the film includes one moment that survived in meme form, and was referenced in Godzilla vs. Kong. No, it wasn’t the scene where King Kong rams a tree down Godzilla’s throat.
Around the halfway mark of the movie, Godzilla attacks a floating convoy of ships carrying King Kong. To trick Godzilla into thinking they’re dead, the crew cuts power, which leaves them in a predicament. They can’t continue ferrying Kong to Antarctica without moving, and they can’t move without alerting Godzilla. So, they make the only reasonable choice: fly the rest of the way by helicopter while carrying King Kong in an oversized net.
While not a one-to-one translation, this scene references the prelude to the 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla‘s Mt. Fuji scene where the army air lifts King Kong and basically drops him on Godzilla’s head. In that film, Kong is strung up to several balloons and ferried along by helicopters. Godzilla vs. Kong‘s rendition is basically a modern upgrade to the classic scene.
Many TV shows, movies, and plays feature a literary device known as a "Chekhov’s Gun." If the opening act prominently displays a gun, someone will shoot it during or before the final act. Godzilla vs. Kong‘s Chekhov’s Gun comes in the form of conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry)’s alcohol flask. Since the film draws attention to the flask, audiences know he will either drink it or use it to save the day. But, this Chekhov’s flask and its contents also play double duty as an Easter egg.
When protagonists Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) ask what is in the flask, Bernie says it is filled with "Katzunari single malt whiskey." That’s a very specific name for a Chekhov’s Gun. Did Legendary Pictures make a deal with a whiskey manufacturer to make Bernie and his flask act as a trojan product placement? No. Instead, the name most likely honors Godzilla film suit actor Kazunari Mori since "Katzunari" is just "Kazunari" with a "t" shoved in.
The Easter egg doesn’t end there because that name reference is just the shell. The chocolate interior of the egg lies in the character Mori played: MechaGodzilla. Not only did the flask and its contents tease how the main villain will be defeated, its fictional brand name teases the identity of said villain.
They just don’t make giant robots the way they used to
As soon as information leaked about MechaGodzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong, audiences knew the robot would serve as the movie’s villain. However, viewers didn’t know how it would fit into that role. Would this MechaGodzilla take a page out of the first incarnation of the mech and play the role of an alien-sent doppelganger, or would it skip to the second (and more famous) iteration where MechaGodzilla is a human-built Godzilla deterrent? The answer was choice C: the third version of MechaGodzilla and honorary Easter egg.
When MechaGodzilla is first introduced in Godzilla vs. Kong, it is still undergoing testing. While it can easily bifurcate a Skull Crawler with laser precision (literally), the giant robot has some serious fuel efficiency problems. But, when it receives a new source of power mined from Hollow Earth, the mechanical monstrosity goes berserk. Must have been an allergic reaction to the King Ghidorah skull that serves as its remote cockpit.
While the trope of a robot going rogue is as old as silent films, MechaGodzilla’s rampaging sentience is actually a reference to the third generation of MechaGodzilla, nicknamed Kiryu. Unlike previous generations, which were purely mechanical, Kiryu is constructed out of metal plates, weapons, and cables, as well as the original Godzilla’s skeleton. And, for some reason, cybernetic necromancy lets the spirit of the original Godzilla temporarily control Kiryu and go on a rampage fueled by its hi-tech weapons. That’s basically what happens in Godzilla vs. Kong, but the movie implies that this time King Ghidorah is in the driver’s seat.
Titans need to eat a lot of fish
Since the Godzilla franchise has been around since 1954, the series has been through several ups and downs, some more infamous than others. But that’s the beauty of hindsight: Future filmmakers get to make fun of these movies and their scenes. To Godzilla fans, it’s difficult to get more infamous than North America’s first attempt at creating a Godzilla film. That movie now wears a permanent bullseye that Godzilla vs. Kong‘s creators gladly shot at. Possibly.
During Godzilla vs. Kong, King Kong travels to Antarctica via boat and is trapped with miles of water in every direction. He can’t move, but more importantly, he can’t hunt for food. To mangle an old phrase, what does a 158-ton gorilla eat? Whatever he wants, but since he’s in the middle of the ocean, he’ll just have to settle for fish. A lot of fish.
One of the most constantly derided scenes in the 1998 Godzilla movie is when the army tries to bait "Godzilla" (or just "Zilla," as the monster has been called since, since the title kaiju doesn’t feature god-like strength) out with fish. A big pile of fish. The logic is that Zilla eats fish, and the movie takes several minutes to drive that point home. Godzilla vs. Kong, meanwhile, just takes 12 seconds to get the point across. Very efficient and very Easter-eggy.