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Warning: spoilers for Godzilla vs. Kong are going to be present in this discussion. So if you’re not exactly ready to discuss what’s happened, feel free to return once you’re all caught up.
The cities are alive with the sounds of the MonsterVerse! Godzilla vs. Kong is finally here for HBO Max subscribers and theatergoers to enjoy the madness, the mayhem and the majesty of director Adam Wingard’s climactic showdown. But there’s also some interesting threads that, if connected the right way, could finally bring the world of the Titans and the realm of Pacific Rim’s kaiju into an even greater showdown for the ages.
It’s an idea that has been thrown around for quite some time, and even Pacific Rim: Uprising director Steven S. DeKnight has admitted that his half of the equation was shaping up for such an event. Now, a key component of Godzilla vs. Kong seems to have opened the door even wider for such an event to take place. If you haven’t seen the film yet, head to the Spoiler Shelters and ride this one out, because it’s time to talk about how Titans and Kaiju have come closer to the ultimate movie showdown.
The Mind-Bending Plot Twist That Godzilla vs. Kong Drops
Mechagodzilla! Now that I have your attention, yes, the robotic child of Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir) and his Apex Cybernetics family is indeed in Godzilla vs. Kong. You probably already knew that, but that’s not the twist in the tale we’re here to discuss. As it turns out, Mechagodzilla’s purpose and design are built upon something that will sound very familiar to Pacific Rim fans.
One half of what makes Mechagodzilla work is the fact that it’s piloted by Ren Serizawa (Shun Oguri), son of the late Dr. Ishira Serizawa (Ken Watanabe). Strapping into a chair and slipping on a helmet, Ren is able to control the metal beast with the help of an unlikely co-pilot. Remember how at the end of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) procured the severed head of King Ghidorah? Well, that came back to bite humanity in the ass, and hard.
Using the remnants of the villainous would-be Alpha Titan and some sophisticated AI framework, it’s as if Ghidorah’s spirit gets to help pilot Godzilla vs. Kong’s Mechagodzilla. Which really sucks when, after obtaining a crucial energy signature that gives this big bot a massive jumpstart, Ren Serizawa is presumably electrocuted to death, leaving Ghidorah’s AI consciousness in full control. Right there, you have the MonsterVerse testing a key component needed to successfully build a bridge into the Pacific Rim universe: drift compatibility.
What’s Drift Compatibility, And Why Didn’t It Work In Godzilla vs. Kong?
Right now, Pacific Rim fans are probably smiling, grinning or even shouting in delight. But if you’re brand new to the concept of drift compatibility or don’t totally remember how it works, here’s the basic gist and why Godzilla vs. Kong’s experts got it wrong.
The Basics Of Drift Compatibility
In Pacific Rim’s universe, the massive Jaeger robots piloted by the Pan Pacific Defense Corps are operated on the principle of “Drift Compatibility.” Since Jaegers are too much for the brain of one human pilot to take control of, the concept of “The Drift” was created to allow two pilots to sync their brainwaves and pilot their unit as one. That being said, you can’t just throw two pilots together and send them out into the wild. No, they have to be “Drift Compatible.”
Through genetic/familial similarities, pilots sharing similar life experiences or even just the usage of younger pilots, the ideal pair of Jaeger pilots have some sort of mental common ground to share. With that sort of headspace in the works, drift compatibility is better ensured, meaning that the Jaeger pilots can operate as two hemispheres of the same theoretical brain. This is where Godzilla vs. Kong’s version of this tech gets it horribly wrong.
Where Godzilla vs. Kong’s Version Got Drift Compatibility Wrong
If Ren Serizawa and the good folks at Apex Cybernetics had bothered to watch Pacific Rim and/or its sequel materials, they would have realized just how dangerous drift compatibility could be. This lesson is especially true in Pacific Rim: Uprising, where Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) eventually finds himself under the control of a Kaiju brain he’s been known to drift with from time to time. Though in terms of where Mr. Serizawa went wrong, his mistake was more fatal than anyone could have imagined.
As if trying to essentially drift with the mind of King Ghidorah wasn’t enough of a risky move in Godzilla vs. Kong’s plot, to do so with the seemingly limitless power signature of the Hollow Earth posed even more of a problem. Ren Serizawa and one third of Ghidorah are the antithesis of what one would call drift compatible, as they have no common ground or experiences. One’s a son working in the shadow of his late father, the other is an invasive species that tried to take over all of Titankind.
Like a truly crafty villain, Ghidorah took advantage of the opportunity given. Lucky for us, Godzilla and Kong were there to save the day this time. But if they aren’t available or if there’s ever a threat so great that not even the Titans could take it on, it’d be nice to have some backup on deck.
How Could The Worlds Of Pacific Rim And The MonsterVerse Cross Over?
Godzilla vs. Kong’s MonsterVerse franchise and the antics of the Pacific Rim series seem to be made for each other. The only barrier that’s really separating the two halves of this scenario, besides potential pushback over a Pacific Rim sequel moving forward outside of Universal, is that these are clearly two different dimensions. That’s a barrier that’s already been discussed in the past, thanks to developments we see in Pacific Rim: Uprising.
With Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and his Pan Pacific Defense Corps teammates ready to take the fight to the Precursors, dimensional boundaries are about to be crossed. Pacific Rim’s entire franchise is built on such a gate being left open, as the Kaiju came from another dimension and into the world that created the PPDC. As director/co-writer Steven S. DeKnight had every intention of setting up the Kaiju/Titan crossover of our dreams with Pacific Rim 3, all that has to happen is one single film to tie the two worlds together.
Both the MonsterVerse and the KaijuVerse seem to share a lot of similarities, besides both being influenced by the original Godzilla films. This primitive version of The Drift present in Godzilla vs. Kong has hammered this home more than ever, and even the inclusion of “Titan Shelters” is reminiscent of the bunkers we saw in the original Pacific Rim. These two works are knocking on each other’s doors, with even Guillermo del Toro wanting to see them unite. It’s time to open these dimensions up, and let them do their work.
That is a distinct possibility that could happen should Godzilla vs. Kong’s recent success expand into the domestic release that’s set to kick off on March 31. If you’re heading out to the theater, we wish you a fond return to your local cineplex for some larger than life thrills. But if you’d rather sit this one on the couch, that’s fine, as HBO Max will offer the film for the first 30 days of its release. So if you need to get access to that platform, check out a sweet deal involving a discount for six prepaid months!