A small detail surrounding the King of the Monsters In Godzilla vs. Kong actually broke a rule Toho issued regarding their famous character’s use in the blockbuster film, though many didn’t catch it until it was pointed out: when Godzilla grazes Kong with his heat ray in their third round in the middle of Hong Kong, he appears to laugh in delight at shooting down his opponent.
This fleeting moment of a typical human reaction felt out of character to a lot of people, a sentiment shared and anticipated by Godzilla’s owners at Toho.
Although we G-Fans have seen Godzilla do oddball and humanlike things from time to time, such as literally jumping for joy to carrying on conversations with Anguirus – all with Toho’s approval – when it came to the Monsterverse, the Japanese production studio decided he should stay true to his role as a monstrous ‘creature’.
Therefore, according to director Adam Wingard, they issued a guideline prohibiting the King of the Monsters from emoting like a person in GVK.
“One of them, for instance, is (that) they don’t want Godzilla to emote,” Wingard recalled to CinemaBlend of the notes Toho gave him. “They see him as like this god-like force of nature, and so to them, it’s out of character if you have him reacting in a normal way to things.”
Despite this, he managed to find leeway with the rule through ambiguity. “But, there’s always ways around it,” he continued. “We definitely have some moments where I think Godzilla is more emotive in this film than he has been in any of the MonsterVerse movies.”
Wingard would add that “they had to get clever with it” and present it in such a way that put Toho on board. As such, the team discovered that as long as this moment and its intention was left open to fan interpretation, Toho would allow it to appear in the film.
Make no mistake, however, they didn’t throw it in just because they could or to arbitrarily give viewers something to ponder; there was a meaning and intent behind Godzilla’s laugh, which GVK Visual Effects Supervisor Pier Lefebvre explained when he sat down with Literary Joe of ComicBookMovie.com.
“Where he has a bit of that evil laugh; It’s part of the liberties we got to explore where they’re not chasing each other in this city,” Lefebvre said, adding “the second round is where Kong is a bit more agile, and he can take advantage of his environment.”
He continued, “So I think that the smile that you see in Godzilla is like, ‘finally, I got a piece of you.’ It’s basically that.”
Lefebvre further revealed he did not know the laugh was in the film until he saw it. “So I personally didn’t know until I saw the movie with the audio because we do get temp sound, so it helps with the explosion, and Kong makes monkey sounds, so it’s okay, but Godzilla usually has more of that crazy roar,” he said.
Once he heard it, Lefebvre’s reaction was positive. “Then when I heard that laugh, I was like, this is so cool,” he said. “It draws it to like a creepy level, but it’s very good.”
For him, it was subtle, a quality which he particularly liked. “It’s quite subtle. If you don’t pay attention, you don’t really hear it,” he said. “But it has like that little like rumble that feels like a laugh, which is quite good.”
Basically a reptilian dinosaur, Godzilla is likely capable of any vocalizations sound designers can come up with. Moviegoers just aren’t used to the idea because Toho has leaned so heavily into the iconic roar that originated in the 1950s.
How did you react to Godzilla’s laugh in GVK? Let us know down below.