The culmination of the first wave of MonsterVerse films, "Godzilla vs. Kong" delivered on the title's premise and then some. In addition to having Godzilla slap Kong around (and vice-versa), the film expanded the kaiju-filled world by introducing the Hollow Earth. Indeed, the center of our planet was revealed to be a lush environment that literally flipped the world on its head, laying out an expansive origin story for Kong and his fiercest competitor along the way. Just don't compare it to Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth."

A sequel is well on its way, but "Godzilla vs. Kong" already did the heavy lifting when it comes to laying the foundation of its monster-ridden universe. The Hollow Earth once housed the large creatures that now terrorize the surface land, including Kong's deceased relatives. The giant ape's return to his homeland is a turning point in the story, which sees him clobber Godzilla afterward with an inherited axe. The Hollow Earth was always meant to be like venturing into another world, instead of the typical, scientifically-driven presentation of the planet's center. What's more, "Godzilla vs. King" director Adam Wingard was adamant about not using Verne's classic 19th-century sci-fi adventure novel as the benchmark for creating the Hollow Earth.

'A Big Dirty Word'

In a 2021 interview with, "Godzilla vs. Kong" director Adam Wingard discussed bringing the Hollow Earth to life while making sure to avoid any comparisons to "Journey to the Center of the Earth":

"Well, the trickiest thing about it is when you look at it on the page, it's basically, 'Oh, this is a 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' movie, right?' And that was a big dirty word. Nobody was ever allowed to mention 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' in the offices. Because what that conjures in your head are dark caves and big mushrooms that are oversized and those kind of clichés."

Whether it's the 1959 film or the 3D-laced 2008 reboot starring Brendan Fraser, adaptations of Jules Verne's "Journey To The Center of the Earth" generally amplify the already-existent. Large mushrooms, dinosaurs, crabs, and similar creatures fill out the void at the center of the earth in cave-like scenery. The sci-fi elements are still pretty imaginative when it comes to the Hollow Earth, but Wingard rightfully strayed away from the established norm. Instead, the center of the earth in "Godzilla vs. Kong" is much more fantastical in nature, clearing the way for a whole new world of possibilities.

A World Worth Exploring

When it came to the Hollow Earth, it doesn't seem much ended up on the cutting room floor in "Godzilla vs. Kong." From the point Kong first lands in the upside down landscape, we are treated to a place that feels like another reality. That was always Adam Wingard's intention, too: "I want to treat it like we're going into a whole other world."The equally large creatures present are otherworldly, especially the Warbat that Kong fights. But what stands out is the history behind it all. The axe that Kong uses later on to battle Mechagodzilla is an artifact from the Hollow Earth, a sign that his kind fashioned weapons in anticipation of the battle against other titans.

Fittingly, Kong's journey to the Hollow Earth also marks a key turning point in his personal arc. Any sense of wonder (à la "Journey To The Center of the Earth") is aptly combined with an emotional attachment to this new environment. In "Godzilla vs. Kong," the best part of the Hollow Earth scenes is Kong's awe-struck reaction to this strange yet familiar place. The film conveys his emotions like no other, and Kong getting to know his roots is just one reason the Hollow Earth was worth the hassle.

It's not clear if the location will be present in the upcoming sequel, but I'd assume so, taking into consideration the ending of "Godzilla vs. Kong." Kong now lives happily in the Hollow Earth, at least until another world-threatening rival arrives at his doorstep.

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