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Theme park fans always have those rides they can remember every moment at the drop of a gift shop hat. For Universal Studios Orlando fans, Back to the Future: The Ride is one of those departed classic attractions that brings back such strong memories. And now Godzilla vs. Kong is the living proof. You can thank director Adam Wingard for that nostalgia blast, as the famed Universal Studios ride inspired a huge nod that was included during the climactic Hong Kong fight sequence.
If you thought the sequence where Alexander Skarsgard and Rebecca Hall ride an experimental craft right past the faces of both of Godzilla vs. Kong’s titular Titans looked familiar, this is probably why. As it turns out, Adam Wingard had several properties he wanted to invoke in his movie, which lead to references to such things as Lethal Weapon 2, and Back to the Future: The Ride. When speaking with Polygon, Wingard explained why Doc Brown’s Orlando adventure was such an important thing to reference:
Back to the Future: The Ride was a huge reference point for me! That was such an incredible experience for me as a kid going to Universal Studios and seeing that ride. I still remember the King Kong ride, where you’re on the tram, but the Back to the Future: The Ride was the most impressive thing that I saw as a kid. My VFX supervisor had never been on that ride. Fortunately, the video of the ride exists. The special effects don’t really hold up. I remember them looking incredible in the theater, but now you see them and you realize, 'a lot of this is actually old school effects.' But yeah, I showed it to him and said, ‘I want it to feel like this.’
While the effects of Godzilla vs. Kong are lightyears away from those used in Back to the Future: The Ride, Adam Wingard’s not wrong when it comes to the charm that the attraction retains with theme park fans. With the last variant of the ride closing down in 2016, the attraction sadly only exists in the ride videos that can be found online and on some home video editions of Back to the Future. And when you watch the video of the simulator ride’s adventure, provided below, you can clearly see where the influence came from.
Even if the video above constitutes your first time experiencing Back to the Future: The Ride, it’s hard to watch that scene from Godzilla vs. Kong and not see the resemblance. Whether it’s tunneling through the Hollow Earth or smashing through a random Hong Kong skyscraper, the motion and the thrill of such an adventure is present in Adam Wingard’s dramatic conclusion. And if that wasn’t enough, not one, but two close calls with the jaws of a Titan were included to seal that visual deal.
Some inspirations are harder than others to nail when it comes to the world of visual medium. And making a film like Godzilla vs. Kong feel like a theme park simulator without even moving your seat is one of those rare moments that generates quite a thrill for audiences. While the fight choreography of such scenes needed to have a grounded, but still fantastical approach. The action involving humans and their technological advances to play in the world of Titans got to be as wild, and ultimately as successful, as Adam Wingard wanted them to be.
Much like the rest of Warner Bros.’ 2021 theatrical slate, Godzilla vs. Kong is currently in theaters, with HBO Max offering the film simultaneously for the first 30 days. As the platform is currently offering a six month prepaid subscription discount, now’s a good time to sign up and get a feel for what’s available in the entire library. Unfortunately, Six Flags simulator films are not part of that library, so there's no chance of properly reliving The Right Stuff Mach 1 Adventure at this time.