Godzilla vs. Barkley
January 5, 2009
I think this whole thing was really just a PSA for not putting coins in your mouth.
Linkara: (sitting on his Futon) We all know that Space Jam was a shameless attempt to make a movie out of a commercial about shoes. But guess what? That's not the only media ever to spit out a franchise-crossing commercial.
(The commercial in question is shown: the famous Nike commercial involving Godzilla and Charles Barkley)
Linkara (v/o): In 1992, Toho and Nike joined forces to promote their new Air Ballistic Force line of basketball shoes. They actually hired Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects guys responsible for Star Wars and other various high-budget films to create a commercial that depicted Godzilla facing his toughest opponent yet, Charles Barkley.
Linkara: (briefly puzzled) Well, duh!
Linkara (v/o): It was actually pretty well received at the time, despite the fact that it doesn't really make any sense. So, what do we do with this commercial? Why, we make a comic book out of it, of course!
Linkara: Yes, a comic book based on a commercial based on a Japanese movie series and basketball shoes. Anyone else smell... money? (cash register ding sound is heard) As such, let's dig into (holds up comic of review) "Godzilla vs. Barkley".
Linkara (v/o): The cover is kind of strange. The painted coloring works well here, but why is Charles Barkley floating in the air? Is he just jumping up because he realized his leg is engulfed in fire? The penciler mucked up Godzilla big time. He looks kind of chubby here... poor guy must've been out of work when he agreed to do this... and his thermonuclear breath is all wrong. I can say it looks like he's spitting, except the blast pattern is weird. It's more like he's shooting webs out of his mouth. (dramatically reads displayed text on cover) "Read in awe as GODZILLA battles CHARLES BARKLEY in a cataclysmic game of hoops the likes of which has never before been witnessed by MAN!"
Linkara: Yeah, I mean, how many basketball games end with the destruction of the city? They reserve that for soccer games.
Linkara (v/o): Taking a look at the credits, Alan Smithee is credited for the plot of the story. Man, whoever thought this up was smart enough to keep their name off of it. We open off the coast of California, where a Japanese cargo ship is getting tossed about due to the bad weather. You know, it's a bad sign when your comic evokes the craptastic 1998 Godzilla film.
Ship captain: Make sure the cargo is secured and all the men are in their life jackets.
Crewman: Captain--when my father was a young man in Osaka he saw Godzilla...
Linkara: (in Japanese voice) Dammit, Ryu, this is not a good time for you to tell that story!
Captain: Silence! It's bad luck to even mention his name! We're modern men! We do not believe in the old legends!
Linkara (v/o): "Old legends"?! Godzilla came about in the 1950s! This generation has no respect for its elders! True to form, Godzilla rises up out of the water and smashes the boat, which was carrying lots of cars. However, they were Pintos, so people were going to end up dying anyway. We cut to a boy [named Matthew, as will be mentioned below] and his grandfather walking down a beach in California. The kid is really excited about the chance to meet Charles Barkley. He runs up ahead of his grandfather, but the security keeps him away. He claims to be Barkley's biggest fan, but the security guy points out the line of people who all say the same thing.
Man in line: I've come all the way from Brisbane. I am Sir Charles' biggest fan.
Linkara: (confused) He came all the way from Australia to see some random photo shoot Barkley's doing on a beach in California. That's not stalker behavior, is it?
Linkara (v/o): And why is Mr. T one of Charles Barkley's agents?
Man who looks like Mr. T: Get lost, kid. You want to see the man, buy a ticket to a game.
Linkara: Geez, way to send mixed messages there, Mr. T.
(Cut to a clip of Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool)
Mr. T: So you don't have to be famous to get respect. You just have to be somebody, and that means being confident in who you are. You're willing to take chances and risk falling on your face.
Linkara: Oh, but I kid, Mr. T. (holds up a copy of "Mr. T and the T-Force 1") We'll be doing his comic in a couple of weeks.
Linkara (v/o): The kid tells his grandfather how they turned him away.
Matthew: They acted like I was John Hinckley or somethin'!
Linkara (v/o): (as Matthew) Just because I like Jodie Foster doesn't mean I'll try to assassinate Charles Barkley!
Grandfather: Well now, Matthew, when you get to be as big as Barkley, you have to take precautions.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, the six-foot-four basketball player really needs to be protected against a twelve-year-old.
Grandfather: Maybe you'll be a great warrior like Barkley...
Linkara (v/o): Wait, warrior?! He's a basketball player, not a Klingon!
Linkara: (as a Klingon, holding up a blade weapon in each hand) For our sake, toss me the ball so that I might make a free throw!
Linkara (v/o): The kid's grandfather gives him a "magic silver dollar".
Grandfather: It has magical properties...
Matthew: Oh yeah?
Linkara: Yeah, like being exchanged for goods and services.
Grandfather: Point is, that there Morgan is special. And so are you. So I give it to you.
Matthew: Thanks Gramps.
Linkara (v/o): (as Matthew) I'll spend the magic coin as soon as I find some candy. (normal) The two look out at the beach and see someone washed up on it. Other beachgoers help the man, who turns out to be one of the survivors of the Japanese boat. He tries to warn them about Godzilla, but only the kid knows who Godzilla is.
Matthew: He's a monster! I guess he's the biggest monster of all time. They call him the king of the monsters.
Beachgoer: What are you? The king of the liars?
Linkara (v/o): Ooh, burn. Way to zing the twelve-year-old.
Matthew: Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Look out there!
Linkara: (points at camera) Ha! Made you look!
Linkara (v/o): And of course, Godzilla rises out of the water and starts walking onto the beach.
Matthew: But Gramps... the magic silver dollar... I can use it to stop Godzilla!
Linkara (v/o): Hey, kid, Godzilla's lowest billing is three million a picture.
Policeman: This is the police! Clear the beach. Do not panic. Please evacuate in an orderly fashion.
Linkara: (as policeman, pretending to hold up a police walkie-talkie) Come on, people, don't panic. We've all been through the giant monster drills.
Matthew: Not me, Gramps... BARKLEY!
Linkara (v/o): (as Matthew) Yeah, he can afford to pay off Godzilla.
Matthew: Charles Barkley is Earth's greatest warrior! Only he can stop Godzilla!
Linkara: Hey, kids! Here's a short list of men who'd be better suited to fight Godzilla than Charles Barkley!
(A montage of shots of the following pop up...)
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The military launches jets at Godzilla, but even the kid knows it's not gonna work. The kid skateboards onto a conveniently-placed ramp and calls out out to Barkley.
Barkley: Waitaminnit! I thought I heard a kid call my name.
Linkara: (as Barkley) My Barkley sense is tingling.
Mr. T-looking agent: Got to leave now, Mr. Barkley. There's a monster down the beach.
Linkara: (as agent) I'll get a Hannibal in his face and suck a Murdoch and we'll deal with that lizard fool.
Linkara (v/o): The kid lands in Barkley's arms, and Barkley nonchalantly asks him what's up. The other members of Barkley's entourage keep insisting that he has other appointments to keep, but Barkley's not paying attention to them.
Matthew: You gotta stop Godzilla! Take this dollar.
Linkara (v/o): (as Matthew) I'll pay you a whole shiny dollar to fight the Japanese monster!
Barkley: I don't have to stop that ugly monster and I don't want your dollar. You want to give me a dollar, buy a ticket to the game.
Matthew: But Charles, only you can stop GODZILLA... because you're Earth's greatest warrior!
Linkara (v/o): Was I watching the wrong NBA games? Are the really good basketball games the ones that include swords and armor and fighting each other? Barkley fires the rest of his staff after they once more insist that they leave.
Staff member: What if you say something that offends someone-- like a little old lady in Vermont?
Linkara (v/o): Then I'll just spit on her!
Barkley: You guyssssss... Tell her to write me, okay?
Linkara: (as Barkley, lisping) Like, you guys, we have to, like, fight Godzilla and shoot the hoops, ya silly goose...
Linkara (v/o): Barkley asks the kid why he thinks could stop Godzilla.
Matthew: It's an ancient legend my grandpa told me.
Linkara (v/o): What ancient legend?! All he said was that the coin was magical! Is there some ancient Japanese prophecy about this? (dramatically) And lo, in California's darkest hour did the demon god, Zilla the Nuclear, lay waste to the cities. Property values fell, and the beaches were deserted. But there was hope, for Earth's greatest warrior did rise up, and wielding his magic silver dollar did he vanquish the foul beast.
(A shot of Barkley as sports commentator is shown)
Linkara (v/o): And he went on to make jokes as a commentator. Amen.
(Back to the comic)
Matthew: Maybe you got to put it in your mouth or something.
Barkley: You don't put strange money in your mouth-- you don't know where it's been.
(A shot of the end of a "The More You Know" PSA from NBC is shown briefly, before returning to the comic again)
Matthew: Wait! There's a hoop! Pull in there, Charles. I want to show you some moves!
Linkara: Sure, Godzilla's attacking the city, slaughtering thousands, ruining the lives of countless others, and causing untold property damage, but that's fine; you show off your "moves" to Charles Barkley!
Linkara (v/o): Barkley, unfazed by this idea, says he'll play the kid for the silver dollar, even though the kid is already giving it to him. They flip the coin to decide who gets the ball first, but it lands on edge. Barkley reaches down to pick up the coin, but it suddenly MAKES HIM GROW!
Linkara: Well, yeah, that's impressive, but can the coin remote control a truck?
Barkley: Yeah, Matt... I see what you mean.
Linkara (v/o): What? He didn't say anything!
Barkley: Now I feel like playing some hoops.
Linkara: (dumbfounded) Does nobody notice the GIANT LIZARD DESTROYING THE CITY?!
(Cut to a clip of Barkley as a sports commentator)
Barkley: I'm a dumbass.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): By the way, we never get an explanation about where this coin came from or why it has the magic ability to make things grow.
Linkara: (talking on his phone) Hello, writers? I'm just wondering how exactly the coin is supposed to make Charles Barkley a giant? ...It's magic, so you don't have to explain it? What kind of an excuse is that?!
(Cut to a shot of the cover of the comic "One More Day, Part Four of Four", with an image of a demon on it, along with the following message: "It's what they said when someone brought up the continuity issues of 'One More Day.'"; back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): A news copter flies around Godzilla and reports on the destruction.
Reporter in copter: So far, there's no loss of life...
Linkara (v/o): (as reporter) Well, except for the fishing boat and the jets and probably a couple people on the beaches and the buildings he smashed and the cars he stopped...
Reporter: The governor's hands are tied. Any force sufficient to destroy the monster-- would result in massive loss of life!
Linkara: They just need to wait for the sanctions to take hold.
Linkara (v/o): They identify the monster as Godzilla.
Reporter: Japan is sending a special team to help fight Godzilla, but it may already be too late... Wait a minute, something's happening...
Linkara: (pretending to look into a microphone in a pair of headphones) I-I can't be certain, but-but yes! Yes, it looks like the monster is applying for a credit loan!
Barkley: Hey! Hey, you sorry suitcase-lookin' sucker! I'm talkin' to you!
Linkara (v/o): Damn, Barkley's hurling out racial insults to the lizard! The news copter must have a megaphone on it, since the reporter addresses Barkley and asks him what he's doing. Of course, no one bothers to ask why he's suddenly three hundred feet tall, but I digress.
Barkley: I'm gonna try to lead the monster out of the city.
Reporter in copter: How do you plan to do that?
Barkley: I'm gonna challenge him to some one-on-one. It's a little-known fact that Godzilla is a sucker for b-ball!
Linkara: Of course! It all makes sense! And Gyrus is a soccer fan, Gamera is all about the discus throw, and Godzilla's a basketball fan! It all makes sense!
(A caption pops up: "No, it doesn't.")
Linkara (v/o): He even bounces his basketball against Godzilla's head! Yeah, antagonize the giant lizard with thermonuclear breath. Ingenious strategy, Napoleon! Barkley leads Godzilla to a valley outside the city and an old Air Force base that, for some reason, has a space shuttle scaffold. He bends the scaffold down so it resembles a basketball hoop. Barkley lets Godzilla start off. The news chopper makes its way to the Air Force base while the kid and his grandfather make their way through traffic to try to witness the giant playoffs.
Reporter in copter: We see them! Charles and Godzilla are going at it at Scarfe Air Force Base!
Linkara: (puzzled) They "going at it"? (suddenly waves dismissively) No, no, no, screw it, never mind!
Linkara (v/o): So the fantastic basketball game begins with Godzilla scoring and smacking Barkley in the face with his tail!
Linkara: (making a time out sign with his hands) Foul! Foul! I call foul! Where's the ref?!
Linkara (v/o): Now it's Barkley's turn, and he proceeds to score one point after another. Hundreds of fans gather to watch the game. Why, even Bill Cosby makes an appearance! And heck, even Barkley does an illegal move on Godzilla! Oh, I get it!
(Cut to a clip of a video game that Linkara mentions below...)
Linkara (v/o): Like the video game, Barkley: Shut Up and Jam!
(Back again to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Godzilla, finally tired of this nonsense, just blasts the giant basketball. Barkley scolds Godzilla for being a sore loser, but instead of just continuing his rampage and blasting off Barkley's face, Godzilla calmly endures this Eisner Award-winning speech.
Barkley: You got some moves... little work, you could maybe get a try-out with the Bulls, one of those second-rate teams.
Linkara (v/o): Dude, the Bulls just got dissed!
Barkley: You don't need to be toastin' the opposition! Where's your sense of honor?
Linkara: (frustrated) HE'S GODZILLA! HE'S NOT HUMAN! HE DOESN'T HAVE A SENSE OF HONOR!
Linkara (v/o): Barkley brings Godzilla out to a canyon in Utah and tosses him a new ball. Where he got a new giant ball is anyone's guess. He tells Godzilla to start practicing and do a million layups. For no adequately-explained reason, Barkley is suddenly back to normal size, and... Oh, Godzilla's wearing shoes now.
Linkara: Hey, Ghostbusters 2 was wrong: they do make Nikes in that size!
Linkara (v/o): And then "Godzilla got busy." Wow. Barkley flies back to the city to return the silver dollar to the kid, who's engaging in the standard kind of fight you'd expect from a twelve-year-old.
Bully: Do not.
Matthew: Do too.
Bully: Do not.
Matthew: Do too.
Linkara: (announcer voice) Tonight on The McLaughlin Group...
Linkara (v/o): The other kid bets that our backwards-cap-wearing protagonist can't swish a ball, nor does he know Charles Barkley. In a bit of dramatic convenience, Charles Barkley shows up, and our comic ends with the kid swishing the basket.
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic is just stupid. It's certainly not the worst comic in the world, but its entire premise is based on a five-second, high-concept joke that works better in a song about ultimate battles and ultimate destinies than it does in a comic! (throws comic down, gets up and leaves, then returns, holding up index finger) Though I do wonder about the magic coin... (picks up a coin and looks at it closely) Hmm... All right, magic coin, make me grow. (nothing happens) Come on, you stupid thing! Make me grow!
(Suddenly, there is a bright flash and Linkara finds that he has become a giant! He is outside, no longer in the house)
Linkara: Whoa! Hey, it worked! I'm huge! (he lets out a Godzilla-like roar) Oh, hey, guys, check this out! (singing as he stomps around, shaking the ground) It's a brand-new day, and the sun is high! All the angels sing, 'cause you're gonna die!