Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley

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Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley is a 1992 Nike television commercial in which a giant-sized version of NBA star Charles Barkley challenges Godzilla to a game of basketball in the streets of downtown Tokyo. The commercial was later adapted into a comic book.

Commercial synopsis[edit]

At the beginning of the commercial, Godzilla is rampaging through Tokyo when he hears Barkley dribbling a basketball. In response, the monster dons a pair of pink goggles and prepares for a basketball game, in which the two will use the O from a Tokyo sign on a building as their hoop. Godzilla knocks the ball from Barkley's hands with his tail, but Barkley retrieves it and pushes Godzilla into a building, clearing the path for an easy slam dunk. Afterwards, Barkley and Godzilla are seen walking through the streets together, with Barkley's arm on Godzilla's shoulder. Barkley tells Godzilla that "the Lakers are looking for a big man", and the spot concludes with the Nike swoosh logo. Another ending used in the commercial has Barkley asking Godzilla "Have you ever thought about wearing shoes?"

Making of the commercial[edit]

Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley was conceived by advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy and produced by Industrial Light & Magic. It was originally intended for Japanese audiences, but Nike was impressed enough to use it in the United States,[1] where it debuted on September 9, 1992, during the MTV Video Music Awards broadcast on MTV.[2]

The commercial required eight days of filming during the first two weeks in June 1992 and four weeks of editing thereafter.[3] It employs suitmation techniques, which were still being used in the Godzilla films being made by Toho. Clint Goodman of ILM explained, "The idea was that we would show a modern look, but not with total 'ILM realism'. It just wouldn't be true to the subject matter." The Godzilla costume comprised many foam rubber pieces, and puppeteers produced the monster's facial expressions with radio control devices. Some of the miniature buildings in the commercial were originally used in the 1984 film Ghostbusters. The special effects team used mattes to create the illusion of a larger city.[4]

This commercial was the first television commercial to ever utilize 3D Audio. The Barnaby microphone invented by Jeff Gold of 3D.Audio was used by Jeff Roth of Focused Audio to create a basketball dribbling sound that would literally jump out of the speakers. [5]


  • Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland
  • Creatives: Warren Eakins and Steve Sandoz
  • Agency Producer: John Adams
  • Production Company: Industrial Light & Magic, San Rafael
  • Director: Michael Owens
  • Producer: Clint Goldman
  • Director of Photography: Kim Marks
  • Head of Creature Department: Jeff Mann
  • Editor: Bob Sarles
  • Sound Designer: Jeff Roth at Focused Audio, San Francisco
  • 3D Audio (Barnaby Microphone): 3D.Audio
  • Sound Mix Engineer: Jay Shilliday at Focused Audio, San Francisco

Comic book adaptation[edit]

In December 1993, Dark Horse Comics released Godzilla vs. Barkley, a one-shot comic inspired by the commercial (although most of the action takes place in California rather than in Japan). The comic was written by Mike Barron with art by Jeff Butler and Keith Aiken.[6]


  1. ^ Moore, Martha T. (September 9, 1992). "Godzilla Meets Barkley on MTV". USA Today. p. 1.B.
  2. ^ Steve Ryfle. Japan's Favorite Mon-Star. ECW Press, 1998. 275.
  3. ^ ""Lights, Camera, Magic!", on season 3, episode 1". Scientific American Frontiers. Chedd-Angier Production Company. 1992–1993. PBS. Archived from the original on 2006. Aired October 14, 1992 (video Archived 2011-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, transcript).
  4. ^ David Kalat. A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series. McFarland, 2007. 207.
  5. ^ Tom Kenny. Godzilla vs. Barkley in 3-D Sound. Mix Magazine, November 1992.
  6. ^ Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury. Holy Sh*t! The World's Weirdest Comic Books. St. Martin's Press, 2008. 104.


External links[edit]