Bill Nighy can add a splash of fun to any fantasy film, from "Flushed Away" to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." He’s even enjoyably outrageous in a small scene-stealing role in “Wrath of the Titans.” This weekend, Nighy has the chance to be memorable once again, in “Jack the Giant Slayer.” Here he voices the primary head of a two-headed giant named General Fallon. John Kassir, best known for voicing the Crypt Keeper, is his other, lesser half.
Fallon is the latest in a long history of extra-large characters dominating the big screen. Will he rank among the greatest giants, monsters, robots, and legends we’ve collected below? We’ll find out soon.
King Kong (‘King Kong’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 18-150 feet tall, depending on the film Possibly the most famous movie monster of all time, the giant ape known as King Kong has not only varied in size throughout the many sequels and remakes and spin-offs he’s appeared in, but he’s inconsistent over the course of the original 1933 version of “King Kong.” Advertisements said he was 50 feet, but on screen he appears to be about 18 feet on Skull Island and 24 feet in New York City. In Peter Jackson’s redo, the creature is said to be 25 feet, and in the Japanese film “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” he’s nearly 150 feet.
Godzilla (‘Gojira’/’Godzilla King of the Monsters!’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 164-328 feet tall The reason King Kong had to be enlarged for his battle against Godzilla is that Japan’s iconic lizard from the sea would have too easily crushed the ape. In the 1954 original, he’s able to stomp through Tokyo with ease. Back then he was only 50 meters (164 feet), but in later films he’s been as much as 320 feet.
T-Rex (‘Jurassic Park’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 21 feet tall Compared to a lot of movie monsters, the king of the dinosaurs may seem a bit small. But at 13 feet high, the largest known Tyrannosaurus rex was just a bit shorter than the original King Kong, which makes sense since the two creatures fought as equals on Skull Island. But that real-life T-rex specimen from the film had a length of 40 feet from head to tail’s end, which certainly adds to its epicness. In the first “Jurassic Park,” we see a greater than average example, with a height of 21 feet and length of 46 feet.
Iron Giant (‘The Iron Giant’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 50 feet tall If you’re a fan of the giant robot, or the mecha genre of science fiction, then you may not be impressed with the metal mammoth from Brad Bird’s animated film. Although the first known mecha creation (Tetsujin 28, aka Gigantor) was only a few stories tall, others have since been as big as galaxies. In “The Iron Giant,” the titular alien robot is big enough to tower over buildings and get tangled in power lines but small enough to hide in a barn.
Unicron (‘Transformers: The Movie’)
<strong>Height:</strong> Planet-sized Most Transformers could be included in this list, as primary characters such as Optimus Prime and Megatron are around 35-feet tall. But none are as massive as Unicron, the planet-shaped and planet-sized behemoth voiced by none other than Orson Welles in the 1985 animated feature. While no exact dimensions are given to his robot-mode height or his spherical circumference, production drawings merely say he’s not only bigger than Earth (and Cybertron), but little spheres attached to his rings are described as Earth-sized. This implies Unicron’s diameter is somewhere between that of Jupiter (89,000 miles) and the Sun (857,000 miles).
Nancy Archer (‘Attack of the 50 Foot Woman’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 50 feet tall, obviously The concept of gargantuan girls has been popular enough for a few remakes and rip-offs of the low-budget 1958 version of “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.” A variation recently made its way into the animated feature “Monsters vs. Aliens,” while the sexual fantasy aspect of the character has led to “Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold” and last year’s “Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader.”
Lt. Col. Glenn Manning (‘The Amazing Colossal Man’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 60 feet tall A year before the 50-foot woman, audiences first saw the 60-foot man in Bert I. Gordon’s B-movie with a comic book type story of a military man who increases in size after being exposed to a nuclear bomb blast. He rises above tall buildings and winds up destroying much of Las Vegas. Not to be outdone by “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” in the sexual fantasy department, at one point Manning peeps on a bathing woman while walking past her window.
Paul Bunyan (‘Paul Bunyan’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 94.5 feet tall If we go by the most memorable film version of the legend -- Disney’s Oscar-nominated 1959 animated short -- the enormous lumberjack is “63 ax handles high.” Wikipedia translates that to an estimated 94.5 feet. Of course, tall tales don’t call for specifics. He just has to be big enough in the imagination to fit stories of the creation of the Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes, and other natural landmarks.
Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (‘Ghostbusters’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 112.5 feet tall While capable of crushing plenty of cars and people in his path, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is still the least threatening of all epic movie monsters, especially for his sailor-suit appearance. Not only is he cuter than Godzilla and even King Kong, he tastes better, too. At his scale height of 112.5 feet (100 feet in the novelization), he would really need to climb up Dana’s building, which is portrayed as even taller than the actual building’s 19 stories. For “Ghostbusters II,” they went bigger in making the Statue of Liberty an epic character of sorts. She’s a bit taller at 151 feet.
Rancor (‘Return of the Jedi’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 16 feet tall According to the Wookiepedia, and going by officially licensed books, adult rancors can be anywhere between 5 and 19 meters (16 and 62 feet) tall. The creature owned by Jabba the Hutt, which Luke Skywalker defeats in “Return of the Jedi,” however, is apparently one of the smallest examples. The film’s novelization describes this particular rancor as “roughly five meters tall.” We know the thing had no chance against a Jedi Knight, and it would definitely get pulverized by any of these other epic characters.
Kraken (‘Clash of the Titans’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 200-800 feet tall In the recent remake of “Clash of the Titans,” the Kraken was not only released, but it was increased -- in size, that is. Ray Harryhausen’s model for the 1981 original looks to be about 200 feet on screen, while the remake’s director, Louis Leterrier, has said the CGI version in his film is 800 feet tall. That’s pretty epic compared to the 50-foot giant squids believed to have inspired the mythological sea monster.
Falkor (‘The Neverending Story’)
<strong>Length:</strong> 50 feet There are characters of greater size in “The Neverending Story.” The Rockbiter is the size of a building. The Nothing is the size of everything (and nothing). But Falkor, the luckdragon, is the most memorable of the giant creatures in the fantasy film, and he also has the easiest measurement to find. From head to tail, the larger of two models used in the film was close to 50 feet. Of course, a lot of that is tail, though considering his mass you can now get a better sense of how intimidating the beast was for the young bullies at the end.
Smaug (‘The Hobbit’)
<strong>Length:</strong> Undetermined The most famous dragon in literature and now movies is this talking beast from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth saga, and as with many things in nerdy pop culture, his size has been debated time and time again. Some say no more than 20 feet, while an estimate by Forbes magazine had him at 64 feet, and both those figures are meant to be just the creature’s length from shoulder to hind. For this one, we shall just consider that Smaug the dragon is one of the most epic film characters in legend and length.
Cloverfield Monster (aka Clover) (‘Cloverfield’)
<strong>Height:</strong> 240-250 feet tall Another monster for which there appears to be disagreement on the size, “Clover” is described in the film’s production notes as being 25 stories high, which puts it at about 240-250 feet. This is in between other claims. At the low-end, a popular size-comparison infographic drew the monster just above Godzilla at 180 feet. And on the higher end, Cloverpedia claims the monster is 350 feet tall and 1200 feet long. Some of the confusion might be in relation to the Statue of Liberty -- which is 151 feet high -- because “Clover” had to be proportionate to the landmark in order to destroy it as he does. Also complicating the matter, is the claim by filmmakers that “Clover” is a baby creature. Regardless, it’s a massive thing, so big that audiences weren’t even clear there was only one monster in the film for a while.