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Any insults and accusations hurled against this beloved movie will fall
on deaf ears with me. Admittedly, I am somewhat biased in favor of this
entertaining monster romp because it was a regular television staple
all during my childhood while I was growing up. It's one of the most
enjoyable giant monster movies Toho Studios ever made, and it's
certainly one of the best Godzilla films of all. It can be silly, it
can be jokey, and it's also a hell of a lot of fun.
I have seen both the U.S. Version and the Japanese Version, and I'll have to confess that while this review will be based on the proper Asian edition, I also have a nostalgic fondness for the American Cut, which actually benefits from some added jokes ("When you and the monster meet, be sure to tell him all about your corn problems!") and the exciting Universal stock music which compliments much of the action.
Godzilla was still a bad guy at this point in time, and I'm among the group who considers his costume here my personal favorite (it was very much like the Aurora model kit, or maybe it was the other way around). It's not very original to bash the obvious awful King Kong suit, so I'll say that while it's definitely kind of ragged, I actually think it's appealing in its unusual weirdness. Kong is more or less painted as the heroic one of these two, and I have to tell you that I absolutely love that native song of worship which is chanted at him by the island dwellers who dance and pray on his home turf. I appreciate it even more when it's used as the title credits music in the Toho version.
The story is silly and simple, but it works. Godzilla is back in town after awakening from the iceberg he froze in at the conclusion of GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, and so a frustrated pharmaceutical advertiser decides to send a couple of his zany cronies to King Kong's Island to capture and bring back his own monster to give Godzilla some competition. Humor is very well used here, and it works well alongside the usual rampages and city stompings.
The touted "battle of the giants" has been unfairly maligned as looking too much like a "wrestling match," but I don't see how else these creatures are supposed to tangle with one another unless they opted to stare each other down for ten minutes. Not much fun there, I'm afraid! Their climactic fight is well worth the wait and fulfills all expectations. *** out of ****
Before Freddy VS Jason, before Aliens VS Predator, even before the
clash of the titans that is Puppet Master VS Demonic Toys (but after
Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, obviously), there was King Kong VS
Before I proceed with this review, I should point out that the version I have seen is the American one, which is dubbed and had several scenes added featuring a United Nations news broadcast. The original Japanese release was apparently much more satirical in tone, whereas the American version removes all the comedy. It is still enjoyable as a giant monster movie, though.
This movie originally began life as a stop-motion feature entitled KIng Kong VS Frankenstein, and was conceived by Willis O'Brien as a sequel to the 1933 Kong, gradually turning into a Godzilla movie after Toho studios got involved. Although there are some brief stop-motion sequences, it is by and large a typical kaiju ega movie (in other words, it's men in rubber suits). While fans of O'Brien's still-impressive stop-motion work on the original King Kong may be irked by the idea of the big ape being played by a Japanese guy in a suit, I personally think Kong looks pretty cool (it's certainly more impressive than the suit Toho used for their second Kong film, King Kong Escapes).
There are some inconsistencies, most notably the fact that King Kong and Godzilla were radically different sizes in their respective films, but Toho got around this by the simple expedient of ignoring it. We've got two great big monsters beating each other up, so who cares about details? Also, in the original King Kong, the big ape had no special powers beyond being very strong, whereas Godzilla has radioactive breath; Toho addressed this seeming imbalance by having Kong derive strength from electricity, whereas Godzilla is weakened by touching power lines. One point that bugs me a little is the fact that, although this is the third Godzilla film, and the second to feature King Kong, there seems to be no connection to the previous movies. When the two monsters appear, the human characters act as though they have no prior knowledge of them, which seems odd when you take into account Godzilla had twice previously tried to destroy Tokyo, and King Kong did make kind of a mess of New York. King Kong VS Frankenstein was intended as a sequel to the original, but this idea was obviously dropped from the movie it became.
The climactic fight between the two monsters is great fun, sort of a giant sized version of a WWE match, only with more believable physiques and personalities. Kong shoving a tree down Godzilla's throat and the big green guy responding by walloping Kong with his tail are highly entertaining moments; obviously not as spectacular as the scenes of Kong fighting the dinosaurs in either the 1933 original or Peter Jackson's remake, but that's not the point. King Kong VS Godzilla is an enjoyable example of this type of movie; if you're new to the kaiju ega genre, it's an excellent starting point. It's just a shame King Kong VS Frankenstein never got made. Maybe if we all ask Peter Jackson nicely....
Godzilla escapes from an ice berg and King Kong is found on an island that
has lots of kick ass berries on it which the natives grind into a juice
Kong to drink. After throwing boulders at a giant octopus and drinking the
juice, Kong falls asleep and the local Japanese TV guys "ape nap" him and
bring him back to Japan so their boss can exploit the big monkey for all
he's worth. But en route, the Japanese government order the TV guys to
Kong back his home island because they've got enough problems with
as it is, they don't need a giant monkey on the rampage as well. Kong
escapes and this leads to the inevitable clash of titans as Godzilla
Kong for the right to demolish Tokyo.
The original Kong from the 1933 film was only 50 feet tall while Godzilla is 400 feet tall, so they had to make Kong a lot bigger for this film and in order to make the odds more even for him they endowed him with the ability to draw strength from lightning bolts. The King Kong suit is hopelessly phony to look at though.
The American version is a travesty that serves merely as filler until the big finale, with a reporter who really makes you long for Raymond Burr's reporter man Steve Martin. Whether or not the Japanese version ever becomes available in America remains to be seen, but hey, see whatever version you can get just to see Kong ram a ridiculously huge tree down Godzilla's throat!
Director Ishiro Honda, who first brought The Big G to the screen in the brilliant 1954 film GOJIRA (re-edited in the US as Godzilla King of the Monsters) decided to scrap the heavy messages and themes of the original film when he made King Kong vs. Godzilla, however he does appeared to have had a great deal of fun making this goofy rubber monster classic. Godzilla breaks out of an iceberg he was imprisoned in and heads to knock down Tokyo. Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company discovers King Kong on an island full of Japanese actors in blackface playing the natives (!) and the flamboyant CEO decides to bring Kong to Japan as a publicity stunt. The government decides to pit the two titans against each other on the top of Mount Fuji in the climatic scene of the movie. Much of this film is film is intentionally goofy, particularly the island scenes. The screenwriters decided that electricity makes King Kong stronger, but it weakens Godzilla (to make sure it would be a fair fight). Honda also put in several homages (parodies) to the original 1933 King Kong. The final battle on Mount Fuji is similar to watching WWF wrestling, except better, because they're wearing monster suits. If you want a film with epic romance and sweeping drama, you should watch Gone With the Wind, but if you're in the mood for campy monsteriffic fun like only the Japanese can do, watch this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Excellent entry into the Godzilla series, the idea of the best known monsters fighting each other was inevitable. The fact that King Kong and Godzilla are in it is reason enough alone to watch it. The American footage was obviously added in such as in "Godzilla, King of the Monsters" but they didn't do a bad job. I have to resolve this one little question that I have been asked many times: Why didn't Godzilla win? Well, the answer to that is that when this was made Godzilla was still a bad guy, and humanity still wanted him destroyed. Because King Kong was loved so much in previous movies, it was a good idea to let him win. In other words, Godzilla was not yet a superhero.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have always been a fan of this film. I think it was the first Kong film I had seen other than clips from the original in a documentary about movie monsters. I was always a huge Godzilla/King Kong fan and can't really decide which one I like better. I think at the time I watched this I was more into Kong so I was glad to see him come out victorious. He beat the big green guy so bad, that he was still sore in his next movie (Godzilla Vs. The Thing) where he lost against Mothra (or actually Mothra larvae) and I was glad though I still love and respect 'Zilla. This really was the battle between two of the greatest movie monsters of all time. I used to have all the Godzilla films on VHS but they were all lost in a flood but I plan on replacing them on DVD real soon. I used to have this awesome movie on VHS and look forward to buying it on DVD (along with the rare King Kong Escapes) in four days. I also loved the brilliant fight between King Kong and the Giant Octopus (I think his name was Oodaku or something) back on Faro Island even though it looked really fake. I will soon own this masterpiece as part of my King Kong/Godzilla DVD collection and be able to watch it over and over again just like the old days, reliving some great memories. I also wouldn't mind seeing this film remade perhaps by Peter Jackson as a second sequel (after a Son of Kong remake) to his new 2005 remake of the original Kong. That would be pretty awesome with today's special effects and technology though it could never live up to the magic of the original. Jackson be sure to include the Giant Octopus if you ever consider this! On the whole, this film is a worthy entry to both the Godzilla series and the King Kong series and will always hold a special place on my heart. I give this great film a 10 out of 10.
This movie is not the movie to see for an epic fight between the two
legendary monsters. It's a movie to see for all the fans of badly
executed special effects in the true spirit of 50's scifi b-movies. In
that respect, it's a true classic. If you enjoyed the Beasty Boys'
video for "Intergalactic Planetary", you'd love this movie as a
Japanese feature length counterpart. They've got the same quality feel
to them, and the same incredible special effects - and here,
"incredible" is meant literally.
Some of the highlights of this movie for me: the toy plane a little boy sees hanging in a toystore and makes him stop because he badly wants it, is the same plane that flew in formation attacking Godzilla. And by that I don't mean the same type of plane, but it's the exact same plastic model! Also, true to the original story, King Kong comes from a tropical island. As we all know, the cliché has it such an island is inhabited by black people wearing banana-leaf skirts and toting spears. This being a Japanese production, the natives are played by Japanese, painted black and given curly wigs...
So if you enjoy laughing at the ridiculous details in movies, love to see fights between people wearing halloween suits trying to make it look like the real thing, with some mediocre fireworks in between, you have to see this movie. If you're looking for a credible classic, such as the original King Kong movie, or high-tech special effects and stunning visuals, this is not the one for you ;)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having never seen the Japanese version, I can't say whether the US version is better or worse. But I can say that this is a jolly monster-battling romp. King Kong is intoxicated by some kind of berry which grows on his island, is brought back to Japan by ruthless businessmen who intend to make money out of him. But they reckoned without Godzilla, who returns to fight the great ape. Alright, so the film completely ignores the storyline of the original King Kong film, and the special effects (apart from the land-stalking octopus, which looks really good for its time) are pretty tatty. But come on. If you're a fan of these kinds of films, you'll be hooked until the final showdown.
Most of us saw the English language version of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, which discarded alot of fun bits found only in the original Japanese language version of this near classic. In it's original Japanese, this is a fun movie about these rather boob-ish guys who work for a Tokyo advertising firm going to a desolate island. They encounter music loving natives who worship none other than King Kong. At the same time, Godzilla re-appears on the scene, threatening to destroy Tokyo. The film is made with wild energy, and goes with wild logic (how can you not love the scene where King Kong is knocked out with bongo music?!) Proof that director Inoshira Honda loved his audience and wanted to make them happy.
I have the American Version and I really like it. The basic premise of the movie is given away in the title. King Kong versus Godzilla is truly the battle of the ages, between the two most famous monsters. They make the 'Alien' look like a wimp. Akihiko Hirata as Dr. Shigezawa is great in his role even though quite limited. He, as usual, is intelligent and cerebral and his statement, " or the monster will kill us all" pretty much sums up the problem they are facing. His presence adds continuity to the film since he was the real hero of the original Godzilla, King of the Monsters. The main female actress is unbearably helpless and is by no means a 'Fay Wray'. The Kong suit is ridiculously poor but who cares. I guess Kong is supposed to be the good guy in this flick if either can be considered good. I loved the scene where Dr. Johnson, paleontologist(?), holds up the text book to compare Godzilla to a T-Rex and a stegosaurus. The book just has to be a part of the kids Golden Book series and I loved the when he likened Godzilla's brain to a marble. With 'K'and'G' stepping on everything in sight, I always wonder why it never seems to hurt their feet. The native girl that does the lead dancing on the island is the prettiest Japanese woman I have ever seen and in my view should have been the key actress. I watch this film more than any Godzilla movie in my vast collection. Sit back with a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy.
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