I started the year with a Bang and I am ending it with a Bang. The title is no joke, King Kong and Godzilla have had a fight in 1962 (1963 if you are American). Just imagine two of cinemas greatest icons having a battle with each other.
The film was made by Toho who have made every Japanese Godzilla film to date. Universal were the distributors for the film in non-Asia countries. The film is a result of several attempts to make a new King Kong film over the years before this film. This is the first time that both King Kong and Godzilla appeared in Colour and Widescreen and it is still the most commercially successful title in the Godzilla Series.
So we know a bit about the film now let’s look at the combatants:
In one corner we have King Kong, the giant ape who was captured from his home, climbed to the top of the empire state building with the girl he loved in his hand and was the shot down by a group of airplanes. How is he still alive to fight Godzilla? Well in the case of many films what happened in New York did not happen in the timeline of this film and so he is still alive.
In the other corner we have Godzilla, The giant lizard who woke up after H-bomb tests and destroyed Tokyo before being killed by a secret weapon. Then another one appeared and had a fight with a creature called Anguirus (one of my favourite Toho monsters) and then gets buried in an Ice avalanche.
The two monsters are ready to fight so let’s see who wins the fight of the previous century.
The film starts out with a news team reporting an earthquake in Chile and then tell of some mysterious red berries that help in medicine and that the natives on the island don’t want to give it up because of the monster on the island. The head of a pharmaceutical company decide to send 2 people to the island to bring back the monster for their advertising. Meanwhile a group of icebergs are melting and so the United Nations send a submarine to investigate. They go towards an iceberg that is glowing and then crash into an iceberg. They set off an emergency signal. The submarine then catches fire as the sound of a creature’s roar is heard. A rescue helicopter arrives and watches as Godzilla emerges from the iceberg. The news is reported (on the television news channel which rather annoyingly constantly makes appearances through this film) and japan gets ready for when Godzilla attacks, they even think about using the nuclear bomb. Godzilla then attacks an army base.
The 2 men sent to collect the monster arrive at Faro Island and talk to the natives who allow them to stay after showing the chief a radio. As the natives perform a ceremony the Monsters roar can be heard. In Japan a plane crashes in Hokkaido and a girl’s boyfriend was on the plane and she goes to see if he survived. As she leaves a news report says that Godzilla may attack there next. The 2 men look for the monster on the island and get caught in a land slide. They get back to the tribe village and as one of them sleeps a small boy goes to get some of the red berry juice. A giant octopus attacks which is then attacked by a Giant Gorilla (King Kong). Kong drives the octopus away. Kong then drinks some of the red berry juice and the natives start singing and dancing causing Kong to fall asleep. The 2 men decide to take Kong off the island.
Japan declares that King Kong is not allowed to enter Japan. The boyfriend (Fujita) arrives back safely in Tokyo and just finds out that his girlfriend’s train is going in the direction of where his plane crashed and Godzilla is in that area. He goes off to find his girlfriend. Godzilla moves towards the train. Fujita finds his girlfriend and takes her away from the area. Kong wakes up from the raft he is tied down to and the 2 men blow up the explosives tied to the raft to blow him up. However Kong survives and heads towards Japan. Godzilla and King Kong have a quick fight with Kong retreating after getting burned by Godzilla’s Atomic Deathray.
Plans are made to stop Godzilla from attacking Tokyo. They decide to build a grid of electrical wires around Tokyo thinking it will stop Godzilla. It (Strangely and I will explain why later) does and Godzilla moves away. However electricity (somehow) makes Kong stronger and Kong arrives in Tokyo. After stopping a train Fujita’s girlfriend is captured by Kong who then climbs to the top of the capital building (National Diet Building). Using the red berry juice and the sound of drums the army use the same technique used on the island to put Kong to sleep. Using balloons and some special wire from Fujita the army airlift Kong out of Tokyo and move him to where Godzilla is in the hope that the 2 monsters might destroy each other. The 2 monsters meet and after a hard-fought fight Godzilla initially wins but when lightning strikes it wakes up Kong and the fight continues. The 2 monsters then fall into the sea and then cause an earthquake. Kong the appears out of the water and swims home with Godzilla nowhere to be seen.
Here is a clip from BBC Monster Night in 1998 if you want to watch the main fight.
King Kong vs Godzilla is an entertaining film with some good scenes. What is interesting about the special effects side is that King Kong is a suit this time whereas in the original he was a Stop Motion Animation. The Godzilla suit does look pretty good but the suit does get bigger and better as the current series (showa) goes along. The King Kong suit also looks pretty good but there are parts in the film where it looks like it is out of control and the movements are not as fluid as they are in other parts. There is also some interesting uses of the cameras with a front view of Godzilla shown where as in most films he is seen from the side.
As I said earlier there is something strange about the electricity scene with Godzilla. In the 1954 original Godzilla destroys the electric grid with ease like it does nothing to him. In the film following this one electricity does not affect him in any way at all. So how come in this film he does not like it and runs away.
While the film is fun to watch and is quite entertaining the film seems to be a bit too Americanized. Some scenes look like a America Monster Movie and not a Godzilla Movie. It is almost like the film was made by America with some help from Japan. While it is fun to watch these elements stop it from reaching its full potential and that is why it’s not one of my top favourite Godzilla films (even though it is a lot better than some films I the series).
Overall it is a fun and entertaining film but in my opinion there are some Godzilla films that are a lot better than this one. Because of the Americanized style of this film it is more of a monster movie and not a Godzilla Movie. While you may find it fun to watch do not look at this and assume this is what Godzilla is about until you have watched some of the stronger films in the series. (please leave a comment if you want me to recommend any).
OH who won the fight. Well Godzilla won the first round and King Kong won the second so it looks like a draw. Maybe this calls for another film to be made. Who do you think Won?