King Kong vs Godzilla


This is the third movie in the Godzilla series, and was released in 1962, 5 years after Godzilla Raids again. It was the first Godzilla movie to be shot in colour (Toho-Scope no less) and we also return to the original director and composer.

Once again, I haven’t seen this Godzilla film, and I’m starting to realize that I haven’t seen the majority of the Showa series. I guess I really came on board with the Heisei series starting in 1984. I know I’ve seen all of those, and the Millennium series(of which I have a fair number on VCD). So the Showa series of movies will be a real treat to watch, and possibly make fun of. Winking smile

Our movie starts out with what appears to be a boring science show, and then switches to a guy(that is the spitting image of a Japanese Groucho Marks) being bored and complaining of being bored. He works for Pacific Pharmaceuticals, in the advertising department, and he hates how boring the show is. Then there’s word that giant monster is inhabiting a southern island, and he want’s this monster for advertising purposes. It’s like a Mad Men version of the original King Kong.

Oh, and a US sub is exploring the island where Godzilla was trapped in ice(remember Rides Again?) and crashes into the iceberg(worst driving ever really). The one thing I’m noticing about Japanese films in general is that, everytime they have an American actor/character, speaking English, they do so veeeery sloooowly. Not sure what the deal here is. I wonder if it’s the other way around, when an American films has a Japanese character speaking Japanese, if it’s slowed down?

The Sub is destroyed by Godzilla(which the Americans seem to pronounce as godjilla), Godzilla is release from the iceberg and attacks a nearby base. And all the model tanks and anti-aircraft guns just can’t stop him.

It’s at this point that we completely diverge from the  seriousness of the original Godzilla film. They moved to the VS format and made it almost slap-stick. This pretty much continues until the Heisei series. It goes on record as the highest box-office attendance for any Godzilla film, and with an estimated budget of 5 million yen, it raked in 350 million. So you can see why they would want to continue with this format. I know I would!

Back on the island, the natives are attacked by a giant octopus, and I really think someone just plopped down an octopus on the sound stage and just let it roam about. I say this as, in the scenes where it’s not actually interacting with King Kong(yea, we finally get to see the monkey suit), you can tell that all of the foreground is shot separately. Well, after the big gorrilla/octopus fight, King Kong drinks some berry juice, get’s wasted, and passes out. I love the 60’s Smile

So naturally they tie him to a raft and carry him off to Japan to be the official sponsor of Pacific Pharmaceuticals. No, you read that right. This is all a publicity stunt/thing.

Godzilla then shows up on the main land to wreak havok on some model trains, and almost at the same time, King Kong wakes up and gets free. No, I have to ask another question about Japan; how shallow is the water surrounding the island? Because King Kong is standing up where a steam freighter just passed. And I know he’s big, but he can’t be that big. Can he?

And the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Godzilla and King Kong meet on the field of battle!

And it was lame! Some rocks were thrown, some fire was breathed, and, well, that’s about it. KK scratched his head and walked away.

Basically the two monsters go their separate ways and cause havoc for the poor people of Japan. There are a few other attempts to stop them, nothing really works. Then King Kong pulls the old ‘steal the pretty girl from the train trick’ and they have to try to stop him…by drugging and singing to him. Well, it works. And with the help of a few large ballons, they air lift him to Mt Fuji to fight Godzilla, in the hopes that they’ll destroy each other.

Epic Battle #2, and this time it’s not sucky. Rocks are thrown, fire is breathed, trees are shoved down throats, and it’s an all out battle royal. And somewhere down the line King Kong picks up this interesting electro-shock grip that helps him fight Godzilla.

They fight, they bite, they fight, they bite; fight fight fight, bite bite bite, they fall into the ocean! And only one monster comes up for air…

And there’s a moral at the end? Really? About how humans should better treat plants and animals? That was really out of the blue.

All in all, it was a silly movie. I’d like to think that since this is the first in a line of movies like this, they’re just testing the waters to see what was working and what wasn’t. I’m probably wrong.

I wouldn’t put this in my top 10(hey, I should make a top 10) but it does have it’s place as the most watched in the theatre, so I guess there’s that.


Next time: Mothera vs Godzilla! Woo, singing fairies!

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