King Kong vs. Godzilla Reviews
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! 3 1/2 stars 8-22-13
This movie was made in the early 60s so of course the special effects weren't as great as they are today and yes you can easily tell that the monsters are fake, but that doesn't take anything away from "King Kong vs. Godzilla" at all! I liked the movies "King Kong" and "Godzilla," but in my opinion, the classic movies where King Kong fights another huge creature are a lot more entertaining and more fun to watch.
If you like the classic duels that involve King Kong, I definitely recommend getting "King Kong vs. Godzilla." It's one of those movies that are fun to watch over and over again throughout the years that will never get old. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2001.
If anything can be said about this film that's not simply consistently good, but consistently great, it's the score. Granted, by consistently great, I don't mean that the score is constantly active, because it only comes in goes, yet when it does hit the scene - and always at the right places -, it's phenomenal, pumping the film with that feeling of scope and thrill. That certainly comes into play phenomenally during the action sequences, which aren't constantly excellent, as I'll get into later, but they have plenty of moments, and those moments often come at the moments where the special effects are relatively sharp. Moments like those are fun, if not just plain exciting, yet, even if this film didn't have those moments, it would still never be fully bad, because even with its missteps, it's careful to keep its head above water by keeping a consistent atmosphere of some degree of intrigue. However, while that intrigue does save the film, at the same time, it's why the film is so mediocre, for the film never transcends that straight aura. There's no rise or fall to the film; just a constant flow that's never really that impacting in the first place, resulting in what is, as I said, on paper, an ultimate, fan-dreamed, hardcore thrill ride of a booming action extravaganza, yet one executed so underwhelmingly and forgettably. Of course, the lack of oomph isn't the only thing keeping this film down.
I don't know if it's because of the messy storytelling or just the fact that this film it's just too blasted Japanese for me, but eitherway, the "story" aspects - such as they are - are a touch confusing and make matters worse by doing little to build resonance. Yeah, I know it's all about as giant ape fighting a giant lizard, so we shouldn't expect the original "Cloverfield", in terms of top-notch pathos in the midst of all the awesome monster action, but at least give us some investment in the characters, especially if you're going to make the "story" aspects so slow. Okay, it's not a terribly dull film, yet it is dry in atmosphere and slow in pacing when there's no monster-head-bustery going on, making it often disengaging, convoluted and generally unrewarding. However, when there is some monster-head-bustery going on, regardless of the bright spots, most of this action stands to be more intense and less repetitive, and I would say that I understand why the action is mostly underwhelming, seeing as how they're working with a disaster-action epic held down by the limitations of the '60s, yet this time, I can't even give them that benefit of the doubt, because the technical value isn't all that impressive by its own standards. Okay, again, there are a fair amount of pretty shiny bright spots, but on the whole, seams are clear as day, and not just in the visual effects, but the practical effects, such as the monster costumes that aren't abysmal, but lack soul and presence. There's very little consequence and intrigue to make up for the limited dazzle in all of these action sequences, leaving a film that should be defined for awesome action to not even deliver on consistently well-produced action, let alone unique action. Now, again, the film is hardly ever bad, yet it's just as rarely upstanding, being so run-of-the-mill as a creature feature of this type, yet still almost too boastful of its intentions as that big confrontation between two huge - so to speak - icons, leaving the film to write plenty of checks that it delivers on in such a half-baked fashion that it is ultimately rendered utterly forgettable.
At the end of the brawl, the film never slips into the state of being bad, partially thanks to some decent bright spots in action and special effects, as well as a constantly glowing score to keep your eyes and ears glued to the screen, yet on the whole, it's dry and slow outside of the heat of battle and somewhat underwhelmingly-produced when claws and paws go flying, ultimately leaving "King Kong vs. Godzilla" to stumble through the ring, watchable enough for it to keep from collapsing, yet still too mediocre to deliver on genuine thrills or anything worth remembering.
2/5 - Mediocre
The plot is simple - pit two of the biggest movie monsters against one-another as this Japanese production takes the title character from the 1933 film "King Kong" and puts him in the boxing ring with the title character of the 1954 film "Godzilla". Godzilla has broken free from his cold ice block and starts stomping on model houses on his way to Tokyo. In order to try to stop him as firepower doesn't seem to work, the Japanese government decides to fight fire with fire and bring their own monster into the mix by kidnapping King Kong from his tropical island home. The result is a monster fan's dream come true.
"King Kong vs. Godzilla" marked a turning point for both monsters as it was the first time either one were in color. It was also due time for a comeback for Kong as it had been nearly 30 years since the hairy fella had graced the big screen in all his stop motion glory. It should be noted that though this is an entry into the "Godzilla" franchise, it is not a direct sequel to the "King Kong" series. Due to this there are MANY differences in the character. First is the Kong design is done with traditional Japanese suits and not stop motion and the result leaves A LOT to be desired. Seriously Kong's face looks like it melted in that hot summer sun. Second is Kong is much taller and stronger than he was in the original film. Kong would have originally dwarfed to the size of Godzilla and he was easily killed with ordinary bullets. This wouldn't have left much of a fight for Godzilla as that bastard is nearly invincible so the filmmakers decided to bump Kong up to the same size to make it a fair fight. Third is Kong is given the ridiculous ability to grow stronger with electricity. Even as a kid I thought it was a ridiculous ability but it's a left over plot device from the original script idea with Godzilla facing off against a giant Frankenstein monster... seriously that is fucked up.
?The only version of the film I have seen is the American cut from Universal in which they added plenty new footage and stock music from such Universal library films as "The Wolf Man" and "Creature from the Black Lagoon". This newly shot footage for the American version doesn't jell great with the original Japanese footage and mostly consists of United Nation officials talking at the camera explaining what's happening to the audience. This new footage is rather annoying and gets in the way of the mayhem going on in the film. The Japanese plot of the film is to be what expected for a Godzilla film with throw-away characters and odd humor, this time with the tone of the film being geared towards children as opposed to Adults like the first two Godzilla films.
"King Kong vs. Godzilla" is exactly what you would expect it to be - a dumb yet fun romp of a monster film with guys in bad suits kicking each other's ass while destroying model tanks and cities. The kid in me couldn't help but have tons of fun with the film and everything from the bad dubbing to the unintentional laughter (Kong knocking himself out with a rock is my personal favorite) makes this a great monster movie experience. Though Godzilla would go on to make tons of more sequels Kong wouldn't appear alongside him again. Kong would appear in another Japanese production a few years later called "King Kong Escapes" but confusingly it is not a sequel to this film despite similar tone.