It's the ultimate, fan-dreamed, hardcore thrill ride of a booming action extravaganza... by 1962 standards. Actually, I don't even know if I can say that, because this seems pretty underwhelming on that level, but hey, it's not like that's a terrible disappointment now-a-days, because, more than the classic Kong and Zilla going head-to-head, we're chomping at the bit for a new, fresher duel between the King of Monsters and the King of Kongs. Actually, for me, I'm more along the lines excited for a duel between Pete Jackson and Roland Emmerich, and I don't mean directorially, I mean I want them to actually duke it out, and I mainly want that, because it's high time someone knocked him around a bit. I didn't identify which one I way referring to when I said "him", because I think they both need their battle scars, yet for different reasons: Roland Emmerich for being such an idiot and Pete Jackson for "Heavenly Creatures". Well, he did do "The Lord of the Rings" movies after that, so I suppose he's forever forgiven, but as we saw with his second "Post-Ring" film, "The Lovely Bones", anything either pertaining to Heaven or just having "Heaven" in the title probably isn't his strong suit. Hey, it least "The Lovely Bones" was better and more subtle than this little number I assure you that I'm about to talk about. Now, I know it's hard to figure out exactly how I feel about this film from that, seeing as I still kind of liked "Bones", but make no "Bones" about it; this film is messier than that and, well, plenty of films, which isn't to say that it still doesn't have some strengths to it.
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