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Review King Kong vs. Godzilla film review by The King of the Monsters

The King of the Monsters

Written By The King of the Monsters on 2014-08-18 12:19:15

King Kong vs. Godzilla

King Kong vs. Godzilla Movie

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4.0

King Kong vs. Godzilla. When I first learned of this movie's existence, I thought it was too good to be true. When I actually watched it, I was not disappointed. King Kong vs. Godzilla is just an incredibly fun movie to watch. While the marquee value of King Kong and Godzilla fighting alone is reason enough to watch this movie, the great story, epic music, humorous acting, and well-choreographed fight scenes make King Kong vs. Godzilla one of the most memorable entries in the long-running series.

*SPOILERS* An American submarine is dispatched to investigate an anomaly in icebergs floating off the coast of Japan. The submarine accidentally crashes into a large iceberg and sends out a distress signal. When a rescue helicopter arrives, its pilots are shocked to see Godzilla rise from the iceberg as he awakens from his seven-year slumber and returns to terrorize Japan. The self-defense forces mobilize against the monster, but are melted by Godzilla's atomic breath. Enraged by Godzilla's return, Mr. Tako, the head of a Japanee pharmaceutical company vows to bring his own monster to Japan to fight Godzilla. Tako sends a crew of his employees to the remote Farou Island, which is rumored to be inhabited by a giant god known as King Kong. When the team arrives on the island, they are attacked by a giant octopus. Suddenly, King Kong himself bursts through a giant wooden gate and attacks the octopus, successfully driving it away. Kong then drinks several jars of the soma berry juice the natives have prepared, which knocks the giant ape unconscious. The party quickly ties Kong to a raft and sets off for Japan. A patrol boat stops the company's ship, claiming that Kong is a menace to Japan and must be returned to the island. When Kong awakens, the crew shoots the dynamite on the raft, hoping to blow Kong up. When the raft explodes, Kong rises unharmed and enraged from the water and heads for Japan. There, he encounters Godzilla and throws rocks at him. Godzilla counters by blasting Kong with his atomic breath, prompting the ape to retreat. The defense forces become incredibly desperate to stop the two monsters on the loose from destroying Japan. Several operations are conducted to attempt to stop Godzilla, all of which fail. As a last resort, a giant electrical barrier is constructed around Tokyo with the hopes of repelling Godzilla. Amazingly, this plan works and Godzilla wanders off. Unfortunatley, when Kong arrives at the barrier, he draws strength from the electricity and enters the city. Kong captures a woman from a train and climbs to the top of the Diet Building. The defense forces hesitate to use weaponry on Kong, and instead decide to try a different approach. Rockets are loaded with the soma berry juice and fired into the air above Kong while the chant of the Farou Island natives is played on speakers loud enough for Kong to hear. The combination of the juice vapor and the song of the natives is enough to lull Kong to sleep, and he falls off of the building, allowing his hostage to be safely recovered. It is soon discovered that Godzilla has appeared on the slopes of Mt. Fuji. The defense forces come up witha  desperate plan: get Godzilla and King Kong to fight each other on Mt. Fuji and hope that they destroy each other. While Kong is unconscious, giant ballons are tied to his limbs and he is carried all the way to Mt. Fuji, then dropped onto Godzilla. The two monsters resume their battle, with Godzilla gaining an immediate advantage. After burning Kong alive with his atomic breath and burying him in rocks, it appears Godzilla will emerge victorious. However, an electrical storm conveniently appears overhead, striking Kong with lightning. The electricity revives Kong, and he pounces at Godzilla, electrocuting the reptilian beast with his charged punches. After a lengthy battle, Kong and Godzilla topple off of the mountain into the ocean, creating a massive earthquake. In the aftermath, Kong emerges victoriously from the ocean and begins swimming back to his home on Farou Island, while Godzilla's fate remains unknown. *END OF SPOILERS*

Where do I begin? The story of King Kong vs. Godzilla is endlessly imaginative and fun. The human characters are all very humorous, especially Tako, the grumbling erratic businessman. It is obvious that the film was not meant to be taken as seriously as Godzilla (1954) and Godzilla Raids Again. The humans spout ironic and humorous dialogue throughout the movie, and their body language and expressions are priceless in some scenes. The fight scenes between King Kong and Godzilla are also humorous, especially in the scenes where Kong grabs Godzilla by the tail and when he shoves a tree into Godzilla's mouth. Kong's appearance alone is comical, but I will get to that later.

The acting in this movie is great, though not as serious and emotional as that in the original Godzilla. Ichiro Arishima is hilariously over-the-top as Mr. Tako, especially when he throws a tantrum after watching Godzilla's rampage on television and when he reacts to learning that "his" Kong must be destroyed. Tadao Takashima plays the male lead in the film, and spends most of his time scolding his cowardly partner Kinsaburo Furue. His dialogue with Furue is priceless, especially in the scenes set on Farou Island. Yu Fujiki is also quite funny as Furue, as his cowardly reactions to Kong's presence make him one of the most likable characters in the movie. Prominent Toho actors Akihiko Hirata (Dr. Serizawa in the original Godzilla), Mie Hama (Kissy in the 007 film You Only Live Twice), and Jun Tazaki (countless authoritarian figures in later Showa era Godzilla films) all play small roles in the movie, and are given little to work with.

The effects in this movie are impressive, and an improvement over those in Godzilla Raids Again. The miniatures all look good, especially tha tanks present early on in the movie and the Diet Building model atop which Kong stands in one scene. The suits are not the strongest point of the movie though. The Godzilla suit is definitely an improvement over the previous suit, but the arms look awkward and the suit overall appears too large for actor Haruo Nakajima. Still, I like the reptilian features of the suit. It doesn't look as terrifying as the original suit, but it is more convincing than the one used in Raids Again. The King Kong suit is raggedy and goofy-looking. Thankfully, suit actor Shoichi Hirose does a realistic job of portraying Kong and moves and acts like an actual gorilla despite the fact that the suit does not look like one. The giant octopus looks great, as it was portrayed using live octopi in some scenes and a prop when it fights Kong. Overall, the effects are commendable in this film, and only a few of the later Showa era films were able to surpass them.

Akira Ifukube's musical score is on par with, if not better than, his score for the original Godzilla. His main theme, an epic orchestral piece coupled with the chanting of the Farou Island natives, is one of the best pieces in the entire series. Godzilla's theme in this film is still being worked on, but nonetheless sounds great. It would be perfected in the next film, Mothra vs. Godzilla. The "Transporting King Kong" theme is also one of the standout pieces in the soundtrack. Overall, Ifukube delivers one of his top-notch scores in King Kong vs. Godzilla.

King Kong vs. Godzilla is one of the most well-known Godzilla films, and for good reason. It features the two most famous monsters of all time in an epic showdown for supremacy. The final battle is a great payoff, the music, acting, and effects are well-done, and the two monsters are well portrayed, even if they may not appear totally realistic. The film may be dated by today's standards, and looked upon as cheesey and dumb by modern film fans, but for its time it was an amazing accomplishment. It was the Alien vs. Predator of its time. It did incredibly well at the box office in Japan and the United States, and was the most-attended Godzilla film of all time until the release of Godzilla (2014). King Kong vs. Godzilla still holds a sense of wonder for me, it pits the stars of two of my favorite film series against each other. Godzilla and King Kong fans still look back at this film as a masterpiece, and so do I. It may not reach the prestige of Godzilla (1954) or Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), but it is a great kaiju film in its own right, and so far the only film to pit its two titular monsters against each other, though the fact that Legendary now holds the rights to both Kong and Godzilla could change this in the future.

 

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