If you really want to get an audiences attention, one of the best ways to do it is to have some star power in your movie. When it comes to monster movies, the star power isn’t in the actors, but the monsters themselves. For Toho Studios 30th anniversary, they decided to have two of the biggest monsters duke it out on screen. This epic clash was memorable for several reasons, not the least of which is that this was the first time that either monster had appeared in a colorized film. So let’s go ahead and watch the Eight Wonder of the World take on the King of the Monsters in today’s movie, King Kong Vs Godzilla.
The plot: The head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Tako, is upset with the low ratings that the television shows he sponsors are receiving. When a doctor returns from a trip to Faro Island and tells Mr. Tako about the legendary creature that is supposed to exist there, he sends two men, Sakurai and Kinsaburo, to Faro Island to find and capture the beast. At the same time, the American submarine Seahawk is exploring some strange events in the Arctic when it suddenly becomes trapped underneath an iceberg. As the Seahawk sends out a distress beacon, the ship’s geiger counters detect a massive surge of radiation before fire erupts inside the ship. As a rescue chopper arrives to where the Seahawk was, the iceberg begins to break up, releasing Godzilla who begins heading back towards Japan. Back on Faro Island, Sakurai and Kinsaburo were back from an unsuccessful hunt of the monster when the native village they were staying at was attacked by a giant octopus. As the two men, alongside the natives, try to fend off the creature, they are shocked by the sudden appearance of King Kong. King Kong easily drives off the Octopus and then falls asleep after drinking berry juice that the natives collected, which allows Sakurai and Kinsaburo to capture him. Kong is placed on a large raft and towed to Japan, but before they get there, the JSDF tells Mr. Tako that Kong is to be sent back to Faro Island. However, Kong breaks free from his bindings and heads towards Japan where he faces off with Godzilla but is forced to retreat when Godzilla burns him. The JSDF try different methods to keep Godzilla out of Tokyo, eventually using a barrier of power lines to keep him out of the city. The barricade has the opposite effect on King Kong as he actually gets stronger when exposed to electricity and he feeds on the power lines as he plows through them on his way into the city. The JSDF fire rockets filled with the Faro Island berry juice in order to subdue Kong and then use giant balloons to airlift him towards Mt. Fuji, where Godzilla was currently located. Once there, the two monsters renew their struggle, with Godzilla seemingly coming out the victor. However, an electrical storm revives King Kong and he continues fighting Godzilla until the both go plunging off a cliff. The fight continues underwater until Kong emerges and begins swimming back to Faro Island, while no trace of Godzilla is seen.
Now let me go ahead and dispel a long standing myth about this movie. When this movie first came out in the 60’s there was a myth that there were two different endings to this movie. In the English version, King Kong won while in the Japanese version, Godzilla won. This story was printed in the film magazine Famous Monsters Of Filmland a couple of times, which helped the myth spread. This myth was still going strong in the 80’s, when I first heard about it, and was so prevalent, that there was actually a card from Trivial Pursuit that asks “who wins in the Japanese version of King Kong vs Godzilla” and lists Godzilla as the answer. Well that answer is wrong because there is not a different ending, and since I have both the English version as well as the Japanese version, I should know. The ending you see in the American version is the same that you see in the Japanese version. Both monsters go off the cliff and eventually King Kong surfaces and swims away. Now you can interpret it however you want (Godzilla chased King Kong off or King Kong killed Godzilla) but that is simply a matter of your opinion.
King Kong Vs Godzilla is the most commercially successful movie in the entire Toho Godzilla series. In it’s initial theatrical release, it made over 350 million yen in Japan, making it the 4th highest grossing film in Japan that year. However, the U.S. critics did not think much of the movie as it would only earn a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For the most part, it was the seemingly low grade effects that the critics did not like.
Godzilla and King Kong in the same movie? What more could a kid ask for. This is a great movie to watch. The plot was actually pretty good and did give a little bit of reasoning for the monsters conflict instead of the usual “two monster meet and immediately start fighting.” The Godzilla suit was changed some to look more reptilian in appearance, and was one of my favorite suits used in the movies. In contrast, the King Kong suit looked pretty bad and is probably why a lot of critics did not like the movie. The fact that this was also the first Godzilla (and King Kong) movie to be filmed in color also made this movie memorable because you now knew what color Godzilla was (charcoal-grey as opposed to green like many people believed). The color filming actually helped some of the effects look better, such as the blue flames from Godzilla’s atomic fire. The fight between the two monsters was well done, although the few scenes where models were used did look a bit ridiculous.
Two of the biggest movie monsters of all time battling it out. Who wouldn’t want to watch this movie?
Rating: 4 out of 5