King Kong vs. Godzilla
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962/63) movie review
Released in Japan in 1962 and the US in 1963, King Kong vs. Godzilla (or Kingu Kongu tai Gojira) is actually the fifth film in the original Toho Godzilla film series starting with the original film in 1954. King vs. Godzilla begins with a pharmaceutical company who sends a team of researchers to a remote island to collect some berries, where they find and impulsively capture King Kong instead. Meanwhile Godzilla reemerges from the ice after his defeat in Godzilla Raids Again (or Gojira no gyakushû, 1955), and sets out for Tokyo, unknowing that another massive monster is heading that way…
Now in all fairness, I’ve only actually seen the US release of this film, which does have significantly lower ratings. However since I can’t find the Japanese release, I suppose this is what I have to go on. I’ve seen both the Japanese and US versions of the original, and the US release is garbage compares to the original. That said, if you took out all the white people- eh this film would still be terrible. Now the question becomes: Is King Kong vs. Godzilla so bad… it’s good? Let’s find out!
Yes. Yes it is. So let’s start with the plot, which is- ah it’s loose at best. You already read the summary. I mean it’s basically a really thin excuse to get the two monsters to fight. On top of that, there’s no real reason given for why they are fighting! But what’s even sillier is the very weak retelling of the King Kong story, which is some idiots going to collect berries. Then a giant octopus attacks, Kong saves the random woman and child, drinks some berry juice, and passes out. Then corporate comic relief guy says, ‘Hey let’s quickly build a GIANT RAFT and tow Kong to Japan by sea. Because reasons.’ Meanwhile Godzilla is headed for Toyko! Aaaand that’s it. Honestly the lack of Godzilla in this film is worth at least two points off.
None of the humans matter. So that’s cool. Hey at least this film knows it! Latter Godzilla films will spend like an hour on the humans for- no reason. (Cough cough King of the Monsters). The film just yada-yadas it’s way to a fight through some honestly questionable filmmaking, including terrible miniature work, few notable performances, and some pretty rocky pacing. So if this film is all about the fight, well let’s talk action!
This fight is- ridiculous. So absolutely hilarious that if you don’t watch this movie, you should at least look up the fight on YouTube. Look it’s like watching a slow motion WWE match from the 90s. But with giant monsters who have a very limited range of motion and- very little else. Kong seems to only be able to throw rocks and hug Godzilla, while Godzilla’s atomic breath is the ONLY useful tool in his overpowered arsenal. But let me tell you, as amazing as that doesn’t sound, this was probably the single lamest movie fight until Superman IV: The Quest for Peace stole that title in 1987.
But as genuinely bad as this movie is, the downright silly buildup to a downright silly showdown over a brisk 90 minutes is defiantly worth checking out! Ironically of course. And hey, maybe you’re feeling alot more fair than I am and you want to defend this film as simply old. That’s fine too! Whatever gets you through King Kong getting struck by lighting and becoming like super electric Kong just to make the Batman v- uh I mean Kong v Godzilla fight fair! But whether you watch it for fun or ironic fun, King Kong v. Godzilla is definitely so bad, it’s good. 3/10.
So the original Godzilla vs. Kong? Did you see it? What did you think? And where does this final fight rank for you among the worst movie fights of all time? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more, stay tuned for more coming from Kong and Godzilla this week…
-review by Ryan Prince