Monday, 26 October 2015

King Kong vs Godzilla: B Movie Review

King Kong vs Godzilla (Kingu Kongu tai Gojira)
Ishiro Honda 

Long before we had the abysmal Alien vs Predator, or the somewhat comical Freddy vs Jason, We had  King Kong vs Godzilla. Bringing together the gods of monsters for one, somewhat epic battle in traditional Toho movie fashion. If you wanted to see an epic fight between two of movie histories most famous creatures....this film is not it. You will however be treated to an amazingly comical hug fest between two men in big rubber suits.

This movie, for its time would have been something to marvel at. A battle between two of cinema's greatest monsters. Instead however we are treated to 90 minutes of badly dubbed American voices that spout off great lines like " The corns never lie" and referring to someone as a "dumbbell", Miniature tanks, that although are incredibly funny to watch upon first viewing are incredibly obvious later on, or to someone who is used to this kind of genre by now, and around 15 minutes of actual screen time for both King Kong and Godzilla, around 9 of which are of them together. 

In traditional Toho fashion, this movie did not have that high a budget as you can clearly see from its lapse special effects and its lack of noteworthy actors (or anyone who can act). Which makes it fit perfectly in with all the previous Godzilla movie's. The miniatures that have become a staple in the early monster movie's return. In possibly some of the funniest that I have personally witness in a while. The image of tiny RC tanks shooting poorly timed fireworks at a man in a suit, had me tearing up for longer then I would like to admit. It continues on with small model planes, super imposed into different shots and toy trains with cardboard cut outs of people inside. It goes on and on. The lack of special effects budget, or technology back in the early 60's gives this movie incredible amounts of charm but fails to save it entirely.

Not to say that this movie doesn't have some redeeming qualities. The Monster suits, although basic and rubbery, had an appeal that is incredibly difficult to place. Adding to the overall charm that there battles has. The way there arms flap around, thanks to the suits restriction in movement, and the goofy faces make the characters memorable. In order to combat some of the restrictions some scenes where switched to stop motion, like in the original King Kong movie, showing Godzilla kicking King Kong. A feat that would have been hard to pull off. The transition itself, although incredibly obvious now, wouldn't have seemed seamless to audiences of the time.

The sound design was also excellent. Reuniting me with the classic Godzilla roar that was lost for so many years ever since the abysmal failure of the 1998 American attempt, which killed the franchise for some time. Stock background music really made the fight scenes a more epic and grand feel then the original Japanese cut of the movie.

The final fight between our two monster's is something that stays with everyone after watching this movie. It plays like on big wrestling match. Outrageous events, weird combo moves and some incredibly funny scenes to relate back to the genre's cheesy history. Two scenes stand out massively, the first being King Kong being carried on giant balloons towards Godzilla then tumbling down a hill, plowing straight into the big green Lizard. Taking it with him. The other scene is one that everyone has probably seen in Gif form on the internet.

These scenes, along with the overall classical feel of the production makes this movie as fun as older Godzilla movies and many other B movies of the time. Its cheesy nature, being assisted by the American dub, puts this picture into the hall of greatest B movies of all time.

Why is this a B movie?
  • Cheesy dialogue: a staple for the B movie Genre
  • Low profile actors with some returning from older Godzilla movies
  • Part of Godzilla film History, renowned for classic B movie material
  • Incredibly obvious use of RC tanks and trains
  • Poorly made King Kong and Godzilla suits (very obvious its a costume)
Redeeming Qualities
  • Amazing Sound Effects
  • Finally get to see King Kong and Godzilla fight 
  • Monster costumes, while cheap, are incredibly appealing and memorable
  • The Squid creature was incredibly well animated for the time
  • Its a really enjoyable, fun movie. Not for how terrible it is, but for how it shows the amount of love people have for these two characters. 

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