Wednesday, February 29, 2012

King Kong vs Godzilla (1962)

Godzilla faces off against his greatest foe in KING KONG VS GODZILLA: Japanese consumerism! The Pacific Pharmaceutical company captures Kong to exploit the giant ape in a televised marketing campaign, while a nuclear submarine mistakenly unleashes Godzilla from his icy tomb. The world's two greatest monsters collide in an epic battle over Japan! Originally conceived as a new King Kong vehicle entitled KING KONG VS FRANKENSTEIN, Godzilla's third outing is one of the best in the series, but also the film that has suffered from the most ruthless and unnecessary re-editing in America. In its original context, it is a poignant and playful strike against the emerging post-war commercialism that consumed Japan in the early 1960's, filled with biting, cynical humor that likely would have escaped American audiences. Mr. Tako (Ichirô Arishima) and his crew provide plenty of hilarious comic relief as their new 'star' goes on a rampage through Tokyo, ending at the foot of the film's most impressive miniature: Atami Castle. Time and budgetary constraints would eliminate the possibility for stop-motion animation, and force special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya to shoot the monsters in frame using Toho's trademarked brand of suitimation instead (though a few shots can still be found that used the stop-motion process). The result is a rather shabby Kong costume with mangy fur and little facial articulation. On the other hand, the destruction caused by each of the giants is top-rate, as are their many battles, although we see the earliest beginnings of Godzilla's anthropomorphic future. KING KONG VS GODZILLA was the highest grossing film in the series, and also the first Godzilla picture to be shot both in color and in the widescreen TohoScope format. A favorite among fans, KING KONG VS GODZILLA has had an enduring legacy in Kaiju cinema.

Rating: 8/10.

28 comments:

  1. I'm gonna make it a priority to finally see this one, it looks like fun times. I've held back from watching it because it comes from that era in which Godzilla looked sillier and faker then ever, but hey, like you say, the films a classic. I need to give it a go!

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  2. Franco I highly recommend pursuing Godzilla Vs Mothra first, as I feel it is the highlight of the entire series in terms of costume, effects, and story. King Kong Vs Godzilla is another great one, and I love Terror of Mecha Godzilla!

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  3. One of the very first Godzilla movies, and also the first King Kong movie I've ever seen - that's right, I've seen this before I've seen any of the US King Kongs LOL

    A brilliantly entertaining alltime classic, one of the better Godzi-movies.

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  4. Agreed on all points MM, and I would actually really like to see a remake of this on an epic scale someday!

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