Kong-athon: King Kong vs Godzilla (1962)



It's East vs. West in the movie, King Kong vs Godzilla. The idea for this movie actually came from Willis O'Brien when he was in talks of doing a sequel to King Kong. The idea he had was to have King Kong and the Frankenstein monster to fight each other and that the Frankenstein monster would be made from animal parts instead of human parts. John Beck stole O'Brien's idea and renamed it to King Kong vs Prometheus. Meanwhile, the Japanese film company, TOHO, had the copyright to the Frankenstein monster and were working on a script for Frankenstein vs The Human Vapor. This was TOHO's first attempt in making a Frankenstein film and it didn't fall through. So they tried again when John Beck sold them the screen play of King Kong vs Frankenstein. They went to work on making King Kong vs. Frankenstein, but TOHO wanted to change it to have Godzilla fight King Kong instead, which John Beck and RKO, the copyright holder of King Kong at the time, agreed to after working out a deal. This was the first time that both King Kong and Godzilla were going to be in color and is their third movie in their respective franchises. It is now considered the highest attended Godzilla film in Japan selling 12,550,000 tickets including re-releases. 


The movie is basically what you think it is. It is about two monsters beating the crap out of each other. The movie made the two out to be like they were bitter rivals ever since prehistoric times and had a score to settle. The movie was made intended to be more comedic in a goofy kind of way. I only saw the American version and never seen the original version. The differences between the two versions are the ending and the added scenes of televised news broadcast for the American version. There was a rumor that TOHO made two separate endings. One showing Kong swimming away being the American version and the other ending being Godzilla the one that swims away, which is for the Japanese version. This was debunked later on finding out the only real difference is that in the Japanese version, Godzilla's roar is heard after seeing Kong swim away. TOHO really intended for King Kong to be the victor because apparently at the time Godzilla was not as big of a name as King Kong was and wanted a monster that everybody would want to cheer for. 


The story is only okay because there were parts that made me laugh here and there, but it is just goofy humor. When the movie was made, the movie was intended to not be connected with the previous two Kong films and be more of a sequel to Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and Godzilla Raids Again, but more child friendly. Even the suits for King Kong, which I thought looked like a cheap gorilla costume that you see in those fake bigfoot videos, and Godzilla was made to look less intimidating for children.


Special effects are iffy. There were times where it looked alright and times where it makes me think that the scene is filmed in front of another screen. Like they filmed one part of the scene, put it on a film reel, and then filmed it again this time by adding people running away or objects being thrown. Special effects specialist, Eiji Tsuburaya, considered the idea of using stop motion, but because of the budget he went with the tokusatsu method (Japanese special effects that use suitmation and scaled down city sets) instead. There were even a couple scenes that used stop motion, the scene where Kong fights the giant octopus and the scene where Godzilla does a drop kick on King Kong. You can even tell that both of those scenes looked experimental and in my opinion looked unfinished and not as smooth in motion as O'Brien's King Kong.


The voice dubbing for the movie is only okay. There were parts where it seemed like there were two separate voices dubbed for the same scene spliced over each other. For instance, one of the soldiers was giving a report as to where Godzilla was heading and it sounded okay at first until all of a sudden his voice goes high pitched right in the middle of talking like someone else was dubbing the voice.


This movie is definitely one that kids will really enjoy watching. I know that I enjoyed watching it when I was little. As I got older, it became less fun to watch and is in real need of a proper remake. Luckily, we will eventually get to see it happen in 2020, supposedly. 


Join me next week when I review the sequel, King Kong Escapes.

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