King Kong vs. Godzilla

05/05/2017 16:40

Film: King Kong vs. Godzilla (Kingu Kongu tai Gojira)

Year: 1962

Director: Ishirô Honda

Writer: Shin’ichi Sekizawa, Bruce Howard and Paul Mason

Starring: Tadao Takashima, Kenji Sahara and Yû Fujiki



This film begins going back and forth between the United Nations and a representative from Japan. We learn that there have been some earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean that has caused a number of ice bergs to be break apart. There is an American submarine that crashes into one. As it tries to free itself, it breaks open. This is the iceberg that Godzilla has been inside and he is once again free. He makes his way to the mainland of Japan. Once he arrives, he attacks.

We then meet a television executive who wants to have his own monster to drive up ratings; he is played by Ichirô Arishima. He enlists the aid of two of his workers, played by Tadao Takashima and Kenji Sahara to find one for them. There is talk of an island where giant berries are growing. These berries are supposed to be good for the people to eat and have made a giant monster that guards them. Sahara is also dating Takashima’s sister; she is played by Mie Hama.

These two men go the island and meet with the natives there. They have a translator, played by Senkichi Ômura. He is scared as well as Takashima. They meet with the chief of these people; he is played by Yoshio Kosugi. He wants these foreigners gone, but after a gift of a radio and cigarettes, he allows them to stay. They begin a ritual and a storm comes. Sahara believes that their God is the weather, but the longer they watch, he is not so sure.

That night a giant octopus attacks the village, going for the berries. We then see that the guardian is real and it is a giant ape, King Kong. He fights off the giant octopus and then drinks a lot of berry juice, to the point where he passes out. Sahara and Takashima load him into a ship and take the giant ape with them.

We also learn from the UN that King Kong and Godzilla must have been natural enemies at the time that their kind ruled the Earth. The Japanese government tries to prevent Arishima from bringing King Kong into Japan. He then wakes up and they try to stop him, but he breaks free and makes his way to the island.

The two giant monsters then square off. Hama believes that her fiancé’s plane crashed and she goes to the city where the battle looks like will take place. It turns out that he missed his flight so he goes after her.

During the first fight, Godzilla takes the upper hand. The military gets involved to stop them, but to no avail. They come up with a plan to lure Godzilla into a pit where they will attempt to seal it in. Will this plan work? Will the two monsters square off in a final battle? Who will win? Will Japan be reduced to rubble or can they get them to leave?

I will lead off saying that growing up, I loved the Godzilla films and loved to see him square off against other monsters. I do have to say that I’m not a big fan of this one. This technically is not the first film that Godzilla fought another giant monster, but this is the first one that actually coming in we knew was going to. I think parts of the fight scenes between the two monsters were good. The best part of this is seeing these two legendary film monsters squaring off. I do also like that they kept the continuity for at least Godzilla from his previous film.

This one I have a lot of issues with though. The first one being that this film should have never happened. Godzilla is larger than the buildings in the city, King Kong is not. The size discrepancy was completely overlooked. This film was not considered a sequel to King Kong, so it makes sense why he is on this island when they go there, because this would have to be a new one if you followed the original film and its sequel. I do feel the battle scenes were a little bit repetitive and that was due to the technology and what was available. I felt this one did not do a good job of fleshing out a background story, which I personally like. I also didn’t like that this one was more comedic than the rest. The horror and terror of the previous Godzilla/King Kong films is what makes them great. This one seemed like they were turning more toward getting a younger generation interested. I also think that the explanation of these two monsters is off. Apes did not come along at the same time as dinosaurs, so there would be no natural hatred between King Kong and Godzilla. Plus King Kong has grown large, but he is no where near the age of Godzilla, who was trapped and released. Or the alternative is that he grew due to radiation. Neither would know the other existed until meeting on the battlefield.

I would still recommend this film if you like the Godzilla or King Kong films. This one is absurd, but it does have historical context. This bringing together two horror film legends to square off and being the first Godzilla film that states in the title he will battle someone else. Personally, I don’t care for this one since the size discrepancy was ignored, the battles aren’t bad, but they get a bit repetitive. If you are out to watch all the films in the series for either, I would say you need to check this one out still.


My Rating: 5 out of 10