“There is more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” You know you’re off to a good start when a film about two giant monsters brawling starts with a quote from Shakespeare. Now King Kong is my all time favorite movie monster with only the Frankenstein’s monster getting anywhere close on the empathy meter (he never took on a T-Rex so he loses major points for that), so when as a kid I came across a film pitting my favorite monster up against Godzilla I just had to check it out. Of course a question that may have popped into the head of the casual viewer is, “Just how do you choreograph a fight between a forty foot ape and a 160 foot atomic fire-breathing dinosaur?” Well in 1962 Toho studios came up with a simple solution to that one, make Kong bigger, and say good bye to the brilliant stop-motion animation of Willis O’Brien, as in this film Kong, like Godzilla, is depicted by a guy in a rubber suit. Now the best way to enjoy this film is to divorce yourself from the idea that it is in anyway connected to the 1933 King Kong, as no reference is made to when this takes place, and unless we are suppose to believe Kong survived the fall from the Empire State Building, then this film must take place in an elseworld, a world inhabited by the likes of Rodan and Mothra, and not the inhabitants of the original Skull Island. Taking it for what it is, another installment in the Kaiju series, it is really fun and vastly entertaining.
The film starts with the announcement that a berry called soma has been discovered on
Needing better publicity the pharmaceutical company decides that while there on the island stealing berries they might as well bag a monster to help with their public image. (What’s really scary is this is almost like what happens in the 1976 King Kong only its oil instead of medicine. Sad to think of Dino De Laurentiss ripping of Japanese monster films for his ideas.) Meanwhile an atomic submarine, while investigating a glowing a radioactive iceberg, idiotically plow right into the berg, and release Godzilla who had been trapped inside. Godzilla of course heads straight for
The army, which proved to be not all that effective in previous encounters with Godzilla, is mobilized. They are of course ineffective this time as well as Godzilla melts the tanks, and stomps all who stand in his way. I’d just like to see one Godzilla film were the head of the military just tells his superiors to go to hell, instead of constantly sending his men to their doom. *special note* no reference is made to any previous Godzilla film, and in fact it seems like the scientist interviewed (who think he is a cross between a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus) theorize that he’s been frozen in the ice for millions of years.
The expedition to
With Kong on the run Godzilla continues his destructive rampage, while the military works on plans to stop him. A massive pit is constructed and filled with dynamite, and poison gas. Driven into the pit by rivers ignited by gallons of gasoline, the king of the lizards falls into the pit, and the charges are set off. Anybody out there think that had any effect on Godzilla? Didn’t think so. A second line of defense consisting of high tension wires containing one million volts is set up as final blockade. Scientist states that while Godzilla may shy away from electricity Kong actually grows stronger high voltage (Don’t ask me how they figured that one out). The electrical blockade does prove effective in turning away Godzilla, but then quickly news comes that Kong has entered
Come morning the helicopters towing the floating Kong spot Godzilla, drop the giant ape just as he awakes, and then sit back to watch the fireworks. The following fight resembles more of a drunken brawl than the battle between titans. Kong seems reduced to throwing boulders and tugging on Godzilla’s tail, while Godzilla’s atomic breath only seems capable of singeing Kong’s fur. Then Kong brains himself while doing a silly summersault, and then Godzilla proceeds to bury the dazed ape under rocks. Just when things look really bad for a Kong an electrical storm arrives, he is hit by lightning and is re-energized. With “shocking” grasps, punches, and a few cool judo moves Kong starts to kick the crap out of Godzilla. The two behemoths rage across the countryside destroying everything in their path, until they both tumble off a cliff into the sea, and disappear beneath the waves. There is a brief cataclysmic earthquake, that serves no purpose that I could discern, and then Kong appears swimming back home…apparently the victor. Though just as the last credit shows we hear the trademark Godzilla roar.