KING KONG VS. GODZILLA
(Kingukongu Tai Gojira)
King Kong Vs. Godzilla is absurdly entertaining in the surrealistically cartoonish way that only Japanese monster movies can be. It is a long way down from the original King Kong the lowbrow buffoonery with the explorers trading radios and cigarettes to the natives and pratfalling with iguanas is a world of difference from the primal power of the scenes meeting the natives and venturing into the jungle in King Kong. It is also a long way down even from the ferocity of the original Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954) at most this film operates on a crude level of metaphor where Godzilla is seen as representing mindless brute strength and Kong intelligence. If you want to try delving into the murky level of subtext these films operate on, the metaphor has almost completely reversed since the howl of pain represented by the 1954 Godzilla. Inoshiro Honda made Godzilla so that nobody would ever forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki; in King Kong Vs. Godzilla, Japan seems to rely on the intelligence of the foreign monster to save them where it is as though Inoshiro Honda has bowed and surrendered to the post-War US military occupation of Japan and acknowledged its superiority in dealing with crises.
The special effects are not particularly good. King Kong is represented by an extremely shabby man in a monkey suit. The scenes with an optically added octopus attacking a village are convincing as the film has used a real octopus although in the scenes where Kong takes on the octopus it then becomes represented by what looks like a plastic bag. The film takes a long time to build to the climactic showdown but this proves entertaining with the two title characters wrestling, rolling over cliffs, Godzilla battering Kong with his tail and Kong trying to shove trees down Godzillas throat.
Toho later revived Kong for a slightly better entry King Kong Escapes (1967).
The other Godzilla films are: Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954), Gigantis the Fire Monster/Godzilla Raids Again/The Return of Godzilla (1955), Godzilla vs the Thing/Mothra vs Godzilla (1964), Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Monster Zero/Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965), Godzilla vs the Sea Monster/Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966), Son of Godzilla (1968), Destroy All Monsters (1968), Godzillas Revenge (1969), Godzilla vs the Smog Monster/Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971), Godzilla vs Gigan/Godzilla on Monster Island (1972), Godzilla vs Megalon (1973), Godzilla vs the Cosmic Monster/Godzilla vs the Bionic Monster/Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974), Terror of Mechagodzilla/Monsters from an Unknown Planet (1976), Godzilla 1985 (1984), Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991), Godzilla vs Mothra (1992), Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1993), Godzilla vs Space Godzilla (1994), Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995), Godzilla 2000 (1999), Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002), Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003), Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) and Godzilla: Resurgence (2016). Both Roland Emmerichs Godzilla (1998) and Gareth Edwards Godzilla (2014) are big-budget, English-language remakes.