King Kong vs Godzilla review: “USA vs Japan”

Title: King Kong vs Godzilla

Director: Ishiro Honda

Writer: Shinichi Sekizawa

Cast: Takao Takashima; Kenji Sahara; Yu Fujiki; Ichiro Arishima; Fumiko Sakurai; Akihiko Hirata; Shoichi Hirose; Haruo Nakajima

Duration: 97 minutes

Country: Japan


Time to review the third entry in the Godzilla franchise. This time the movie is called King Kong vs Godzilla and pits the iconic Japanese monster against equally iconic American rival. The story of this movie is interesting. Apparently this movie was first going to be King Kong vs a giant version of Frankenstein but due to various reasons the project didn’t materialize and Willis O’Brien the man who had the idea for the movie took the script overseas where Toho became interested in it. However they had Shinichi Sekizawa rewrite the script written by George Worthing Yates as they were planning Godzilla’s comeback and thus King Kong vs Godzilla came to be.

Plot Summary: “A pharmaceutical company decides to capture King Kong in hopes of gaining a lot of publicity and at the around the same time the terrible Godzilla escapes from its icy prison. As if that wasn’t bad enough King Kong also breaks free from its captors and both monsters reach Japan. Soon both Monsters reach Japan and the Country of the Rising Sun becomes a battlefield for the fight to prove which one is the strongest monster King Kong or Godzilla”

So we know that Godzilla raids again wasn’t as good as the first installment of the Godzilla franchise. The question now is what about King Kong vs Godzilla? How good is this movie that pits two legendary movie monsters against each other?

My opinion: Well the movie is entertaining without a doubt and it’s clear to me that they learnt from some of the mistakes they made with “Godzilla raids again”, for one the final showdown between the monsters happens during the movie’s climax and not right in the middle of the movie. It still has a lot of flaws though and it’s far from a perfect movie.

Remember how I mentioned a lot of things happened for plot convenience in the second movie? This one also suffers from the same problem, even more so than the second movie. And look I don’t mind people writing things that are convenient for the plot if they do it well but in this movie those things stand out, they stand out a lot because sometimes they come out of nowhere.

For example Kong kidnaps the female main character and takes her to the Japanese National Diet building. It’s clearly a nod to the original King Kong Movie except in that movie it made sense and in this one it doesn’t make sense at all.

The characters in this movie are not as interesting as the characters in the first movie but they are better than the ones in the second movie. However they don’t experience much character development throughout the movie and they are not really three-dimensional characters in fact most of them are one note characters like it happens in the previous movie, people with just one “remarkable” thing about their character. Like it happens in the previous movie you don’t feel too much for them you care for them enough to want them to live but not enough to get sad if they die. The acting is fine, they just happen to work with a material that when it comes to human characters is not that good.

The effects used in this movie are really good for the time they were made as is often the case with the Godzilla movies and the fights between King Kong and Godzilla are really entertaining fight to watch.

However there was something about the fight or to be more precise about one of the powers the monsters used that bothered me. King Kong’s electric powers. It’s not the only change they make to King Kong but it’s the one that feels the more weird to me, it makes him not feel like the King Kong I knew perhaps. I mean I get why they would make him Larger, stronger and resistant to weapons and Godzilla’s atomic breath and I don’t mind because despite this changes he still feels like the King Kong we know but the electric powers part just makes him feel like a different ape-like Kaiju.

So that was my review of King Kong vs Godzilla (1962). I know I’ve complained about many things in this movie so I’m not gonna even ask myself if it’s a five Stars movie. It’s not. It’s not as spectacular or as good as it should have been. But despite that and all the issues I had with it I still had a good time watching it so I will give it Three stars out of Five (I’ve been doubting between giving it two or three but I think it’s more deserving of Three Stars). Would I recommend to you that you watch it? Like I said I did have a good time and these kinds of movies are almost always entertaining to watch so go ahead.

Now I leave you with the trailer for this movie uploaded to YouTube by trailersinfojet.