King Kong vs. Godzilla

1962 [JAPANESE]

Action / Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy / Horror / Sci-Fi

6
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 52% · 21 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 55% · 10K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.2/10 10 2006 2K

Director

Top cast

Mie Hama as Fumiko Sakurai
Gary Collins as Submariner
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
892.92 MB
1280*542
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 37 min
Seeds 5
1.79 GB
1920*812
Japanese 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 37 min
Seeds 21

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mind-boggled 6 / 10

Review of the Japanese cut

Considering the time, it's okay for what it is. The cast is too big, it would have benefited from focusing more on the two leads instead; and the romance subplot makes the film unnecessarily convoluted, and bogs down the pacing. It also takes too long to focuses on Godzilla and Kong, the split second shots of them get annoying. Probably one of the better Godzilla films, although none of them are actually good movies.

6/10 considering the era it was made in and that the film is intentionally light-hearted and comedic. Reasonable entertaining overall, but it does drag a little before it finally gets to the showdown right before the film warps up.

Reviewed by Jithindurden 6 / 10

Better than the modern Hollywood version

Like Mothra, here also, Toho produces a movie that criticizes nuclear war and consumerism at the same time but on a whole another level. Bringing the most famous monsters together, one from Hollywood and one from Japan, it was really a huge event even back then. The first half of the story in the monster part is similar to both monsters' first outing but the human element is a pharmaceutical company using monsters for advertisement. Initially, I thought the humor element there was simply like a comic relief moment but the movie manages to be hilarious throughout. The King Kong suit design itself is very whacky. Then when the final battle ensues, it's just two people in rubber suits wrestling and throwing props at each other. The whole battle is just stupid and hilarious. The initial Island rituals and music were actually engrossing but with the cigarette gift to the blackface kids it is consistently funny. Even though there's so much stupidity in this movie, a lot of it is clearly intentional and they know what the audience wants. Even all the posters are hilarious. Still, better than the modern Hollywood version.

Reviewed by MlleSedTortue 9 / 10

Original Japanese version is not only an entertaining and comedic monster romp but it's also got a satirical edge.

The original 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla is a bit of a different beast from its 1963 American re-edit. It has rarely been seen outside of Japan and the way to view it (legally) is through the bonus disc on the Criterion set. It goes without say that this original version is superior but I'd wager that it has more wit than at first glance.

The film deliberately sets out to satirize the corporate nature of Japanese TV industry and the ridiculous lengths they'd go to get good ratings. In this case, bring over an gigantic ape as a publicity stunt, which is accentuated by the character of Tako who goes out of his way to "sponsor" Kong. Even when the two monsters are brawling, Tako views it as an opportunity to make a profit as characters argue over who can beat who. They ask, "Who is stronger, King Kong or Godzilla", only to be refuted "This isn't a wrestling match!" Except it is. Indeed for anyone who has only seen the American version of the film, it will probably be a surprise just how self aware and humorous the original version is. It's a blend of monster movie and comedy, through which Honda and Sekizawa have crafted a story that is an entertaining takedown of both commercialism and it's own premise.

The only thing that dampers this aspect of the film is how the satire isn't fully carried throughout the entire film. There isn't any severe consequences the character's actions unlike those from the first Mothra, or Mothra vs. Godzilla. Further exploration into Tako's desire to exploit Kong would have also made the satire stronger. Still, the elements found in Sekizawa's script and Honda's direction gives the film a bit more depth and is a step up over it's Americanized version. The cast is also wonderfully comedic, with Ichiro Arishima as Tako giving a stand out comedic performance. His quirk and gestures are really entertaining and he is definitely one of the funniest characters in the franchise. Tadao Takashima and Yu Fujiki also work great off each other with their antics and even Kenji Sahara is given some funny moments.

With that said, the battle between King Kong and Godzilla is one hell of a fight, the choreography between the two being very entertaining and creative. Speaking of Godzilla, the scenes with him are especially well done, still keeping sense of menace to him with people having genuine fear, even if the film implies some are cashing in on the frenzy. Overall the effects are nicely done with the film having some good miniature work. One of my personal favorite shots is that of Godzilla approaching the high tension wires. There are so many small details such as the houses illuminated from within, cars moving on the bridge, and a helicopter following close behind. Still there are some downsides in the effects, such as a few puppets and compositing shots along with Kong himself. To put it simply, Kong isn't his usual handsome self this time around and has got quite and ugly mug. However, given his state of inebriation by drinking berry juice, Kong's unattractive look works in giving him a distinct personality as the scrappy underdog constantly being bullied by Godzilla.

But if there is one thing that makes this the superior version is the musical score from Akira Ifukube. From the opening cues to Godzilla's iconic theme, it really brings it all together. I'd place Ifukube's Kong theme alongside Max Steiner's score for the original. King Kong vs. Godzilla may not have the adventurous wonder of the original King Kong or the thematic potency of the original Godzilla, but it ultimately succeeds in being an all around entertaining film in its own right. It's just too much fun not to enjoy.

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