aka Kingu Kongu Tai Gojira (Original Title)
91 min., 1962
Written by Shin’ichi Sekizawa
Directed by Ishirô Honda
My rating: ★
The Fight Of The Century…was really a let down.
* * *
A submarine crashes into an iceberg (the same one that Godzilla was trapped in at the end of the last movie) and lets Godzilla loose. After seeing this, the head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals decides that he wants to have a giant monster for publicity and tells Sakurai (Tadao Takashima) and Furue (Yu Fujiki) to go to an island by the name of Farou and capture King Kong, and to get some berries that are only grown on that island (but that’s only secondary). They get there and a giant octopus attacks the village where the berries are grown and gathered. Kong shows up and defeats the octopus, but is put to sleep by the berries and captured. A little later Godzilla is destroying things and they decide to use Kong to stop him. The fight has begun! Who will win? And are there really two different endings to the movie? To answer the last question…NO!!!
Tadao Takashima and Yu Fujiki both turn in pretty good performances, but at the same time the new English dialogue seems very silly. Again a lot of their expressions don’t fit what they are saying and it really takes you out of what’s going on. Yu is really good as the comic sidekick and Tadao plays a good straight man. But let’s not forget Mr. Michael Keith as American reporter Eric Carter. Every time this guy is on screen, no matter what he is saying, good or bad news, he is always about ready to start laughing. It seems he’s just not taking anything serious at all. Which again takes you out of the movie.
The effects are actually okay in this one. Godzilla looks good (when he’s not a doll attached to a Popsicle stick) and the suit makes the movements ten times less jerky looking. But Kong looks very silly. He seems to have a grin on his face the whole time and it just ends up looking silly during their fight. The costume is okay, but it seems that they ran out of fur to cover the body and his body ends up looking very patchy. A lot of the effects take place in front of a giant green screen and having people throw things at it or run away from whatever’s on there. Surprisingly, if you can get over how it’s aged, it does actually work on some levels, but on others it’s a complete fail.
So what about the fight? And who wins?
The fight is okay. There’s punching and kicking, Godzilla uses his breath and Kong throws a whole lot of rocks, but overall it just okay. Most of the time it does look pretty silly, but sometimes it can look really cool. But overall it hasn’t aged well and most of the time you are “forced” to remember that you are watching two guys in suits play fighting.
The movie is fun, but only if you are a fan. The effects have gotten better, but not by much and (I think it’s mainly because I watched the American version) the idea of why they end up fighting is pretty silly. It’s also interesting to note that there is a scene where Sakurai and Furue hand out cigarettes to the natives. The camera pans down and there’s a kid that wants one. They say it’s probably not a good idea, but they give it to him anyway. I’d just be curious to see how people today would react to a scene like that. So, unless you have absolutely nothing else better to do, don’t bother with this one. Fight of the century this isn’t!Have You Read...?