(1962) dir. Ishirô Honda
Our ongoing Godzilla film fest continues in our household. The latest, King Kong vs. Godzilla, was one of those ones that as a kid I thought it was going to be pretty much one of the coolest things ever. And when I finally saw it was largely disappointed. Further, as I have now read up on the film, I was long under the misunderstanding about the making of this film, always believing that in the Japanese version that Godzilla came out on top while in the U.S. version, King Kong conquered. It turns out, that despite quite a bit of lame footage added for the American release, that this is not the case and the King Kong wins in whatever version you might see. And while there was a re-release of the original Godzilla (1954) in its complete and original Japanese subtitled version (which I have not seen myself) which appreciated the film to a greater extent, no such thing has shown up for King Kong vs. Godzilla. We get all the U.S. news reporter intercut, explaining things that are happening. And some really bad submarine acting.
Actually, the fight sequences are not too bad. Kong is goofy-looking, but sort of appealing. I was always disappointed that he was the hero. My kids found it a bit hard to understand, what after watching Son of Godzilla (1967), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), and most recently Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster (1966), that Godzilla started out as a villain. In fact, my son asked me at one point during this film, “Why is Godzilla attacking Tokyo?” My reply was “That’s just what giant monsters do.” Moral ambiguity for a 6 year old.
It’s actually gotten me to research the order of the original series and to try to better organize our approach to watching them. I do believe that this is the last of the films in which Godzilla was clearly the bad guy. I always loved Godzilla as a kid. He was my favorite monster. And I loved monsters.
The kids enjoy it. Felix did a wonderful pair of drawings of Godzilla and King Kong yesterday. Even Clara made some amusing Godzilla joke, too. Who knew that guys in rubber suits could bring a family together like this?