Svengoolie presents … King Kong versus Godzilla (1963)
This movie was a huge box office success in its day and gave rise to even more men in monster suits on film. That fact is perpetrated as the biggest conspiracy ever conceived. It has to be. Who would pay for this?
This movie is not good, but the worst thing about it is its effects. Even the far-fetched plot and idiotic dialogue are dwarfed in stupidness by the monster suit designs.
An example of the utter ridiculousness inherent in this film is in the opening, which features a discussion of some mysterious berries discovered on an even more mysterious island. Yes, they talk about berries for a few minutes in an office before a generic old man tells his employees to go to a remote island to get some pictures of a terrible monster who lives there. And grab some berries.
A submarine then investigates an Arctic reading of radiation and is attacked. Godzilla then leaps out of the iceburg and high-fives a helicopter, accidentally destroying it. He then hitch-hikes back to Japan. Meanwhile, Japan calls out the army at Arctic and miniatures roll, but Godzilla destroys them. Short of the monster itself, the effects are pretty good. There is fire that looks hot. There are explosions that go off with a bang. Yay. It is fairly simple.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Navy discovers that it is King Kong that makes his home on the mysterious island talked about earlier. The natives are forced to serve him popcorn in his secret movie lair. They keep the location a secret until the Navy impresses the natives with a radio that plays Roy Orbison. The Chief is astonished at the music box, thinking it magic. He then helps them recruit King Kong.
The natives and the Navy men hike across the jungle to the secret lair of King Kong. Some of the Navy shake in their boots for laughs at the rumbling sound of King Kong. Unfortunately for them, it is NOT King Kong, but a slimy Octopus creature oozing its way across the landscape. God that thing was gross. I really did think that, no joke. Thankfully, King Kong arrives in the nick of time and drives it off. It chugs some berry juice made from the island’s mysterious berries and passes out for some reason.
The Navy then air-lifts King Kong back to Japan to use him as a secret weapon against Godzilla. Thankfully, they arrive just in time, as Godzilla is getting off a bus to Tokyo. The Navy plop down King Kong and he wakes up, attacking Godzilla for looking at him wrong. They fight. Punch punch punch. Rock throwing. Kick. Throw. It is silly.
Godzilla summons the spirit of Hulk Hogan and dropkicks King Kong. Seriously. He jumps and double-leg dropkicks King Kong in the chest like a Mexican wrestler. Godzilla whips his foe with his tail until King Kong slumps over. The Navy then electrocute Kong, reviving him to do more punching. King Kong uppercuts Godzilla and swings him around with his tail, tossing him into the ocean. King Kong then locks on a sleeper hold and Godzilla sinks to the bottom of the ocean. King Kong swims back home, breaking an Olympic record for endurance swimming.
All in all, this movie has good miniatures, but I can’t just get past how bad the creature effects are. Back in the day, this was a huge money-maker, selling over 11 million tickets, according to Wikipedia. The English dubbing, the dialogue, and the some of the stupid plot points, like the island berries, make this movie embarrassing. I’ll always remember this film for a scene of King Kong passing out like a hobo after drinking some berry juice. Mostly, this movie is good for a laugh or to watch with your kids. The end.