“Oh no, there goes go Tokyo—GODZILLA!”—The Blue Oyster Cult
Now, just a few, short years after the Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster, scientists have discovered the long-term effects radiation has inflicted on Ground Zero and the surrounding area. Genetic damage, population decline, and other bizarre changes to non-human organisms ranging from plants, butterflies, monkeys to birds in the area, are just some of the manmade atrocities born out of such a horrific ordeal.
Not to make light of the situation, but Hollywood has born its own atrocities as of late. With all of the recent Spielberg produced dinosaur summer blockbuster hoopla, it is safe to say for the past month, your senses have been overwhelmed with the mass marketing propaganda of toys, merchandise, franchise tie-ins (especially Dysentery Queen, though I do like their Heath Bar Blizzard) of this past weekend’s record shattering Jurassic World (2015). Been there done that, back in 1993 with Jurassic Park, time for something different. Today my little pale paleontologists, we shall venture to the land of the Rising Sun (land, not House of –you filthy Animals), for the cinematic showdown of King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962).
Ratings, ratings, ratings! What would bring more ratings to Mr. Tako, Ichirô Arishima of The Lost World of Sinbad (1963), head honcho of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, and the failing TV shows his company is sponsoring? A monster would help boost ratings of course! Tako, high on ambition to increase publicity, and savvy with the intel of Kong’s whereabouts, sends two subordinates to the mysterious & primitive Faro Island, to retrieve the King of the Jungle. Sakurai, Tadao Takashima of Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), and Kinsaburo, Yû Fujiki of The Hidden Fortress (1958), venture off on the dangerous voyage to transport the monster to the mainland at all costs. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, or giant beasts, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed task at hand. Meanwhile, taking a break from the monkey business, a US submarine snags an iceberg, awakening the terror of the tundra, Godzilla, from his mighty slumber, sending G into a fit of rage resulting in much HO scale destruction.
Before you know it, a giant octopus attacks Faro Island and King Kong trudges to the rescue before inadvertently being roofied with some red berry juice knocking him out like Courtney Love at a PTA meeting. Kong is cuffed, stuffed, and shipped back to the island of Mypos, I mean Japan, to start his new career as a corporate slave to the slimy suits of advertising. Of course, there are problems upon Kong’s ship arrival into port by local authorities. I’m sorry, but if cats need to be quarantined upon arrival into a new country, a giant monkey should have to too. Kudos for the attention to detail by the Port Authority.
Meanwhile, Godzilla arrives in Japan, locked, cocked, and ready to rock, before destroying every structure in his path. Kong wakes up, breaks free from the raft, and the two goliaths go a few rounds to see who the biggest cock on the walk truly is in this turf war of the century. Who wins? Well there is only one true winner, so don’t believe the years of rumors that the US and Japan releases differ in the outcome of the most colossal conflict the world and screen has ever seen.
King Kong vs. Godzilla was directed by Ishirô Honda of Godzilla (1954), with a screenplay by Shin’ichi Sekizawa of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), and tweaked for American release by Bruce Howard of The Dukes of Hazzard (1979), and Paul Mason of Welcome Back Mr. Kotter (1975). K vs. G is a fun, comedic, action packed romp that showcases the two legendary creatures of the silver screen in battles that are reminiscent of gimmick wrestling of the 1980’s. K vs. G was produced after special effects master, Willis O’Brien of the original King Kong (1933). O’ Brien struggled for over 25 years to land a company and appealing foe for his beloved Empire State building climbing creature. Toho was the lucky production company for this gem of a flick, and the rest was history.
K vs. G marks the first time both creatures were filmed in color, just one element leading the film to being a huge success and cult favorite on both sides of the ocean. Though the film is nothing more than a collection of men in rubber suits battling, Kong sporting goofy look on his face, and miniature models being destroyed (and you are aware they are models), K vs. G is worth a view.
Before cinema phoned in the special effects relying on CGI for every detail, crews used to work tirelessly towards their craft no matter how cheesy the end product may have turned out. Give me rubber suits and strings any day over CGI. Also, King Kong vs. Godzilla showcases Mie Hama of You Only Live Twice (1967), the uncredited talents of Les Tremayne of War of the Worlds (1953), and Gary Collins of The Kid from Left Field (1979).
So, if you want to live in a world that was always in fear as it tapped dance along the fine line of nuclear annihilation, greed of capitalism & commercialism RAN rampant, and large monsters smashed & thrashed along the countryside, then you will enjoy King Kong vs. Godzilla. Or, if you want to live in a world where grave mishaps of nuclear chaos have occurred—and will again, greed of capitalism & commercialism RUN rampant, and large CGI dinosaurs smash & thrash the box office at your local Cineplex…you are already here. Well, the box office certainly has spoken. What a Spielberg Studio Induced MESSozoic Era we live in. Only Mothra can save us…
- Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker, film/music historian, and can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rick.baldwin.568
- Twitter Rick Baldwin@rickbaldwin79 and email@example.com