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~Ephesians 5:16

Monday, April 21, 2014

King Kong vs. Godzilla: A New Kind of Monster Fight

King Kong vs. Godzilla is one of the most influential kaiju films of all time. In some ways, it's the most influential. Sure, technically the original 1954 Gojira is, because without it, there would be no Godzilla sequels. (And if you want to go one step further, the original 1933 King Kong might be the most influential since it was the first cinematic giant monster movie, inspiring Godzilla to get made.) But 1962's King Kong vs. G is just as influential. For one thing, it gave Godzilla a personality. The previous two films had him just as the personification of the atomic bomb. Here we see his arrogant, loves-to-fight character. But the most influential aspect was the battle, namely the final battle between him and Kong. This introduced a new kind of fight style for kaiju films.
Yes, the previous film, Godzilla Raids Again had the first kaiju fight to grace the big screen. But it was basically just two animals going at it. To this day, no one quite remembers it as a series classic. The final battle in King Kong vs. Godzilla was the first kaiju movie to have two 'characters' duke it out. What I mean is that these weren't just overgrown animals fighting, they were thinking beings. Here's some examples: We have Kong, who literally grabs a tree and tries to shove it down Godzilla's throat. We have Godzilla, who literally jumps and double kicks Kong to the ground. We have Kong, who makes a strategy to hide from Godzilla and strikes at just the right moment. We have Godzilla, who claps his hands every time Kong gets knocked over. And then we have Kong, who back-flips Godzilla to the ground. Do you see what I'm talking about?
The fight as you can tell was fun. This is where Japanese kaiju battles get their inspiration from. This is what separates kaiju fights from American monster movies. Can you think of any American monster movie where it had a monster vs. monster fight as memorable as the one featured in King Kong vs. Godzilla? No, I didn't think so. Fast forward 45 years later, you can see in shows such as Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle  where the kaiju dance around, grapple, and laugh at each other. Where do you think this type of monster battling comes from? It all dates back to 1962. While the original Japanese version of the film isn't available outside of Japan, you can still experience the magic with the recent Blu-ray release of the American version. 52 years later, and that final battle is still one of the very best. 

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