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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: KING KONG ESCAPES (1967)

My son and I are trying to watch 70+ kaiju/tokusatsu films before the new Godzilla movie opens in May.  (Here's the list of films.)  We're about a third of the way in.

Today's movie is Toho's King Kong Escapes (1967).  I'll go first:
Even though it's a sequel to King Kong vs. Godzilla, the characters still seem to regard Kong as a fairy tale, despite his very public fight with Godzilla a few years before.  Continuity is a fickle thing. 
Bad guys want Kong because they're trying to mine Unobtanium.  I mean, Element X.  The radiation of it rendered their MechaniKong inactive ... 
Rhodes Reason stars as the dashing lead.  Star Trek fans will remember him as the gladiator Flavius from the episode "Bread and Circuses."  Akira Takarada is back, yet again.  Toho veteran and dude with a messed-up grill Eisei Amamoto stars as the villainous Dr. Hu.  Yes, Doctor Hu. 
Effects stuff.  The models look especially "toy boat, toy boat."  There is a funny moment, though, as the hovercraft leaves the island and Kong chucks a boulder at a passing sea serpent.  Just strange. 
Speaking of the monsters, Kong looks as rough as he did four years before.  MechaniKong, though, is very cool.  The trilling beep gets annoying after a while.  Plus, we're introduced to the Gorosaurus.  While he gets a good flying Kirk kick ... 
... (and Kong's quick recovery was equally laughable), Gorosaurus was really there to evoke memories of King Kong's fight with a large carnivore in the 1933 classic, complete with the dame being placed in a tree to watch and Kong's pummeling of the beast, complete with the spreading of its jaw. 
Back to MechaniKong.  The fight between it and Kong is good even though the ramp up to it seems to take forever.  (I swear, I can go without that woman screaming, "Kong!" for the rest of my days.) 
Interesting sidebar:  In the 1980s or '90s, Toho wanted to remake King Kong vs. Godzilla, as that was one of their most popular films ever.  Rights issues, though, prevented that.  Toho's solution was to have Godzilla fight MechaniKong instead.  Unfortunately, as the giant robot was based on King Kong's likeness to start with, the same rights issues prevented anything from happening.  (I think when this is done, I'll make a post on all the films that almost got made.) 
King Kong Escapes ... pretty good; shame it was Kong's last Toho gig, though.  3.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Here's my son, James:
well, this is a typical kaiju movie, and the worst part is, Dr.Hu is stuck with no T.A.R.D.I.S.!! AAHHHHHHH!!!!! Anyways, the evils made a Kong and tried to do something , but failed epically, they tried to con"troll" Kong to do things and failed epically, and they failed so much, the evils died. 
So, rating wise, I would say 3.5 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness!! 
The trailer:

Next, Gamera vs. Gyaos.

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