Giant Monster Mayhem: Kong & Godzilla’s Greatest Smackdowns!
by Ben Bussey
As of this weekend, King Kong Versus Godzilla is fifty years old. Is it fair to say that this movie really gave birth to the giant monster movie (or, if you prefer, Daikaiju Eiga) as we know it? Sure, Kong had first rampaged across the screen almost three decades earlier, and Godzilla had already brought his wrath to Japan twice (his second outing including fights with another giant monster, Anguirus), but it was Ishirō Honda’s 1962 film that first saw two equally iconic beasts do battle, in full colour and high camp excess, paving the way for the umpteen Godzilla flicks and innumerable imitations that would follow. Many might say it was the beginning of the end, as Godzilla would never be truly threatening again (though we have grounds to hope the upcoming Gareth Edwards redux will redress that balance). But the rest of us would have no complaints, because – after all – there are few things more fun to watch than big monsters fighting.
For a really thorough appreciation of the whole Godzilla franchise (and after all, being a Toho production, King Kong vs Godzilla is more a Godzilla movie than a King Kong movie) I highly recommend checking out Cinemassacre’s Godzillathon videos, and William Tsutsui’s book Godzilla On My Mind. But just for fun, here are but a paltry few of the best brawls the monster movies have to offer.
Kong vs T-Rex
Annoyingly I’ve been unable to find an embeddable version of the legendary punch-up with the T-Rex (which you can see in all its monochromatic glory here), so here’s a bit from the 2005 version. I realise Peter Jackson’s take on Kong is not especially well-loved, but I must admit I’ve got a soft spot for it. Despite being ridiculously pompous and overlong, the dino-bashing jungle action sequences are pretty rip-roaring. It’s a shame the film moves at a snail’s pace and wallows in its own self-importance before the boat reaches Skull Island and after it departs.
Godzilla vs ‘Zilla’
The original meets his US counterpart in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), in a scene that succinctly sums up the feelings of many.
Kong vs Giant Snake
The DeLaurentis remake of King Kong gets a pretty bad rep, mainly because – well – it’s a pretty bad movie. Funny how that works, eh? From a fan viewpoint, the absence of dinosaurs for Kong to do battle with is definitely a factor in that badness. But hey, at least he gets to butt heads with a big fuck-off serpent, building up to a surprisingly grisly climax that directly recalls the legendary T-Rex finishing move. Aside from that we’ve got Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges contending for who has the prettiest hair. (Oh, and major sideboob alert at 0.43…)
Godzilla vs the Army
It just isn’t a Godzilla flick until the humans have made at least one pitiful attempt at taking him down by means of the military, sending huge numbers of servicemen and women to their deaths in the process. Here’s one such case from Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla 2 (1993).
Godzilla vs King Ghidorah
Surely the most badass adversary the Big G ever faced was another Big G; the three-headed, golden-skinned, no-armed dragon from Planet X known variously as King Ghidorah, the Astro Monster and/or Monster Zero. Youtube being the minefield that it is (and me lacking the technical know-how to upload clips of my own), I couldn’t find a video of any one great confrontation between the two, but this is a nice fan-made tribute.
And, of course, the original rumble in the jungle (and later in Tokyo). Here’s the US theatrical trailer, and a pretty decent fan trailer.
The only question now is, when’s that damn Godzilla teaser from Comicon going to come online? This’ll have to suffice in the meantime.