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Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
'Twas Beauty
Bah, who wants to see the new KING KONG anyway? Do you realize that in the 187 minutes it takes for Peter Jackson to tell his giant-monkey story, you could watch both KING KONG VS. GODZILLA and KING KONG ESCAPES? Now which scenario do you think delivers the better value?

I'm writing about them for the next issue of The Hub, which will be the first of 2006, so I won't go into much detail now. 1962's KING KONG VS. GODZILLA was actually Kong's first big-screen appearance in nearly 30 years, since the original RKO KING KONG in 1933. He comes out of retirement when a pharmaceutical company travels to Pharaoh Island (re: Skull Island) to capture a mythical god rumored to be living there among the natives. Kong appears and fights a giant octopus before he succumbs to hallucinogenic Juicy Juice and wakes up on a raft bound for Tokyo. He gets pissed and escapes, but is eventually subdued again. His dignity takes a beating when the Japanese lift him into the air using wire and helium balloons and airlift him to Mt. Fuji to fight Godzilla. Trapped in an iceberg at the conclusion of GIGANTIS, THE FIRE MONSTER/GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, Big G is back and ready to dropkick a mudhole in Kong's ass.

In 1967, Toho brought Kong back in KING KONG ESCAPES, which was, believe it or not, inspired by a lame American TV cartoon series called KING KONG that was then airing on Saturday mornings. It's colorful and well-paced like a good kiddie show. Square-jawed sub commander Carl Nelson (Rhodes Reason, whose actor brother was incredibly named Rex Reason), a nurse and a Japanese cohort take a cool flying sub to Mondo Island, where they discover...who else...Kong, who fights a dinosaur and a big snake. Meanwhile, evil villain Dr. Who is in cahoots with the sexy Madame X (Mie Hama from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE), who may or may not be from Red China, but definitely wants the radioactive Element X to use for nuclear domination of the world. Dr. Who's giant robot King Kong (!) fails to mine the element, so Who decides, naturally, to kidnap the real monster and hypnotize (!) him into doing Who's bidding. The climax finds Kong and the robot Kong fighting atop the Tokyo Tower. The only thing cooler than a robot and a monkey is a robot monkey. When's the last time you saw one in a movie?

Posted by Marty at 10:26 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 3:26 PM CST

Name: dj_jbrown

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 3:35 PM CST

Name: Marty McKee

Mie Hama...HOT! She's also in KING KONG VS. GODZILLA.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 4:50 PM CST

Name: Ken Begg

Real fanatics can compare KKE with its dopey source material, the typically hilarious '60s King Kong cartoon you mentioned, which is also now available (along with Konga and other sweepings) on DVD.

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