King Kong Escapes (1967 Japan)

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King Kong Escapes (1967 Japan)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:49 pm

Maybe I watched this in some re-release in an actual theater, in the early seventies, but I'm not sure. I will say, I could still remember some images, even after such a long gap in-between viewings: Gorosaurus leap-kicking Kong, the Mecha-Kong walking along a city street in that stilted manner, Who's demise (who? Yes, that other Dr. Who). But, I did not remember the great hectic pace of this one - it's a humdinger of a sci-fi fantasy.

There's always something going on in this one - something unexpected and even startling - and it wastes no time in deluging the viewer with wild imagery. This begins somewhere in the cold arctic and we're introduced to the mechanical Kong first (something I found to be unusual - the actual King Kong doesn't show up until later). Next thing we know, we're on a submarine as if it's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea again and then we're in some lush tropical jungle. The photography - the imagery - looks really good on the DVD version I watched, some of it a bit on the surreal side, but usually it's a kind of hyper-reality, similar to the James Bond films. I especially liked that small hovercraft they used when exploring Kong's island.

Some of the characters are borrowed from a weird Bond film: Dr. Who is an exaggerated Dr. No; Mie Hama, appearing in You Only Live Twice around the same time, plays a Madame X or Madame Piranha or Ms. Femme Fatale. And, Rhodes Reason reminded me of a younger version of Walter Pidgeon's admiral in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Of course, Akira Takarada had to be in this one; he'd been in practically all the Godzilla films up to this point. In some ways, this is the ultimate Kaiju film, though it has an American lead to just amp up the unusual nature of the whole thing.

Yes, the Kong suit is still not that great, but... a wild film, with some unforgettable images (towards the end, Kong trots out on the wharf towards a ship, as a miniature automobile races behind him). If you've never seen a Kaiju film and had no interest in doing so, you should at least give this one a try.  BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

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