King Kong Escapes


‘…good to look at if patchy in effects by today’s standards, although some of the models are delightful…’

With the current monsterverse toplined by Godzilla and King Kong now heading to streaming after seemingly running out of steam before it ever really got started, it’s fun to look back to a more low-fi time. The success of Toho’s Godzilla franchise led to exhuming the rights to the 1933 King Kong, and then reworking it as an element of their ongoing building-destroying franchise so that there’s a fair knock-em, sock-em fight between the legends at the end for everyone to enjoy.

So we still have an expedition to a remote island, called Mondo here, and we still have King, a giant ape who falls in love with a comely Susan (Linda Jo Miller). But there’s a new and absurd framework for the action; Kong is working for the mysterious Dr Who (Hideyo Amamato) who, alongside the spendidly named Madame Piranha (You Only Live Twice’s Mie Hama) is hoping to use Kong to replace his Mechani-Kong, a metal replica of the ape. Can Kong escape Dr Who and find true happiness?

King Kong Escapes is much like many of Ishiro Honda’s films, generally good to look at if patchy in effects by today’s standards, although some of the models are genuinely delightful. Mechani-Kong steals the show here, walking like a wrestler, with big boggly illuminated eyes and a sly metal smile that suggest an invention of Wallace and Gromit in the vein of Crow T Robot; he’s a wonderfully silly creation that causes mirth every singly second he’s on screen.

With Kong himself looking somewhat threadbare, Mechani-Kong is considerably more amusing here than anything in the Godzilla or Pacific Rim series so far. It seems odd that the fur and eggbox creatures built for these old movies have more character and personality than today’s CGI creations; not everything is improved by technology, and in fact, many things just get worse…


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  1. what kind of college is this anyway, virtually giving away classics? Bit short on romance these monster pictures. Did they actually have a birth certificate? It wasn’t adopted? Or they just took the nearest similar creature?

    • I don’t remember a Mrs Godzilla, but sometimes it’s best not to ask any questions.

      Yup, the college were presumably expecting a rush of students for their King King Escapes phd, but the funding was presumably cut. My Action Jackson postgrad took the surplus.

    • You can borrow the dvd I hit for a quid from the college library sale. Son of Godzilla good as well if you like this kind of thing…

  2. You didn’t like Pacific Rim? Really?
    I thoroughly enjoyed it for the monster bash it was. It definitely should have stayed a single film though. I never made it to the sequel as I couldn’t even finish the book that was supposed to bridge the movies :-/

  3. Aw, it’s kinda sweet really. The Kong of Steel!! 🤣🤣. The tiny model helicopters!! 🤣🤣 Lobbing a rock on to the dinosaur’s head 🤣🤣. Well this made my day!

  4. Not surprised that anything has more character and personality than CGI. Peter Jackson’s Kong had a bit of soul, but CGI generally drains everything of human feeling.

    • I totally agree about Jackson’s Kong, it did have soul, but most of these things are so generic…

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