This is not a good film. But I really like it.
This one, like my last review, is of the American blu Ray. So there's no telling (without doing a bunch of research) what the differences are between the Japanese version and this one. For all I know the original is loaded with pathos.
This version is not. It has wonderful stupid miniatures. wonderful monsters from giant robot apes to giant snakes and even the "gorgosaurus". It has a black cape twirling villain (literally, he looks like a bond film reject) and a fight over Tokyo tower. It's a lot of fun.
I should just say that I don't enjoy these films ironically or in the way you can enjoy a really bad film. I genuinely like these movies. I like suitmation. There is an innocence and an earnestness about these Japanese SFX films that is rarely equaled in the west. Star Wars is one of the few examples of this. And the Indiana Jones films, but they're a bit too polished.
I say this one is a bad film because it's script is weak. In terms of story especially. It's just not clear why what is happening is happening. KKvG had a much better script. The American version has these stupid expository interludes but somehow that was charming in a weird way. Aside from that KKvG is a pretty straightforward monster romp. But this one adds in some weird mining subplot that necessitates the creation of the robot KK and it's not that it's too corny it's just very unclear what is at stake. The cape twirling villain actually sells the stakes on his own in a Wonderful hamfisted way, but if he's not on screen you're head scratching because…it's simply not clear.
That being said the monsters really are great. On Kaijucast they talk about how awful the Kong suit is and I agree, it's pretty bad. But I thought the one in KKvG was pretty bad. The reptile suits and robot suits just look better in general. And the Robo Kong or mecha Kong or whatever is probably the highlight of this film. The actor playing him did an Andy Serkis level performance. Very convincing, especially considering how fake it all looks!
Kaijucast is pretty great, if you like this stuff you should check it out. But in hindsight I thought it was strange when discussing how bad the suit is that they didn't talk about the differences between the reptile and mammal suits. It seems like there is a marked difference in what you have to do to make a convincing mammal suit. I don't think I've seen one, at least not a kaiju one. Come to think of it I'm not sure why they didn't just dress up the guy like the Planet of the Apes films. Ape faces are very expressive and I think that's the biggest problem. Reptiles are expressionless so when Godzilla gets s closeup it's like "looks like a reptile, a fake one but still basically a reptile." When Kong gets a closeup…no dice. It's just a disaster. Maybe there's something about the bulkiness of the suit or whatever that means they cant have the head poking through the top, I don't know.
In any case I'm giving this a 6/10. I liked it a lot but the script is poor. It's fun and worth a watch.