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TOHO KONG TWO OF TWO: KING KONG ESCAPES & KONG CARTOON

King Kong battles Dr. Who's MetalliKong YEAR: 1967
KING KONG ESCAPES is an exciting title but not entirely befitting the story at hand...

TRex on the Cartoon
A live action progression of the Rankin & Bass cartoon, THE KING KONG SHOW, one of the first Japanese anime productions (that also included a miniature, inch-high secret service agent named TOM OF T.H.U.M.B). The KONG toon centered on a stalwart scientist, his moping teen daughter and a little boy who hangs with Kong like the mouse in the Grape Ape cartoon. When the cartoon was cancelled, ESCAPES, produced by Rankin and Bass, was possibly intended to continue under the Toho Films canvas: the geniuses that created and perpetuated Godzilla and a host of other classic monstrosities where Kong, despite being on Skull Island, or what's called Mondo Island, is a groundbreaking American representation in the creature-feature foray since, as everyone knows, he's based on a classic American film. When going up against Godzilla, he might as well be Uncle Sam.

THE KING KONG SHOW by Rankin and Bass
The cartoon had several villains, the most nefarious being Dr. Who... whom has nothing to do with, you know, that eternal English time-tripper. Since it's a Toho film, Dr. Who is Japanese along with everyone except for the character based on the cartoon's scientist, only this fella has no kids and is ten years younger: a stock Hollywood handsome b-actor...

It's said Rhodes Reason did the movie despite knowing it would turn out lousy. But ESCAPES is actually a pretty nifty ride, beginning in the North Pole where Dr. Who's creation... a gigantic metallic Kong... is being controlled to dig under the ground for pricey minerals. When Robo fails, the bad guys go after the real Kong on his territory...

The Tom Slick of Kongwinkle
This is much more clever than the Jessica Lange 1976 reboot and a hundred times better than the overly CGI'ed Peter Jackson venture...

KongEscapeScore: ****
Kong's battle with his own metal image is great stuff, not only sticking to a piece of land put moving all around Tokyo. Meanwhile, along with the square-jawed professor, who uses a legitimately cool looking hover craft... from his U-Boat to Mondo Island... there's a young Asian student in his early twenties and, you go it, a blonde that the big beast falls for... Although instead of being a Giant Ape Speed/Rage pill she's more of a muscle relaxer. But cute Linda Miller isn't alone. It's the bad girl vixen, Mie Hama, and her passive/aggressive connection with the evil doctor, that not only gives this sublime story a twist or two but smacks of a then-current franchise: BOND. KONG BOND.
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