King Kong Reviews
There are also definite racial overtones to the movie. It's as if Kong is just a giant version of one of the 'black savages' on the island. He has a forbidden love for a white woman. Captured, he is taken back to America, where he'll make the white men rich, so long as he is in chains. Set loose, he rampages through New York violently. Clearly, he would have been better off left back in the jungle where he belongs.
However, forgiving the movie a bit, it's still quite compelling because of its action sequences. Cooper and Schoedsack tell a taut story with the right blend of build-up and action, and make the island far more interesting by having it full of dangers besides Kong himself. The pursuers are attacked by a stegosaurus (which they somewhat comically shoot the hell out of), and later a sauropod in the sea, which overturns their raft and chomps a couple of them (apparently the filmmakers were unaware of these dinosaurs being herbivores). Kong himself has to battle a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a giant snake (which fantastically wraps around his neck), and a pterodactyl trying to make off with Fay Wray. Who can forget him killing the T-Rex by bending its jaw and neck back until their broken? Or turning the log bridge around to shake men off, sending them plummeting to their death? Or reaching his paw down into the cave, trying to catch a guy who has made his way down there? (the guy, by the way, has to cut a rope to save himself from a lizard creeping up from below at the same time).
There is plenty of violence that must have been shocking in its day. Kong literally stomps on natives and crushes a few people in his mouth. He also drops a woman out of a skyscraper after determining she's not Fay Wray and discards her. As for some sex to go with that violence, Fay Wray provides it with a braless scene on the boat, her legs wriggling after Kong has partially undressed her, and a split-second wardrobe malfunction after she plummets into the water while escaping him. I'm not sure I buy the Empire State Building being a giant phallic symbol though.
This is a movie that stands the test of time, despite how dated the effects are. They have campy appeal, and are still somehow cool. We feel Kong's pain as he's chained, and empathize with him as the airplanes swoop in at the end. This is a beauty and the beast type film, but I don't think it was beauty that truly killed the beast, as the movie's last line states, I think it was all those guys with their guns and greed.
I can forgive the dated graphics, but I can't forgive the mediocre dialogue, the overuse of stock screams, the mediocre acting, or the ignorance of basic dinosaur knowledge (namely, the preferred diet of the Brontosaurus). Also, is Ann Darrow the most useless character to ever grace the screen? Does she do anything other than faint and scream? While it isn't completely unenjoyable, it has nothing special going for it either.