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It's hard to find much to say that hasn't been said already about an 85 year old film. I thought King Kong was gripping and wildly more entertaining than a lot of more recent, higher budget films of today - the passion that went into the creation of this film shows very clearly, from the actors, the director, the animators, the entire crew. The special effects are of course dated by today's standards but you quickly learn to suspend your disbelief and I think it's fascinating what was done with a model and some rabbit fur. I would recommend King Kong to anybody. The actors are great, Fay Wray is beautiful and the film is scored superbly.
A epic in every sense of the word.
Whenever someone thinks of a giant movie monster, they usually go for characters like Godzilla, The Blob, or others of that nature. But we have to recognize the original giant movie monster: King Kong. Debuting in 1933's self-titled "King Kong", this great ape may not have been a big hit at first, but became popular enough to spawn its own franchise. The question still remains: how does the original hold up after 85 years since its release? Still damn well. There have been imitators, remakes, and even a crossover with Godzilla, but nothing can still match the original Kong. "King Kong" is a marvelous spectacle that anyone who loves monsters, needs to see.
The story involves filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), going on a mysterious voyage to a southeastern island that nobody knows but him. He recruits a young woman named Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), whom Carl casts as the leading lady. When they arrive at the mysterious island, Carl and the crew encounter a group of natives making a sacrifice to a monster. Late in the night, the natives capture Ann, offering her to become the sacrifice to the monster known as King Kong. Now, Carl and his crew must rescue Ann and hopefully bring back Kong to New York in order to gain some publicity.
What can be said about "King Kong" that hasn't been said already? Nearly everything about this film is perfect. Let's start with some of the more little things before getting into the major stuff.
For starters, the story is simply iconic. Sure, it's a story that we've heard before, but when it happens, it's really interesting. The tale of beauty and the beast is simple, and easy to understand for most audiences. The only problem with this angle is that the human romance between Ann and John Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) is kind of uninteresting. The stuff with Ann and Kong is unique, and really captures the look of the old silent days where no dialogue is needed and only expressions are required.
The direction from both Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack is really crazy when you think about it. One guy handled the story (Cooper), and the other helped out along the way (Schoedsack). The chemistry here is amazing.
The acting is pretty good, too. Wray made a name for herself with this role. And everyone else is good in their respective roles. Although, there are certain characters, most notably the natives, that are seen as somewhat racist. But consider the time period of when this movie came out; we didn't have a clear understanding of how cultures should be represented in media.
The music by Max Steiner is both chilling and haunting at the same time. It conveys a sense of opera and excitement coming from the orchestration. It truly is epic.
But of course, we can't talk about "King Kong" without the special effects. Sure they are somewhat dated, but that presents the beauty in them. Willis O'Brien, bless this man, for unveiling to the world one of cinema's greatest achievements. The stop motion is still amazing after so many years. The fights with the T-Rex and the climatic battle atop the Empire State Building are some of the most iconic moments in film history. From puppets, to animatronic devices, to early screen blending (taking the stop motion and putting it against the filmed background), to miniatures, "King Kong" is a visual treat that needs to be seen.
Finally, the black and white cinematography is gorgeous to look at. It sets the mood for that old time feeling of being thrown back in time to see movies as sort of this escapist feeling. And with "King Kong" it works well to the film's advantage.
"King Kong" is a cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately, while many people have heard of The Eighth Wonder of the World, they really haven't seen it. The last line of the movie says it best: It was beauty that killed the beast. "King Kong" is marvelous production that needs to be seen. If you love monsters or film in general, then this film is perfect for you.
Alright the stop-motion is Amazing for its time, but that's the only good thing about this film. the lead girl is as dumb as can be (A choice specifically for a women I presume) and all she does is scream. the lead male is boring and stereotypical. really just go back though the thirties Universal movies and you'll see all the lead are exactly the same minus a few. I didn't like this but if you did great.
Epic tragic classic that stands to this day
Despite this filmï¿ 1/2 1/2(TM)s age, it is a visual marvel that gives it its own look and feel.
Amazing in every way possible.
Undeniably an historically important and viscerally entertaining jungle adventure flick, the special effects that make KING KONG the beast of a blockbuster that it is still impress today, and once the movie gives the King the reins, and so gives up on the paltry human stories and stiff performances, the cinematic thrills never let up. Audiences at the time, of course, had never seen anything quite like Kong before, and no doubt the exoticness of the film---from its bleeding edge special effects to its depiction of unfamiliar creatures and peoples---is one reason the film so resonated with viewers, exciting and terrifying in equal measure. Yet despite the archetypal simplicity of the story and shallowness of its characters that make it such undemanding popcorn fair, Kong is in truth a rather complicated figure, an amalgamation of alterity and metonym for the foreign---no doubt one reason audiences then and now still are enthralled by the movie.
From something of a Lacanian perspective, Kong is a legion of Others. On the level of the Imaginary, a brutish monster uncannily (and so nightmarishly) similar to us. In terms of the Symbolic, a deeply racist allegory for wanton African savages invading modern society and threatening white matrimony. As a matter of the Real, an achievement of and synecdoche for modern technology, like a furry Frankenstein's monster. Even beyond Kong, otherness throughout is treated as a horrifying thing deserving of disciplinary violence, from the alien islanders to the film's abject misogyny, which simultaneously places (the wonderful) Fay Wray in peril, only to blame her for her own victimhood. Like BIRTH OF A NATION before it, I can't help but think that one reason for this movie's enormous success was its fundamental intolerance; yet unlike the former film, one reason for KONG's lasting impact is that the film, thanks to its special effects, learned how to hide its seams and themes, sublimating its bigotry so that audiences enjoy the rush without the guilt.
This movie is older than WWII, not for me.
It's King Kong, enough said!