Thursday, September 5, 2013

MR:Quickies King Kong series

Long before there was a Godzilla, there was the "Eighth Wonder of the World"!

Haaa... King Kong!

A timeless classic!

The original tale of the giant gorilla was filmed in 1933 by filmmaker Merian C. Cooper.

Originally a Warner production but since then a late Universal Studios propriety, it prevented Kong from entering Universal's pantheon of horror creatures. But that never stopped him from transcending mediums and gaining an iconic status on its own.

It helped popularize the "giant monsters" genre, which the Japanese would revitalize and dub "Daikaiju".

Since the original, King Kong has been through Japanese Kaiju films and face the equally popular Godzilla, go through a 1976 reboot, a 2005 remake and several sequels to each film.

More of a misunderstood antihero more than a real villain, the big lines of the main story stay mostly the same over all these incarnations.

People in search of glory and money venture to "Skull Island" off the Pacific Ocean. There they met several oversized creatures and various sorts of dinosaurs. They defy the local native tribe and capture their "God" taking him back to New York City. Kong escapes and climbs the biggest building he can find to protect the sacrificed woman. In the end, it causes his own downfall.

For you see, "It was beauty that killed the beast".

Movie title: King Kong 
Directed by Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack
Release date 1933
Genre horror/monster movie

The story begins in New York where we met filmmaker Carl Denham.

Denham's best known for his animal pictures in exotic locations, but this time he is aimed for a lot bigger.

Having a problem to get some actors due to the dangerous nature of his new expedition, he finds unemployed actress Ann Darrow, a young beautiful woman. He convinces her to join the adventure of a lifetime.

They embark to Indonesia, at least that's what they thought.

On the way there, we met a sailor, Jack Driscoll who slowly falls in love with Ann Darrow.

Denham tells the crew about their real objective. He found a map of an uncharted island.

Once they arrive on Skull Island, they find their a native village protected by a giant wall. They try to trade six women in exchange for Ann Darrow.

They come to the ship and capture her at night. For the sole purpose of offering her as a human sacrifice to their local "God", a giant gorilla!

The crew face several Dinosaurs to get to Ann, including a Stegosaurus, a Brontosaurus, and finally a Tyrannosaurus Rex! King Kong arrives on the scene and fight the saurian. He breaks the T-Rex' jaw and escapes in the jungle.

Later, Jack finds Ann and Kong in a cave. Kong fights a Pteranodon.

Finally they are able to gas the giant and get him asleep. They're gonna be rich, they decide to bring King Kong back to Broadway!

Long story short, Kong escapes and goes on a rampage through Time Squares.

Kong climbs the Empire State Building... only to be finally shot down. And dies from the fall.

Overall: This is an absolutely timeless classic, a master piece!

Well paced (specially compared to today's 2+ hours-long "epic" movies).

This original black & white King Kong film pioneered a lot of new special effects as well as fantastic stop motion animation progress. The stop-motion was done by Willis O'Brien.

King Kong was also an amazing improvement on the musical score front. Offering a stunning captivating music by Max Steiner.

The film was also an early attempt at a meta-commentary on the popular adventure films at the time. Usually these were quite formulaic and always followed explorers/scientists. Fantasy films such as the 1918 Tarzan or The Lost World from 1925 where a big part of the inspiration behind King Kong - which uses a film crew as protagonists searching for bigger and more realistic sensations.

It's also a very strong anti-colonialist commentary, showing the destructive force of science/modernism, attempting to capture, control and exhibit nature's last secrets.

As for Kong himself, Cooper originally wanted a more realistic ape/gorilla while O'Brien was in favor of a more human creature-being. So they made a compromise in the look of this monster, not quite human nor a beast.

They also built a giant right arm of steel and rubber that helped show the scale of the monster and put him alongside the actors.

There also was a controversial colored cut of King Kong in the late 1980s. (it's available in the DVD collection featured two reviews below)

But I'd say avoid that version at all cost, it's a cheap edit since it was made for television. It is often found under the title of "King Kong: It Was Beauty Killed the Beast", which is the name of the classic 25 minute documentary it is often found along.

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

Movie title: The Son of Kong 
Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack
Release date 1933
Genre adventure/monster movie

The story picks up right where the original left.

We find once again filmaker Carl Denham, now broke and under several lawsuits due to the destruction cause by Kong in the original.

Denham finds back Captain Englehorn, owner of the ship Venture. They are both having money problems and try to find some ideas.

They sail to the port of Dakang where both men assist to a little simpler performance show. A couple of cute little monkeys performing music to a song by a woman, Hilda. Her father's the proud owner of this little troupe.

Later they met the Norwegian Captain Nils Helstrom. Helstrom lost his ship recently.

That same evening Helstrom ends up killing Hilda's dad by "accident". To escape from the authorities he convinces both men to go back to Kong's Island, since he was the one who originally owned the map. He lies to them about a supposedly treasure on that island.

On board the ship they find Hilda who decided to ran off. Helstrom instigate a mutinery but they throw both captains over board.

Now joined by the cook Charlie, they find the natives again, now moved to a new part on the island.

Our protagonists end up meeting a new albino Little Kong. Much gentler and apparently a lot more intelligent too, this new gorilla they dub "Kong's son" accompanies them and protects them from all the dinosaurs.

Finally they actually find a treasure.

Helstrom gets eaten, a sudden Earthquake sinks the entire island (why!?!) and the Little Kong dies helping our heroes...

Overall: The Son of Kong was released the same year, only 9 months after the original!

Which means it was really rushed into production and was very short for a grand total of 69 minutes thanks to that.

It's not necessary a "bad movie" nor particularly brilliant either. Just perfectly dispensable.

As for the special effects, they really suffered from that, even though Willis O'Brien returned to them accompanied by Buzz Gibson this time.

Thing is, they all knew this wouldn't surpass the original so they barely even tried. Not as serious, original nor spectacular. Hey, "If you can't make it bigger, make it funnier."

Several models of the new Kong they dubbed "Kiko" were made. Most work went into "its" face. But all the little impressive movements of the eyes and mouth only contributed to silly expressions. While the new stop-motion work was much more detailed, it ends up being plain much sillier.

There's some great animation on some parts but it also ended up looking so much cheaper than the original.

The film gathered a lot of negative reviews at the time, there's still various mixed reception to this day, and it's all because it feels like such a rushed product.  

I truly this new expedition/return to Skull Island needed a cleared objective. Once there, after some adventures and lacking a true goal they simply sank the entire island. Why? Just to find an ending to the film!

One might say it's so bad it's good in a way... (but I really hate its improvised ending)

I give this one a: 0.5 / 3 Score!

Movie title: King Kong vs. Godzilla 
Directed by Ishirô Honda
Release date 1962
Genre Kaiju/monster movie

The two mightiest monsters of all time face each other in the biggest crossover to ever hit the silver screen!

In a camouflaged reimagining/mashup of both the original King Kong & Godzilla, we are introduced to Mr Tako from the Pacific Pharmaceuticals. They haven't had much success with their sponsors on TV, so to boost their ratings Tako decides to follow a map he got a hold of.

A giant monster is supposed to live off the small Faro Island. He sends their two of his most trusted men, Sakurai and Kinsaburo.

Meanwhile in a role reversal since Japanese are after King Kong, an American submarine awakens the King of All Monsters, Godzilla by accident!

Godzilla had been trapped in an iceberg at the end of his 1955 second feature film Godzilla Raids Again.

The big G breaks free and nothing can stop him, no tanks nor the entire Japanese army.

A giant octopus attacks the local native village on Faro, when suddenly a giant gorilla Sakurai and Kinsaburo dub King Kong arrives from the jungle and saves the day.

King Kong drinks their entire reserve of alcoholic beverage made of red berry juice. Kong falls asleep and they use that chance to capture him. They trap Kong and transport him back to Japan. Now they can use Kong against Godzilla and get a fantastic publicity for their brand out of that.

But the authorities stop them, they don't want another creature disaster on the loose. But Godzilla arrives in Japan. They might need one monster to put a stop to another...

Both Kaijus meet for the first time in the outskirts of Tokyo. Godzilla gets the upper hand thanks to his Atomic breath, and Kong runs away.

They up the electricity voltages a lot more intense than what was used in the original first Godzilla film to stop the monster. While Kong doesn't take much damage from that much power.

Using more berry juice they knock Kong out and take him to Mount Fuji for a final showdown.

King Kong gets kicked in the face several times. An electrical storm begins and gives Kong the advantage including a "power boost". Now with an all-new electric grasp power, King Kong gets the upper hand this time and is able to win against Godzilla.

Godzilla is nowhere to be found (he used to "die" a lot at the end of his films back then). King Kong walks away in the Ocean...

Overall: King Kong vs. Godzilla... leaves a lot to be desired. It's a fun silly campy film that needs to be watched at least once. And at least it established both Godzilla for good and Kaiju crossover films en general.

But it's also a very uneven experience.

It all began when original King Kong animator Willis O'Brien started planning a second stop-motion sequel. Simply titled King Kong vs. Frankenstein. It would have seen the giant gorilla take on a gigantic Frankenstein's monster in San Francisco. But the cost of all the stop motion involved was too much for the time.

Toho Studios wanted to make a King Kong film for a really long while. So when the occasion presented itself, both parties worked together to make that dream come true.

But they decided to opt out of the Frankenstein monster (despite gaining rights to it at the same time), and simply put their own original monster instead.

This film saw both franchises' debut in full color and on widescreen. Kong was played by a rubber costume for the first time, much bigger and larger now, up to scale to face Godzilla.

The film was directed by Godzilla creator himself, Ishirô Honda! A big fan of the original King Kong.

Honda originally wanted to use stop motion as in the original but the budget cost was too big for Toho, specially for a movie featuring two brand new monsters, even Godzilla was slightly redesigned. So he could only able to afford those for brief scenes at the beginning.

But they weren't satisfied with the King Kong suit. The arms ended way too long, the the puppet used for closeups was as silly as the Son of Kong one.

The budget proved to the this film's principal issue. This affected some weak composition shots, there was a lot too many shots needed a lot more budget, all blown away on new miniatures and suits.

They used a lot of occidental actors for a change, thinking about the international releases already. But ended up using "blackface"-painted Japanese actors that really detracts from the film...

Another problem lies that when the rights with Universal where discussed, it also allowed them to add their own material for the theatrical US version. But those quickly put together-added scenes are so obviously cheap and badly produced & written they also detract a lot from the movie. Mostly news reel segments in-between various scenes. And it's so difficult to find nowadays because the US release as since become the standard release of the film for international markets and when Toho lost the rights of Kong they didn't care about preserving this film.

King Kong vs. Godzilla proved quite successful and opened the way to many more monster crossovers.

This was only the third Godzilla installment and the success of this crossover warranted pursuing the on-going Godzilla franchise. Godzilla would face several more other monsters as well original creations in continuing Kaiju fights.

It still is one of the most successful Godzilla films to date.

When Toho acquired the rights of King Kong it only lasted for another more film.

The magical eerie musical score composed by noneother than Akira Ifukube does contribute a lot of the great atmosphere of this film though. The King Kong drums theme is quite catchy even if the ridiculous dance that accompanies it in the film is ridiculous.

In the 1990s Toho tried to make another King Kong vs. Godzilla film for a special anniversary but couldn't afford the rights back.

There's also an entire myth of an entire alternate ending in which Godzilla wins "hidden" in Japan but it has proven to be false, there is only one ending and Toho always meant to have Godzilla lose the fight at the end and for Kong to wanders off the screen, victorious.

I give this one a: 1.5 / 3 Score!

Movie title: King Kong Escapes also King Kong's Counterattack in Japan 
Directed by Ishirô Honda
Release date 1967
Genre Science-fiction/Kaiju

King Kong Escapes sees a submarine from the United Nations off uncharted islands in the Ocean finding a mysterious place named Mondo Island.

Commander Carl Nelson, executive officer Lieutenant Commander Jiro Nomura and   Lieutenant Susan Watson take an hovercraft(!!) to explore the area.

They wander off until finding an old man telling them off the place, it is apparently "Kong's territory". Susan is left behind when King Kong finds her. He protects her from a Tyronnsaurus-sort of dinosaur. The dino kicks Kong in the face several time before Kong breaks his jaw in classic King Kong fashion.

When they return on the ship, a giant prehistoric snake follows them. King Kong attacks back and protects them.

Back to the UN they announce their discovery. A certain Madame Piranha was spying on them and brings some information back to our main villain, Dr. Who (changed to Hu for film to avoid any problem with the British BBC character*). With the help of some info brought back and some plans they build a robotic King Kong dubbed Mechani-Kong (also named Robot Kong sometimes).

They want to use Mechani-Kong to help them gather a radioactive element "Element X" beneath the surface of the North Pole (despite there being actual land only in the South Pole, but I digress..). After digging some ice in the caves, Mechani-Kong finally shuts down near the Element X...

The United Nation crew return to Mondo Island to study the kaijus on the island.

Dr. Hu's crew knocks down Kong with some gas and transport the asleep giant to their North Pole headquarters.

Since the robot failed, they hope to reach Element X where Mechani-Kong failed with the real Kong mind controlled.

They also later capture our heroes to use Susan relationship with King Kong. Madame Piranha change camps and help our heroes. Everybody escapes along Kong's break from the trance. King Kong escapes from the ice lair into the Ocean.

They arrive back in Japan. A second Mechani-Kong is activated and battles Kong in Tokyo.

While trying to protect Susan, this leads King Kong and his mechanical doppelganger to the Tokyo Tower for a final confrontation...

Overall: This was a pretty awesome film!

All said and done, this was a much proper King Kong film for Ishirô Honda. The film he couldn't afford the first time.

The film was actually based on an episode of The King Kong Show cartoon series, in which Dr. Who/Dr. Hu was a popular recurring villain.

This time Kong was rescaled to his original size rather than the Godzila-sized proportions of the crossover.

With a more adequate schedule production and budget, they could also aford alongside both American and Japanese actors. No need for the awful inserts from the previous film.

Sadly, it also was the second and last Japanese King Kong film.

While the "Tyrannosaurus" Toho called Gorosaurus was used again, living on Monster Island in the 1968 film Destroy All Monsters, through stock footage from this film, he would be used again many years later briefly making him an official Toho monster.

As for King Kong, they would lose the rights to Kong his licence expiring shortly after. They originally wanted to make a third film but were only able to use the suit again, slightly altered and on a smaller scale on the TV series Go! Greenman.

Since there were plans for a King Kong vs. Godzilla remake in the 1990s, they thought about used the robot Kong instead but they couldn't get permission for his likeness either.

One thing, at least the idea first explored in this film would be the inspiration for Mechagodzilla a few years later!

In the end this is a much better film than the Versus Godzilla one, entertaining and sometimes quite campy but all in good fun. Plus it's pretty original actually, Mechani-Kong has such a great design!

I like how both Kaijus end up fighting as personifications for organic/nature vs  industrialism/technology.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Movie title: King Kong (1976)
Directed by John Guillermin
Release date 1976
Genre thriller/monster movie

This time the story was updated to take place in the 1970s.

Fred Wilson is an executive for Petrox Oil Company. Wilson mounts an expedition to explore an small island after getting some infrareds of a possible oil deposit in the Indian Ocean.

Until now nobody was able to get any more information, the location behind hidden beneath a thick set of clouds.

Jack Prescott (Jeff Bridges!) a  paleontologist wants to seek the island for himself. He thinks the smoke his provoked by a living beast.

He gets aboard the ship but is finally discovered when he ends up taking part in a speech with the rest of the crew. They think he's a spy for a rival oil company.

Prescott spots a raft with an unconscious beauty on board. Her name is Dwan, originally Dawn she "changed it to make it more unique". She an aspiring actress lost on sea, the yacht she was aboard was shipwrecked.

Prescott is made "official photgrapher".

They reach the island, find a native tribe living in a village behind a gigantic wall. They are in the middle of a strange ritual for their God protector Kong.

Fred Wilson spots the oil, has it tested. But it turns out it's unusable.

Some villagers kidnap Dwan at night, drug her and offer her in a sacrifice to a giant gorilla!

King Kong goes soft for Dwan, what with all her rambling monologues. She tames the beast.

The crew turn the rescue mission into a trap for Kong. An airdrop brings them some chloroform.

Kong battles a giant snake. Jeff Bridges The Dude Prescott saves Dwan.

They bring King Kong back to America to promote Petrox.

Once in New York City, they put Kong on display with a giant crown.

Kong breaks free and runs amok in Manhattan.

King Kong finally find Dwan and climb on the World Trade Center where the National Guard is forced to shot him down, falling to the broken concrete, dead.

Overall: King Kong (1976) is a pretty interesting update of the classic film.

Not quite a simple remake, more of a reimagining,reboot for the series.

It was made by film producer Dino De Laurentiis and director John Guillermin with actors Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange in the role of slightly altered characters roughly based on the original film.

Even though this episode in the franchise got mixed reviews nowadays, it received a fantastic impressive success at the time, going as far as winning an Oscar for special effects.

This one's definitively anchored in the spirit of the 70s so that makes it interesting no matter what, made by people with an horror films background.

Guillermin originally required a much bigger budget, but De Laurentiis couldn't afford it for this reboot.

They lost a lot of money building a gigantic mechanical Kong of about 40 feet (12 meters!!), easily one of the biggest animatronics ever built! But it turned out it couldn't be used due to its limitation on the ground and was only set for one scene (the exhibition/reveal back in New York). Universal ended up recycling it on their Amusement Park's ride in Orlando.

But this also meant quickly building a new gorilla suit - worn by Rick Baker - and cutting on the entire dinosaur population on Kong's Island! At least a snake could still be made pretty easily and practically... The lack of dinosaurs is often seen as a downside of this film, but in my eyes it helps make it different from the rest.

There's a lot of shot-for-shot recreations taken directly from the 1933 classic.

The film proved successful enough granting it a sequel which despite some planning took about 10 years to finally be made into production!

King Kong 1976 also counts on a brilliant creepy score by John Barry. Very memorable pieces and a great atmosphere.

It's a very different interpretation but as memorable. I like the eco-friendly message and critique of the industry in general, it suits King Kong. And hippie-Jeff Bridges is awesome!

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Movie title: King Kong Lives or also King Kong II
Directed by John Guillermin
Release date 1986
Genre monster movie

If you thought Kong was dead... Think again!

King Kong lives is a direct follow-up to the previous film. Hence the title (both of them actually).

After being shot down the WTC, Kong was actually still alive and therefore kept in a coma for the following 10 years (just to have the setting match the release date, I'd personally would have made it take place in '76..).

Now, surgeon Dr. Amy Franklin is having a dilemma. Due to the fall, Kong has a coronary and needs a full operation. They can give him an heart transplant thanks to an artificial heart they can monitor.

But King Kong also needs a blood transfusion surgery.

Enters adventurer Hank Mitchell. Hank Mitchell is able to capture a second giant female gorilla under the first 5 minutes of the film! They tranquilize this female Kong they dub Lady Kong and get her asleep and off this island off Borneo (was that where the first film took place?? no wonder each film gives Kong a different island!)

King Kong meets Lady Kong. They both escape.

A new challenger appears, a crazy insane army colonel! He sends his men and the entire platoon after two giant gorillas nobody seems able to track more than 5 minutes.

That is, if you're not Hank Mitchell. Amy Franklin is able to monitor Kong and both humans get in the mood after watching two Kongs getting down and dirty.

The army captures Lady Kong.

A bunch of hillbillies hunting down and hurt King Kong. King Kong stomps them.

In the end King Kong is shot down while newborn's birth takes place before his eyes. The End. (oh, and let's not forget to mention his offspring's human sized, fully covered in clean dry fur and would have been one made Son Of Kong no doubt!)

Overall: King Kong Lives is a sequel produced by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group.

The same cast did not return but the crew from the 1976 King Kong film did. It stars Linda Hamilton this time!

This one actually was a big box office failure, and for good reason.

In my eyes this one starts off just fine, despite the weirdness of the whole thing. King Kong is having a surgical operation requires a certain suspension of disbelief.

Kong gets a new artificial heart, okay sure. But then they find a second Kong, a female one and capture her all this in the first 5 minutes of film. Fine, okay. Then after a quick rampage, both apes escape. Alright. But when the romantic tune starts playing, with lots of zooms on both Kongs' eyes.. Holy Moley, I wasn't reading for that! You're in for quite a ride! I should have taken that "Honeymoon Ridge" sign of things to come!

There's some great live action puppetry, don't let any critics fool you. The new Lady Kong has some impressive improved facial expressions.

The film is often cited as being one of the worst movies ever made.  I personally think that's a bit exaggerated. Sure it's a boring film that goes downwhile halfway through. But is it that bad?

It's stupid, that's what it is.

The gorillas act way too anthropomorphic for my taste. The nice campy dialogues and funny silly characters like the army general make the experience a bit more enjoyable.

And it started original enough and more promising than that. I really think King Kong II could have been much better had they taken the original Kong out of the picture and just have a pregnant Lady Kong by herself instead.

Also the entire film just seems really lacking any kind of focus/objective. Even the characters all seem perfectly aware there's no plot or plan ahead.

The army traps Lady Kong and keep her captured... because..? They have no idea what to do with her or if they're gonna kill her down or keep feeding her in a tank. Wouldn't it be far easier to just send her off to some kind of zoo/institute (several months pass by that point)? Our heroes track Kong to help him and then what? They want to leave him alone in some American forest? Bring him back to his native habitat? No idea? What's going on in this plot?!

That's what I thought.

I give this one a: 1 / 3 Score!

Movie title: King Kong (2005) aka Peter Jackson's King Kong
Directed by Peter Jackson
Release date 2005
Genre adventure/monster movie

Set in 1932-33, the movie begins in New York City at the height of the Great Depression.

Ann Darrow just lost her job as a vaudeville actress.

She gets hired by the very ambitious filmmaker Carl Denham for his new feature.

Ann accepts after learning her favorite playwright Jack Driscoll his writing the screenplay.

They all embark the SS Venture. Captain Englehorn starts having second thoughts when the crew is getting nervous about the myth surrounding this Skull Island. Talks about gigantic creatures and modern-day dinosaurs that somehow got deadlier through evolution.

Denham wanted to hurry because of some arrest warrants on his head. They try to get him back to authorities but get lost in a mysterious fog.

They hit some rocks and find themselves on the island. Ann is captured by the native tribe and given as a sacrifice to a giant gorilla beast living inside the island and on the other side of their giant walls.

The adventure on the primitive island begins as our crew venture outside the wall!

They face several Raptors, Bronotsaures and a descendant of Tyrannosaures!

King Kong gets extremely protective of Ann progressively.

Using the chloroform aboard the ship used to capture animals usually they knock down the giant gorilla.

They take King Kong back to New York and present him as the "Eight Wonder of the World" on Broadway!

King Kong escapes once more! He grabs Ann and escapes into Central Park before climbing the Empire State Building!

Planes attack King Kong and while attempting to protec Ann, Kong falls down to his usual classic tragic end...

Overall: This 2005 King Kong by Universal Pictures is a more straightforward remake of the original, set in the original film's 1933 contemporary setting.

It was directed by Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson. Peter Jackson had gone on record multiple times saying the original King Kong was is all time favorite movie since his childhood. In fact he tried remaking it as a kid on his parents' Super 8 mm film back in the day.

He thought about remaking it for real several times in his career, he even used Skull Island as the origin of a zombie plague in his own 1992 film Braindead.

Visually the film is stunning. There's some really impressive work with Kong, thanks to the help of the Weta Workshop. They did some revolutionary work CGi-wise on King Kong himself. Although the dinosaurs seemed a bit "distant", like they were projected on a screen behind the actors. Kinda reminds me of the original old black & white films, but I wonder if that was really on purpose or involuntary.

This new iteration of King Kong proved to be a huge international success.

The film stars are not on rest, with some great performances by Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, an unexpectedly good and captivating Jack Black as Carl Denham and Adrien Brody basically "playing" Adrien Brody as always in the role of Jack Driscoll.

Some great impressive motion capture with actor and Peter Jackson's favorite Andy Serkis who also played the role of the SS Venture chef "Lumpy".

There are several references made to past versions of King Kong through the entire picture, including a lot of direct influences taken from the 1976 King Kong despite a lot of criticism made on the film on the part of Peter Jackson prior to this new film. Lots of cues and specific scenes taken right from the 1970s previous reboot.

With a screentime just over the 3-hour mark, it's a long film that feels like it could have been a cut here and there. There's some specially long shots and useless little effects (very cheesy "low-budget" slow-mo effects).

There's also a load of giant insects. They even got more screentime than the dinosaurs.

I couldn't also not mention the superb score composed by James Newton Howard. It really gives a great atmosphere to the entire picture, and he even managed to get in there the original theme from the 1933 film.

In the end the film went on winning several Academy Awards for special effects, in pure King Kong tradition like the past films (sequels aside).

Peter Jackson himself even got his (usual) cameo along King Kong '76 suit actor Rick Baker and director Frank Darabont as well!

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

And that is it for all true official King Kong legacy films!

To this day it still is a well respected and fan favorite monster film series.

It has long become part of our pop culture, King Kong appearing in several cartoon series, comics, videogames, stage plays and even more! Most King Kong-inspired cartoon series follow up on the 1933 film, but they're all pretty bad to be honest.

There's been several parodies and inspired rip-offs capitalizing on its success.

Chief amongst those is Mighty Joe Young (a 1949 film and its 1998 Disney remake). Or also the 1976 Korean made or A*P*E which was actually originally going to be set as an actual King Kong film until they weren't able to get the rights. The Mighty Kong was an unofficial 1998 animated musical. In 1961 the British made Konga, about a chimpanzee that was turned into a giant gorilla via a serum. There's also another 1976 British film, Queen Kong which is more of a direct parody with gender reversal - but John Guillermin had the film banned since it infringed its copyrights and would detract from his 70s remake... that is until it was finally re-released on home video recently.

There's always been a King Kong per decade, more or less, since it's creation. And while part of me still wish we could get a sequel to Peter Jackson (by Peter Jackson himslef?) by 2015-2016, I suppose we will be getting another proper reboot instead. For a new generation, sooner or later (specially with a revived interest in giant monsters recently).

What to take from all that? Well, King Kong sure sleeps a lot in these films.

King Kong won his place in pop culture fair and square, and we have to thank Kong for stuff like Godzilla to Super Mario (think Donkey Kong).

The King is dead. Long live the King!


That's all for this time's Quickies!

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