Sunday Night Movie: King Kong

KONGSorry for being a day late on my Sunday Night Movie review but I’ve got a bit of a head cold and that has got be down and unproductive.

Anyway so Sunday night I watch King Kong (1933) this is a film that has been directly remade twice, first in 1976 and then again in 2005. In my opinion despite the advance in special effect technology neither of the re-makes touch the original film.

The story of King Kong is deceptively simple. A movie maker, known for making exciting nature films in order to capitalize on the public’s love of romance decides to make his next nature film with a lovely actress on a remote island when legends tell of a fantastic beast. The film is throughly a product of it’s time in respect to how the characters relate to each other, sexism is simply a product of their assigned roles in society, but the film transcends this and is a fantastic adventure.

King Kong truly was the Jurassic Park of its time. The methods used to creature the stunning effects were kept closely secret from the public with false information disseminated to ensure the secrecy. This film was made no long after sound became standard in movie making and there are many innovations at work in the film that forever changed movie making, The close beat-for-beat of the music with the action is something fairly new in King Kong. Watching the film on DVD I was amazed at how well most of the special effect stood up for a film made 76 years ago. The artistry is truly staggering. Willis O’Brien is the father of stop motion effects, a technique that has now been abandoned for digital effects, but made so many truly great films possible.

Peter Jackson remade the movie in 2005 and his was more faithful complete with a period setting to the original film than the disastrous remake from 1976, still there are many element to the 2005 Kong that I disliked. First he changed the nature of the character of Carl Denham, played wonderfully in the original by Robert Armstrong and in 2005 played quite well by Jack Black. In the 1933 film Denham is a film-maker/adventurer. A good man who is stand-up honest and faithful to his friends and people. In the 2005 version Denham has been transformed into a shyster, a con-man who is not to be trusted. There was no need for this change and I missed the original character. Secondly in Jackson’s Kong too much time is spend detailing the secondary characters of the film. Kong 2005 runs over three hours and is a decent movie, but a truly good two hours movie is hiding in it.
Frankly see the original. It’s a treat worth watching.