It’s time to look at one of the oldest films that I have ever seen. This came out in 1933 so even I had not been born yet. This was also before Godzilla’s debut yet so we didn’t know what a true Kaiju was like at the time. A giant Ape is still pretty creative I suppose…and he makes for an intriguing beast. The film definitely suffers from too much animal violence, but it made for a starting point to the monster era.
A film producer is looking for a heroine to star in his new action film. He’s going on a very dangerous quest to the filming location and he won’t even tell the crew where they are headed. Naturally, most people want nothing to do with him, but he eventually finds a lady who was attempting to rob a merchant. She agrees to go with him and they set off for Skull Island. An all power being is located there by the name of Kong…King Kong! The crew will have to subdue him if they’re going to get this movie underway so the fight of their lives begins!
It’s an old film so the writing is expected to be pretty strong, but I wasn’t as crazy about it as I usually am. It’s probably the fact that the main characters aren’t all that interesting. The main guy who becomes the love interest for the heroine is pretty rude the whole time so it’s a bit of a stretch when he finally decides to play the hero. I can’t forget all of the insults so easily and he’s the kind of sexist character that we try to forget from those days. The producer of the film isn’t bad and he’s definitely pretty confident. That being said, the movie is more important to him than Kong’s health so he definitely takes a shot to his character there. We get glimpses of how the film would be without King Kong during the cilmax when everyone arrives for the show. Ironically, it would probably get a higher score since it has potential as a stage thriller, but it wasn’t in the cards. The main heroine is decent, but she’s not great either as she falls into the romance trap with someone who had been insulting her mere minutes earlier. He does try to save her life on several occasions, but she should have placed him in the friend zone. Considering that the director saved her, it makes sense that she would be willing to be in such a dangerous movie, but she shouldn’t have stayed next to the edge while on the boat. Ah well, she was not as fun as the director, but she was better than the main guy.
King Kong is naturally the big character in this production. He’s featured as the antagonist, but he’s mostly just your average animal. He does what he can to survive, but he doesn’t have much of a concept on good or evil. He destroys his enemies and does what he wants with his life. He naturally starts to like the main heroine and he’s famous for that at this point. You’ll feel bad for him when the army is blasting away at him and you’ll feel bad for the humans and animals that he destroys. I definitely don’t like King Kong and I never had. He’s simply not one of the better monsters out there and monkeys happen to be one of my least favorite animals. It would have been hard for this film to have changed that anyway, but I’m glad that he gave it his all. It is also good that he escaped the chains at the end since being a prisoner would have been a cruel fate.
The main thing that really hurts the film is the excessive animal violence. You simply cannot get away from this negative and it comes back to bite you every time. A dinosaur gets violently defeated and likewise with a cool Rodan monster. The snake is also injured and you’ll even feel bad for King Kong when he’s defeated. This guarenteed that the film would certainly get a negative score and while I’ll still give it a higher one than a 2 (Which would be slightly excessive) it was not going to get up to a 5 or a 4. Animal Violence is something that we have to avoid at any cost and King Kong simply couldn’t get past that.
It’s why the sequels don’t have a lot of hope either. The T Rex scene is famous and I’m confident that it is in both of the upcoming films. With updated graphics, the fights could be even worse. This film is about 2 hours, but it’ll definitely feel pretty long as you enter the second half. It only drags on at some points though as the battle in the Jungle is pretty fun and I do like the climax. It’s more towards the beginning of the middle where it drags for a while. That’s forgivable though since the film is expected to have some slow moments. (Get ready for the 3 and a half hour remake…)
The human scenes aren’t bad, but they aren’t extremely entertaining either. The captain of the ship was nice enough and he did a good job of guarding against the enemies. I don’t really care for the extremely rushed romance between the main heroine and the sailor though as it is another case of love at first sight, which I don’t buy into. The humans definitely look pretty corrupt as they are actually proud of the fact that they turned King Kong from a king into a captive. It’s something that you would hope the heroes didn’t take pride in. Apparently, money is what’s important to them so they don’t care about Kong’s well being. Likewise with all of the people in the audience of course.
The film is just pretty tragic and that’s one of the main reasons why it couldn’t be as great as Godzilla or the other big monster films. Take away the animal violence and this film would instantly be a whole lot better. King Kong being a captive was sad, but he did break free so that was good. He got to get his hits in before they finally mowed him down. At least he would end up returning in Godzilla vs King Kong about 20 years later.
Overall, King Kong is one of those classics that isn’t truly great. Without our nostalgia glasses I don’t think that it holds weight, but we know that we cannot get rid of the glasses. They are why I still see the original TMNT game for Gamecube as an exceptional title of epic proportions and why Super Smash Bros Melee will always have my fondest memories for any video game. I saw Godzilla first and I have a feeling that it will always outrank King Kong. Kong’s just at a disadvantage since he’s a real animal and he’s not even close to Godzilla’s size. He is also not immune to bullets so that should end the debate against Godzilla right there. Fans of the old monster films may enjoy this one, but definitely not if you don’t like animal violence. I’d recommend the original Godzilla film instead as it is much better.