King Kong (1976) Review

Kingkong1976
I wasn’t a big fan of the original King Kong film or the recent 2017 one. I’m just not a King Kong fan at all which may seem odd since I’ve always enjoyed Godzilla and Gamera. It all comes down to the fact that he’s a big monkey who seems like a 2nd rate Donkey Kong and he’s more interested in the main heroine than being king of the world. That being said, the first two films still made a name for themselves. The original created the character from the ground up and the 2017 version decided to do a very bold re imagining of the whole thing. This one….is just another King Kong film. It tries to follow the original step for step in a rather soulless fashion and is extremely generic. It has the most unlikable King Kong to date and there’s just nothing good about the film. Ah well, prepare yourself!

The film starts off with Fred wanting to head to an unknown island to grab some oil and get rich. It’s a perfect scheme and he ignores all of the variables and tough weather. Unfortunately for him, a man named Jack has stowed away on the ship and this guy isn’t exactly a pro. He breaks his cover by interrupting a big meeting to point out that the atmosphere is getting crazy and there’s probably a big Ape on the island. After a lot of laughing and everyone putting their game faces on, they decide to let Jack walk free. He’ll help them whether he likes it or not. This works quite well for Jack since he wanted to be on the island anyway. They come across a lady in the ocean named Dwan. Her cruise full of people was destroyed and they all died, but she gets over it in the span of 5 seconds. She’s more interested in being a star who will achieve fame and glory after all. The problem is that she shines too brightly and is kidnapped by the natives on the island and given to King Kong. Jack must save her for purely professional reasons while Fred wants to capture King Kong and bring him to the city. No way anything tricky is going to happen because of that!

Lets run through the negatives right off the bat. The whole scene of King Kong bathing Dwan and drying her off was pretty terrible. Then messing with her clothes before getting interrupted was just as bad. If anything, King Kong should think of her as a pal or someone who needs protecting. The film just did a really bad job here and he should have stuck to being the King Kong who just goes around breaking his opponents. You can never tell if he’s heroic or if he just wants to get on Dwan’s good side. You wouldn’t catch Godzilla making a fool of himself this way. It’s just hard to like anybody here, but these scenes are painfully long and hurt the film.

As this is a King Kong film, we get the obligatory scene of him destroying normal animals like a giant snake. This is one trope that I could certainly live without. You can’t help but feel bad for the snake and while the scene isn’t super violent since it’s so old and low budget, it still qualifies as animal violence. I don’t want to see the snake get ripped in half, I wanted to see him win!

There’s not much to say about Fred. He wants to get rich and that is his character plain and simple. He’s as generic as it gets. I don’t really mind the guy though and he does better than some of the other characters. Jack’s a reasonable main character I guess, but he’s usually content to stay back and watch from the sidelines. We never learn why he is so athletic and manages to elude King Kong when the trained professionals could not, but I guess we’ll just chalk that up to being the main character. He’s not very fun either as he doesn’t get much of a purpose in the film. So, he wants to meet King Kong, but why? I guess it’s for his job since this is like a hobby, but it feels like such a weak motivation. He quickly takes control of every situation so that’s nice for his hype, but he’s just there. I would say the same for Dwan, but it’s a worse situation for her. She’s not generic like the rest, but she’s just a bad character. She lets her guard down constantly and maybe considering that they’re in enemy territory at night, she shouldn’t stay by the water. She was kidnapped without a struggle and she spent most of the film being traded as a prisoner from one group to the next. Once she was finally freed, she didn’t even get to enjoy the city much as King Kong found her and then the reporters soon followed. She never got any peace or quiet and didn’t have a tough enough personality to get everyone to back off. She just let everyone do as they pleased and this doesn’t help her character at all.

Beyond all of this, it’s just a rather boring film. King Kong’s home isn’t very flashy or fun. The tribe acts completely evil as you’d expect and they basically just vanish once the kidnapping is over. It’s like they knew their roles were over and ran off as soon as possible. I also don’t get the concept of building a large wall to keep King Kong out. I mean..he agreed to it for some reason and stays away, but the wall won’t actually do anything. If he wanted to get out, then he could. It also reminds me that King Kong is totally evil here since he accepts the sacrifices every time the tribe brings them out. Not exactly something a nice monster would do. The city climax should have been really hype but since King Kong is incredibly slow and not all that durable it wasn’t entertaining. You were just waiting for the army to shoot him so we could get the whole thing over with. I wouldn’t call King Kong’s mild struggle by waving his arms around a real climax to be honest.

Overall, This King Kong film is about as bad as the rest, likely slightly worse. It had no individuality or creativity in its corner. It was just another King Kong film that completely played everything by the books. It should have been bold and taken some different twists or turns. That likely would have helped a lot. The heroine and King Kong scenes bring the film down along with the animal violence. You could argue that Dwan was used more for fanservice than as an actual character which is just sad. I highly recommend avoiding this film if you possibly can. Watch any other King Kong film instead, you’ll have a better time. At least the new film won’t make many of these mistakes since Godzilla will be fighting King Kong next time. Unless King Kong 2 comes out first, but I hope the crossover is on the top of the priority list. It could make other mistakes, but I want to have hope that King Kong will surprise us with a good film. At the moment, his only good movie is Godzilla vs King Kong and once again it was Godzilla who had to pick up the slack.

Overall 2/10

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