Thursday, April 19, 2012

"King Kong" The original masterpiece

TITLE: "King Kong"
DIRECTOR: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
STARS: Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot
EDITOR: Ted Cheesman
AWARDS: National Film Registry
BOX OFFICE: $1,700,000 (USA)
RUN TIME: 100 min.
VIEWING FORMAT: 35mm Film Print

When Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) decides to finish his new jungle picture on Skull Island, he casts Ann Darrow (Wray). The unsuspecting crew finds adventure, and terrible consequences on the island, and is endangered by the giant beasts that live there.

"King Kong" is a classic. It is recognized around the world, and has been for decades. It has been officially remade twice (see this writer's review of the 2005 film here, though countless derivative titles have tried to cash in on the success of this film.

The film really shines with its effects. The story is simple, but character driven, with the young movie starlet being captured by a monstrous ape, that somehow cares for her, driving the action. The interspersed footage of both Kong and his island adversaries, all of which were stop-motion animated by Willis O'Brien, still keeps audiences entranced and excited. Besides just cutting in random animation, the filmmakers found ways to physically incorporate, through cutaways and alternate angles, the animated creatures with their human counterparts.

Here is a film that holds up. It is still exciting. It still keeps the viewer glued to their seat. It may be slightly outdated in its treatment of woman and minority characters, but hopefully that doesn't get in the way of great filmmaking. The heart of the movie is a crazy love story known the world over.

Wray is endearing, and the effects, while dated, are still astounding and in depth. The artistry and work that went into this piece cannot be ignored. This is a fun ride of a film, and is worth watching over and over again.
MY IMDb RATING:  8 out of 10

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