King Kong

King Kong ★★★★★

BatQuinn's Cinema Review #7

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I tell you any more, I'm going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive - a show to gratify your curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World." - Carl Denham

Greetings fellow cinephiles and welcome back to BatQuinn's Cinema, where I review the good, bad, and obscure sides of motion pictures. And welcome to Day 4 of Hooptober 2020, where I will be reviewing a horror film for each day of October, leading up to Halloween.

The year was 1933. America was at a very low point, due to the Great Depression. To escape the horrors of reality, people went to go and see movies. But on March 2, a revolutionary film would be released and changed the way we look at movies forever, inspiring tons of future filmmakers.

Plot Synopsis: Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is a producer and director of adventure films specializing in remote and exotic locations. He sets off to a remote location called Skull Island, an uncharted area where prehistoric creatures, like dinosaurs, run amok. Besides the rest of the crew, including First Mate Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot), he also brings a young lady named Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), who he casts as the lead actress. When they get to the island, the local natives kidnap the girl as a sacrifice to appease their god, a giant ape named Kong, who lives behind a giant wall on the island. However, Kong becomes fascinated with the girl and carries her off into the jungle. Denham and the rest of the crew venture into the dangerous jungle to get her back, where they get picked off one by one. Eventually, the remaining survivors capture Kong and take him to New York City, where's he billed as Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World. But Kong escapes, retrieves Ann, and climbs up the Empire State Building, where he has to fight off the enemy planes.

The first time I saw this film, I was blown away by how amazing it was, and I was never the same after. Eventually, I found out that many other people were inspired by this film such as Ray Harryhausen, who was once a student of Willis O'Brien, the stop motion animator for the film, to Peter Jackson, who would remake this film in 2005. What a lot of people don't know is that Kong, along with the Rhedosaurus from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, was one of the primary inspirations for his fellow monster friend/enemy: Godzilla.

What makes the film so enjoyable are Kong and all the different animals that inhabit Skull Island. The island is like a character in its own right. The backgrounds are so lush and beautiful, which is crazy to think it was all crafted by hand. Nowadays, it would all be done on a computer.

As most people know, this film uses stop-motion for Kong and all of the dinosaurs, but many don't realize how tedious the process was. One minute's worth of movement could have taken close to one hundred and fifty hours because the model would have to be moved, and then a picture would have to be taken.

Another problem was trying to combine the actors with the stop motion footage, so new methods were made, like performing in front of a rear-projection, two pieces of footage were merged, the real actors being projected into the background, while the creatures were animated around them, and even using life-sized props for Kong's hand, face, and feet. For 1933, it's very surprising how much they accomplished. I remember seeing the Kong vs T. Rex fight on The Making of Jurassic Park as a kid and being blown away by how great it looked.

With phenomenal visual effects, an amazing soundtrack by Max Steiner, and a classic story of beauty and beast, King Kong is a remarkable film on every level, showing fantasy and imagination. Not to mention, this film is responsible for me becoming the big Kaiju fan that I am today. If you haven't seen this film, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Final Rating: 5/5 A

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