King Kong

King Kong ★★★★★

This is a motion picture I've seen a handful of times in my life. Heck, one of the times was a colorized version on VHS. As TCM played this yesterday afternoon I decided to see this incredible film again.

I presume everyone is familiar with the plot so I won't spend much time there talking about it, except that it's a film crew going to a mysterious island and they find a giant gorilla... and the director makes the mistake of bringing the ape back to New York City, only for disaster to strike. The plot is pretty ridiculous and you can carp certain things if you want to... however, I say that even now this is a classic movie, and there are a few reasons why.

This is a classic adventure movie, where you have exotic locations, big setpieces, dramatic moments, a damsel in distress, laughs, etc. This is brought to life by...

The stop-motion special effects from the legendary Willis H. O'Brien. They are perfect and with such things as the composite effects they help make you believe in what you are seeing, from Kong and a T. Rex having an epic fight & a log being tossed about and sending many men on a fall to gruesome deaths to the title creature's legendary scaling of the Empire State Building and how it's always expressive throughout.

The performances are up and down but the ones I dig the most from the human beings in the film are Fay Wray as probably the first Scream Queen, Robert Armstrong as the huckster Carl Denham (& that character is more complex than it sounds from description; he's not always such a bad guy... just a foolhardy one), and I personally dig the Captain of the ship-Englehorn-played by Frank Reicher.

The movie's been officially remade twice-so far-and while they're not bad I'll always stick with the original as at least it's not goofy or burdened with overlength... and as cool as Rick Baker's acting in a gorilla suit is or Andy Serkis and his motion capture work, it's just not the same as what you saw here with the meticulous work of moving those models by hand. This is deservedly a classic that will never quite be duplicated.

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