King Kong

King Kong ★★★★★

Part of **No Re-Watch November 2012**.

"It's a different thing taking a woman into danger."

You'd have to jump forward 50 years to Raiders of the Lost Ark to find an equally perfect pure adventure film. King Kong does everything right: Stunning ingenue, suspicious sailors, gruff but romantic leading man, headstrong expedition leader. We get gorgeous costume work on the natives, who of course live in the jungle. And then there's Kong.

Ah yes, Ray Harryhausen's genius model work that brings the creature to life. He seems so real at points, and Kong's action scenes against other giant creatures have never been better. (certainly, CGI looks less "life-like") Just watch the wrestling match with the T. Rex, ending with a bone-crushing scene whose superb sound effects caused me to look away in sympathetic pain. And don't get me started on his expressions towards Fay Wray at the end of the movie.

Credit goes to the score, too. In 1933, movies were just starting to use orchestral scores (the early Universal monster films didn't even make up their own music -- Swan Lake plays over the opening credits). This one sets the standard for all adventure movies to come.

I think you could develop an interesting discussion about the colonialist/racist attitudes in the film -- I 'love' how these guys come across an honest-to-god dinosaur, and the first thing they do is kill it -- and the whole Beauty and the Beast motif could probably do with some Freudian analysis. But that stuff comes later.

Today, I am just rejoicing in a timeless action classic.

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