King Kong

King Kong ★★★★★

For a film that is close to 90 years old now, 1933 original and by some way the best King Kong is still a fascinating watch. It is in all sense and purposes a piece of groundbreaking cinematic art.

I watched this with my 16-year-old son, who had never seen it before, and he was fascinated by the attention to detail and realism of it all. The Production design is off the scale, with art and set direction rarely bettered when compared to its contemporaries. From the rain-soaked, damp early 1930s New York, to the dazzling walled city on Skull Island everything has its place and been put together with exacting precision.

It has to be said that this film is also still terrifying. There is no holding back here, we have Kong ripping the jaws off dinosaurs and bashing sea serpents against rocks. Many human characters suffer the Donald Gennero from Jurassic Park treatment as Kong gobbles up anyone who gets in his way. Kong himself is a staggering creation, utilising miniatures and the latest techniques (at the time) in stop motion animation, it is a privilege to watch these early effects pioneers work. Similar to scream queen Fay Wray, we see a living and breathing creature.

As for the plot itself, it is a love story, a tragic one at that. Robert Armstrong who plays film-maker Carl Denham could well be the true monster of the film, capturing Kong to bring him back to New York to have the public gawp, stare and frighten the animal. Whilst addressing the crowded theatre " He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive", yet the civilisation treats him like a caged beast. It's all strangely moving.

We cheer as one as Kong escapes and rips through the theatre showing the true hero of the piece, which results in the iconic conclusion on the roof of the Empire State Building.

A masterpiece, not just of its time but of any time.

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