King Kong

King Kong ★★★★★

The original King Kong (1933) is my favorite film. I don't know how many times I've seen it; in the theater (sadly once only), on VHS, on Laserdisc, on DVD, and on Blu-Ray.

I feel a bit sorry for those who cannot recognize what a great picture this is. Back in '33 I guess part of its success was its groundbreaking technical achievements. That's not quite as impressive today, if you compare it to modern effects. But even so it is still a great picture. One of the reasons is that Willis O'Brien had something that very few animators have. He had a fantastic ability to infuse his animation models with a personality. That makes Kong much more than just a moving puppet.

Kong Kong takes its time to build up the suspence. It actually takes time to let us get to know and care for the main characters. It doesn't just leap into action sequences like so many of todays movies do. So I guess if you're only weaned on modern action films, King Kong may seem slow for the first part of the movie.

Of course, if you do apprectiate the intricacies of the technical effects - and I do - then you can watch this movie over and over and still marvel at them. But even if you don't then you should be able to just be entertained by a great story.

And remember, most of the people who have made a name for themselves in visual effects in Hollywood were inspired either directly by King Kong, or indirectly through Ray Harryhausen's films, and it was King Kong that inspired Ray to go into stop motion animation. So we owe so much to this film in general, and to the artistry of Willis O'Brien in particular.

It just doesn't get "five-starier" than this for me!

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