King Kong

King Kong ★★★½

Film #14 of the Spooky Halloween Challenge

Also Film #33 of the Star Wars: 40th Anniversary Hunt
Task #20: A monster film

I'm ashamed to admit that this is the first time I ever watched the original King Kong, and that was my first exposure to the Eighth Wonder of the World was through Peter Jackson's infernal three-hour snoozefest.

Thankfully, the original Kong kept things simple, and is a much better version, and still an influential one on why people dig the monster movies.

If you've seen Jackson's version, then you know how the original goes. Film crew wants to shoot a movie on the hidden Skull Island. King Kong wrecks everything and abducts the girl. Crew hunts Kong down. Kong spends the climax with the girl on the Empire State Building. Only major difference is that the girl never had a strange fixation on Kong like Naomi Watts did. Though Kong still has a crush on the girl, the girl was afraid of Kong the whole way through, which is why I admire this version more for taking a more natural approach to its narrative. Of course, this is the original, and in 1933, folks just wanted a fun time with an intimidating beast, and this is what they got, and it's fun.

Not a great movie by all means, as I still find the characters paper-thin and the acting hokey. But it's a low-budget monster movie that uses its charm on cool monster action, and it works. The early use of stop-motion leads to some creative sequences, and the creature battles were clearly an influence on pretty much everyone that's worked on stop-motion ever since (Harryhausen especially).

I think King Kong is a film I admire more than I actually like, but I still enjoyed it mainly for being the pioneer of a cool medium in stop-motion animation.

For the definitive Kong movie, give me Kong: Skull Island. That one took the mythos to whole new extremes, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson!


And the Musical Shoutout is...
"Monkey" by George Michael (1988), a ridiculously energetic song which showcased Michael's talents as one of the most underrated pop entertainers that existed. Although if you interpret the monkey as a literal monkey instead of an idiotic human being, the song gives a whole new meaning...

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