Moviesludge’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hoop-Tober Movie #7
Crazy Animal Movie - 2/3
Pre 1970 - 3/5
The final line of the movie goes something like this:
A cop: Well the airplanes got im.
Denham: No it wasn't airplanes. It was beauty what killed the beast!
This classic seems to revel in that notion a lot- The notion that a stunning beauty can tame the most ferocious beast. After all, it's listed at the very beginning of the movie as well as the very end. It's a romantic idea and kind of sappy when you think about it. It's ultimately the key ingredient that makes Kong an empathetic character, however it isn't entirely necessary since he isn't the villain of this movie.
The main theme here is the conquering and exploitation of the natural world. The villain is the "civilized man" and his endless pursuit of wealth and fame. There is an order and balance to Skull Island before Denham and his cronies arrive. The natives and Kong coexist until the interference of the foreigners, who end up ruining everything and get a bunch of people killed, including Kong. Denham even pontificates about how he has managed to capture a god and that it will be taught fear. That line alone is scarier than any time Kong stomps or bites anyone. And it's obviously still poignant and relevant considering that there are people living in the world today who think that drinking water is not a human right, but that it is something from which a profit should be made.
Though watching this wasn't a particularly "amazing" experience for me, I did enjoy it more than most old horror movies. I kept thinking about what it must have been like to see this in the theater when it first came out. There is such a spectacular communication of size and space and depth in this, and I can only imagine how a theater viewing would magnify these elements.
The visual of Kong himself is so raw and wild looking. That aspect paired with the extreme violence make this pretty scary and shocking (or at least it must have been back then). I was still pretty shocked by some of the moments in this. Imagine coming home from a long day of work. You climb into your nice comfy bed and slip into a much needed sleep. Then after a couple of hours, YOU AWAKEN TO A GIANT HAND COMING THROUGH YOUR WINDOW THAT GRABS YOU OUT OF YOUR BED, PULLS YOU OUT THE WINDOW SO THAT YOU CAN BE HELD UP AND EXAMINED BY A HUGE FRIGHTENING GORILLA FACE THAT DETERMINES YOU'RE TOO UGLY AND THEN DROPS YOU FROM SOME 30 STORIES UP. The only thing that keeps running through your mind as you tumble through the air is how you are too ugly for a giant gorilla, and by the way where the fuck did a giant gorilla come from and why the fuck me? before gravity and concrete crush you to death.