I’m talking about the original 1933 version of King Kong. It is a great movie and a hell of lot more violent and gruesome than I ever thought. It must have shocked and scared the crap out of audiences in 1933. I never realized what an incredible movie it is.
The stop-motion special effects are executed with style and drama that are so expressive, “the beast” comes across as a sensitive guy. There isn’t much of a story until Kong comes into the picture — and then you can watch the movie with the sound down if you feel like it because everything unfolds in broad strokes: 1) Island natives capture Fay Wray for sacrifice to Kong; 2) Kong runs into the jungle with Ms. Wray, protecting her instead of eating her; 3) A rescue party runs into the jungle and are killed off one at a time by Kong; 4) Kong is captured and brought back to the US… and so on. Although King Kong is sometimes considered a B-quality monster movie, it’s operatic and poignant as well. I’d love to see it in a theatre someday.
King Kong (2005), directed by Peter Jackson.
This is a good movie. The first hour is spent setting the tone and developing the characters; it takes place during the 1930s, when The Depression was in full swing: alcohol was banned, poverty was rampant, and jobs were scarce. Once the King Kong shows up though, that first hour seems almost irrelevant; you forget about the setting, clutching your chair-arm due to the excitement of the action sequences: battling dinosaurs, giant cockroaches, bats as big as airplanes… relief comes once they get off the island, but then they get sappy, with a stupid scene taking place on a frozen pond after the ape escapes from his shackles; however, some of the island scenes may give you nightmares.
I didn’t see the original 1924 King Kong, and I was around 10 when I saw the 1978 version. I had little expectations about it except knowing that Peter Jackson made it, so I expected a visual feast; and it delivers. There’s a lot of silly stuff in the film and some scenes are too long, but I enjoyed it. See it in a theater if you can, for the realistic special effects and sound.