Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Worlds Apart - King Kong

King Kong (1933)

Director - Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack

In this classic tale of King Kong we are taken on a ship to a prehistoric island where Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) has gone to finish the filming of his movie. Whilst there the heroin of the movie (Fay Wray) gets kidnapped by the native tribe to be made a sacrifice to the beast King Kong, a giant gorilla. Subsequently King Kong (rather than devouring her) falls in love with the heroine and protects her from the horrors of the island that are wishing to make her their next meal. The film climaxes with King Kong being captured by the crew of the ship and then being whisked off to New York City to be shown as the eighth wonder of the world.

As it goes, the plot in this original version of the film feels incredibly rushed. Fast passed scene after scene is pumped out to the audience with not a chance to let any tension build. Although BBC said "The pace of the film is both fast and quite fluid" It just feels like parts of the film are missing. To give an example after Kong is rendered unconsious the plot moves directly to New York City where Kong is chained to be exhibited. Empire Magazine called it "a simple cut" but in my eyes it was too simple, there was no transition to help built up tension between the scenes. Like getting Kong on the Ship back and preparing him for exhibition. This could have slowed the film and aided to add tension.

Although this film may have lacked in areas, it did excelled in many other ways. The stop motion creatures were beautfully executed for its time and gave birth to what we now know as the monster movie. The sets although feeling a little cramped at times help really sell the idea that you were on an island that was like nowhere else. Untimately the film is a success but with a little changes here and there could have been so much more. With the whole 'Beauty and the Beast' concept it's hard for it not to work and film four put it "The film endures because of the timelessness of its central story". The idea of a romance that shouldn't happen will alway put bums on seats.


  1. Hey Justin - yes, this is better - but watch your spelling - for instance, you've got 'heroin' [class a substance] as opposed to 'heroine' - [female character in narrative]. Also 'bums on seats' is cute - but conversational - as a rule, avoid slang and colloquialisms unless you're using them to exemplify something, or they're used in a quote you've chosen. Your role as the writer of a critique is to remain appropriately formal. But, yes - generally much better :-)

  2. I wasn't sure whether it was heroin or heroine. :)