Monday, 22 October 2012

Cinematic Spaces: King Kong Review

King Kong Film Review

Figure 1: the movie poster

King kong (1933) is a Monster movie, with a twist: A love story, between a woman and giant, god-like ape. The film explores the idea of seeing a giant, destructive monster, and realizing that it is simply an animal, with instincts many of which are animalistic, but many also human.

    “Oh no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.”

The film was directed by Meridan C Cooper, and Ernest B Schoedsak; who also developed the original concept. 
What Kong has contributed most to the film world, is not the groundbreaking effects.    The idea was greenlighted based on a test sequence showcasing animator Willis H. O’Brien’s stop-motion models.1

“Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World.”

The special effects team worked hard to come up with creative ways to make Kong seem to be a real creature before us. Stop motion models were used, green screen effects were used, sometimes giant Kong puppets were built. 

Most likely down to the stop motion animation, in some animated shots, Kong appears to move in a very animalistic way; the focus can to be on the creatures’ movements and mannerisms, rather than focusing on creating realistic and flowing motion.  Scenes such as the dinosaurs attempting to grab their prey in trees, and under logs, are good examples of this. We can see them acting as an animal would; with no emotion behind them. "A curiously touching fable in which the beast is seen, not as a monster of destruction, but as a creature that in its own way wants to do the right thing. "(Ebert, 2002)

However, since O’Brien had the task of making Kong able to have humanistic characteristics, the realistic animal illusion was sometimes lost. "For example, in King KongKong walks more like a man than a gorilla, and his facial expressions are far beyond what is “normal” for a gorilla." (Pullins, 2003) 

Figure 2: A dinosaur hunts its prey

“Don't be alarmed, ladies and gentlemen. Those chains are made of chrome steel.”

Kong’s original cut included many scenes seen as too violent to be included. Such scenes included one in which Kong shakes the sailors off of a log and into a deadly giant spider pit. This scene has only been seen once by the public, and has been recreated by Peter Jackson since.1

King Kong has remained a popular Hollywood style monster movie, and has been imitated "in films such as Nabonga, Mighty Joe Young, Congo, and even Jurassic Park"(Pullins, 2003). It has also been adapted numerous times; into an animated film, comic strips, television adaptations, and has even appeared in films alongside Godzilla. The most recent adaptation by Peter Jackson, 2005,  has been the closest version to be just as good as the original.

Figure 3: On the empire state building


 Accessed on 22/10/12
Accessed on 22/10/12
Accessed on 22/10/12


Figure 3

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