Classics Review: King Kong (1933)

Let’s go back to The 1930’s, in a time when The Great Depression affected The Stock Market, The Dust Bowl destroyed various crops, people were laid off due to many businesses not making enough cash to pay off bills, and worst of all, they lost their homes due to not paying off a mortgage. Despite the negative problems everyone has gone through, movies featuring Clark Gable, Jimmy Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, among many stars from that time period, radio programs and jazzy music, were the only sources to keep the general public to feel happy. One film in particular paved the wave of monster movies with its use of groundbreaking special effects is a film called King Kong.

King Kong premiered in 1933. At the time of its release, it received positive reception from critics and made a bunch of money at the box office, which saved R.K.O. Productions from bankruptcy. The film went on to inspire giant monster movies/kaiju including Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, among many other kaiju.

Fun Fact: Famous people such as, Morgan Freeman, Roger Ebert, James Rolfe/Angry Video Game Nerd & Peter Jackson, claim that the original King Kong is among their favorite movies. Peter credits King Kong as the film that inspired him to make movies. He went on to direct a remake starring Naomi Watts, Adrian Brody, Jack Black & Andy Serkis provided motion capture to bring the titular character to life.

Now that Kong: Skull Island reintroduced the character as part of a cinematic universe called “The MonsterVerse.” In 2020, King Kong is gonna be in a crossover film with Godzilla called, Godzilla Vs. King Kong. Besides the upcoming film, Pacific Rim: Uprising is gonna be out in The Summer Of 2018, which is also about giant monsters. I’ve decided to look back at the original King Kong, which is perhaps the very first giant monster movie way before Godzilla.

Note from 2021: Godzilla Vs. King Kong’s release date was delayed to March, 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. It’ll be out in theaters and stream at home on HBO Max.

This review features potential SPOILERS. Let’s be honest, we’re all familiar with the story, because it’s been told by countless parodies, imitators, and two remakes from 1976 to 2005. If you haven’t seen the original or both remakes, read at your own risk.

Strong: Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot & Robert Armstrong, all did a good job on their respective performances.

Action Sequences were decent such as, The Log Scene, The Climatic Battle At The Empire State Building, and my personal favorite, Kong’s one-on-one battle with a bloodthirsty T-Rex. I’ll have to give Kong, a truckload of Bonus Points, for killing a T-Rex by ripping out it’s jaw.

Special Effects at the time, were groundbreaking for its use of Stop Motion by bringing the title character and various creatures to life. A combination of Set Pieces and Matte Paintings were used to create Skull Island’s environment.

Kong’s roar is a mix between a lion, a tiger, and a bear’s roar. OH MY! Just kidding, it’s actually a mix between a lion and a tiger’s roar, minus the bear.

Cinematography was normal without any technical difficulties.

King Kong was the first individual who has a dislike of paparazzi, way before Sean Penn, Russell Crowe & Kanye West were born.

Now that we live in a digital age, it is optional to skip “The Overture” section. If you want to recapture the moment of patience without fast forwarding, so be it.

The Ending involing Kong’s death, is one of the most powerful highlights of the picture. Cue the infamous last line, “It wasn’t the airplanes, it was beauty killed the beast.”

Weak: Special Effects haven’t aged well for a film that came out in 1933. I’m gonna give this flaw a pass, because digital effects didn’t exist back then.

Ann constantly screams throughout the film. Look, I understand she’s in peril, but I can’t stand a character who screams constantly throughout the whole picture! She predates Kate Capshaw’s obnoxious character Willie from “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom.” Ugh I can’t stand her screaming!

Dialogue isn’t relevant as it used to be. Peter Jackson did a jab at the 1933 version’s hokey dialogue, with one character who cringes at the delivery of lines.

Jack & Ann’s chemistry with each other, felt way to fast to become lovers. In reality, it’ll take several days to get to know each other, if the time is right to start a serious relationship.

I swear to god I’m not actually making this up, Ann said the line, “What queer looking boats!” I think the definition of queer doesn’t hold up well and it can be taken out of context. As a modern viewer, I have unintentionally laughed my butt off.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BEAST MODE!

In my opinion, the original King Kong is an influential timeless classic. Without King Kong, Godzilla would’ve never existed in the first place! If you want to see the original by comparing and contrasting Peter Jackson’s remake, go ahead and check this one out. Don’t forget to watch Kong: Skull Island which is perhaps my personal favorite King Kong film. I can’t wait to see Kong duking it or with Godzilla in 2020 and possible solo kaiju spin-offs in The MonsterVerse.

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