In 1933, RKO released a movie titled, “King Kong.” It pioneered groundbreaking special effects such as animatronics, stop-motion, rear/front projection (a precursor to green screen) and matte paintings. King Kong made an impact on the film industry inspiring notable directors including Peter Jackson & Steven Spielberg. King Kong inspired giant monsters/Kaiju such as Godzilla, Cloverfield, King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan among many others. Without King Kong, Godzilla and his adversaries would’ve never existed. After King Kong’s critical and box office success, RKO immediately made a sequel titled, “Son Of Kong” in an attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle in a non-stop production so they can beat future competitors/imitators. Son Of Kong was released nine months after the original came out. Unlike its predecessor, Son Of Kong earned mixed reviews from critics and was a modest success at the box office.
As you may know, Warner Bros. (WB for short) will release “Godzilla VS. Kong” in theaters and stream on HBO Max simultaneously on March 25th. To prepare for the upcoming battle between The King Of The Monsters & The Eighth Wonder Of The World, I want to share my thoughts on this obscure sequel to the 1933 film. I never heard of Son Of Kong. Thanks to James Rolfe/Angry Video Game Nerd, he introduced me to this forgotten sequel.
Today’s review contains SPOILERS. If you’re curious to see this obscure sequel, read at your own risk. Keep in mind, this is a short review. Son Of Kong isn’t a bigger than its predecessor. Just a rushed cash-in sequel lacking a planned schedule. Is this forgotten a sequel good or bad? Let’s find out shall we?
Mighty & Weak Aspects
Mighty: Robert Armstrong reprises his role as Carl Denham. He did a good job for his performance.
Like the first film, Stop Motion & Animatronics were innovative bringing Kong’s son and other Skull Island creatures to life.
Cinematography was ok. Felt stable.
Set immediately after Kong’s death, Carl is faced with bad publicity, property damage caused by Kong, lawsuits and flat out broke. He reunites with Captain Englehorn. Carl gets a job shipping cargo to payoff damages from Kong’s destruction in New York City.
Carl redeems himself as a likable character applying a homemade band-aid to Kong’s son.
Weak: An unnecessary scene with monkeys performing with instruments has nothing to do with the plot. RKO were desperate to fill in the blanks they tried to replicate the same success from the last movie without organizing a follow up lacking proper planning.
Characters are forgettable minus Carl & Englehorn. They’re not as memorable like Ann Darrow & Jack Driscoll. Speaking of characters from the original, nobody mentioned what happened to Ann & Jack after Kong’s death.
Kong’s son doesn’t appear until 42 minutes in. Meaning you just wasted watching half the film.
Kong’s son acts like a goofball. He’s not like is father who was a savage beast running amuck in New York City. Can’t believe I’m saying this, I never cared about him. His father is more memorable.
At times, The Tone felt cartoony whenever Kong’s son acts silly. The original was dark and chilling alongside Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake which is very darker.
Lack of Action Sequences. Only two with Kong’s son fighting two creatures.
The film’s running time is an hour and nine minutes. I don’t know if movies were short back then, but an hour long movie is basically the equivalent of any episode from a television drama.
The Final Verdict: D-
From my perspective, Son Of Kong is an underwhelming follow up to an iconic groundbreaking giant monster movie. I never cared about Kong’s son. There’s a reason why Peter Jackson bailed on remaking a sequel to his 2005 remake. Son Of Kong needs to be a cautionary tale for movie studios not to rush production. That means you WB and DC Extended Universe. If you want to watch a legit King Kong movie besides the 1933 and 2005 versions, I highly recommend “Kong: Skull Island” it’s connected to the upcoming Godzilla VS. Kong.
I’m rooting for Godzilla to win. Kong needs to find a way to beat his opponent.