The King of Kong The movies King Kong (1976) and King Kong (2005) based on the 1933 film are some of the most captivating films that offer to the audience memorable characters, resonating emotions, thrilling actions and archetypal narratives. Bierman indicates that the heart-stopping and jaw-dropping King Kong films have been made to expand visual languages mostly expressed by motion pictures to capture the core appeal which many classic movies have (57).
As this paper examines, the 1976 King Kong movie and its 2005 re-make display certain similarities and differences in terms of art, style and technological wonder as well as poignant character development. These are indicative of the evolution of the Hollywood style. Besides, as movies of high polysemy quality, their audience draw attention to aspects like overt sexism, misogyny, cultural portrayal of women as fault makers and victims, fears of miscegenation, racist ideologies and capitalist fables.
It is against this front that this paper holistically examines the two King Kong movies and concludes by exploring the American culture, society and politics at the time when both films were made. The movie King Kong made in 1976 was produced by Dino De Laurentis alongside John Guillermin as the director. Being an American monster movie, King Kong (1976) remarkably reflected the 1933 King Kong classic film (Farber 104). This movie stars Jessica Lange, Charles Grodin and Jessica bridges.
According to credible sources, the King Kong 1976 movie whose cost of making is estimated to have been $24 million was done by the universal studio and distributed by Paramount Pictures. While the 1976 movie has been considered by critics to bear a lot of fun, one would agree with the common wisdom which contends that in comparison to the classic 1933 film and the 2005 re-make, the 1976 King Kong movie was considerably below the expected standards. According to Stymeist, this was reflected in its lack of original magic as it was in the earlier movie (400).
This is reflected in Rick Baker who in his monkey suit robs the movie stop motion technology thereby making it void of craftsmanship. However, it is agreeable that the rendition of the 1976 movie has a breezy feel and is also quite thrilling to the target audience. Both the 1976 and 2005 King Kong movies bring out the story of a voyage in a ship to a discovered island where Petrox and Fred Wilson and Carl Denham believe that they were vast oil deposits. The movie made in 1976 is a reflection of the oil crisis that was a problem in the 1970’s.
While in the ship, certain characters such as Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange join each other with a unique mission. On the island, they meet island tribes, many monsters just as depicted in the 1933 film. Later on after a series of events, Kong is brought to New York and concludes by a major battle between Kong and the American army at the top of the World Trade Center. On the other hand, the 2005 King Kong film is a remarkable fantasy adventure film starring Andy Serkis, Adrien Brody, Jack Black and Naomi Watts.
The producers of the movie include Frank Walsh, Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham and Jan Blenkin. Besides, the studio that produced the movie is said to be the Universal studio and its US distributor is the Universal Pictures. It is imperative to point out that the choice of re-making the American iconic masterpiece King Kong (1973 movie) by Peter Jackson has been termed as a major fulfillment of a Hollywood dream. This movie is a combination of the 1976 and 1933 versions that represents the definitive King Kong.
Albeit the several wrinkles and changes it has, the storyline pays few direct homage one of which includes the hammiest verbatim dialogue snatch where the absence of Fay Wray is experienced as she prepares something for Cooper. Schleier in his view points out that the 2005 film displays the kind of dislike where Jackson shows towards the 1976 version (40). This is mirrored in the manner in which he freely borrows from the 1976 movie and changes others. For instance, the 1973 movie has a one-way relationship between the monkey and the girl while in the 2005 film, the relationship is reciprocal.
Even so, it is without doubt that the movie is more touching, daring, and energetic. Its two hours displays intense series of action most movies lack. It offers a cinematic experience that is richer and satisfying. However, some critics are of the view that the presence of monkey opus in the 2005 film is excessive. This makes the movie less enjoyable. The two movies have one basic theme that is being developed. The self-promoting and obsessive filmmakers of both movies load the crews of the films in a venture ship to a mysterious destination known as the Skull Island.
When at the island, the crew’s expectations appear to be changed by the hostile tribes and monsters they meet. Kong then appears and rescues the girl from the hostile environment, and also ends up taking charge of the rest of the movie. From the American Cinema/America Culture textbook stand point, both movies and their style of production are very impressive. The plots of the movies are considerably straight forward as depicted by the flow of events from the arrival at the skull island to the kidnapping of the girl by islanders whose cultures are different from that of the crew.
Besides, apart from the modernized changes in the 2005 film, both movies display character development and cultural diversity. Though this is not quite prominent, the personalities of Kong and individuals in the island community are well explored. In addition, Prime argues that the re-make of the 1976 film in 2005 reflects Jackson’s utmost reverence and best intention in keeping the originality of style (64). While the American social setting and culture is a factor that changes from time to time, Jackson appears to underscore the need to maintain originality.
To concur with the above argument, it is indeed true that 2005 edition has a monkey business that lasts for almost three hours. While its style resembles those of the original plot with culture and society matters, the mass population of monstrous creatures led by the monstrous Kong seems to be excessive. Critics are not shy to point out that the style of the re-make is full of extra characters, side plots and back-story. However, Belton is of the view that these are critical in bringing adequate comparison of performance, richness, diversity and magical experience (66).
The theme of the 2005 film is surprisingly on loneliness than fighting the gargantuan monsters. The intense emotional display brings out Kong as an uber-furball played off by Naomi Watts. It is imperative to point out that the movie essentials in the 2005 re-making remains faithful in terms of basics contained on the 1973 movie. However, Jackson gives this movie his own artistic style. Unlike the monster-kind of movie displayed in the 1973 film, Jackson appears to make King Kong more sympathetic and deeply emotional. Farber indicates that this appears to torture the film (110).
From the American Cinema perspective, one of the most difficult parts of a movie is the aesthetic and technological category whose confinements can be mise-en-scene to shot limits or frame borders (Belton 57). In the movie, the reaction of characters to unseen noises and voices continuing over cuts and outside the frame stands out. In addition, it is imperative to note that the movies are shot on different locations and yet music, sound effects and dialogue extend from scene to scene. Belton points out that the editing process of King Kong has its integral aspect on sound editing cut from shot to shot (57).
While its score in music is nondescript, its recording is unique and the music is less intrusive. Visually, the movie is marvelous, a factor that is attributed to no location shooting and technology. This makes its scenes especially the Skull Island to appear claustrophobic and eerie. On a technical level, the special effects in King Kong appear amazing and polished. It is without doubt that the visual technique used in the re-make is exclusive with all features of Kong – which has been manipulated by hand.
One would argue that the re-make in 2005 puts life in the Hollywood magical experience. While this may be true, it is also undeniable that King Kong reflects the culture and style of the past five decades and has occasional antiquated styles and various deficiencies (Sexton 40). Furthermore, both films have sufficient pictographic representations of the dynamism in society that gives them a thematic score. Notably, there emerges a technical difference in the films whereby each version portrays the actual occurrences during the various times they were produced.
For instance, the visual displays of the new vision have colorful designs and even the costume provide a clear evidence of social evolution in the modern world. Needless to say, the films portray three-point illumination that gives them a classical look in the scene. On the same note, there is a clear coordination of the music, dialogue and sound effects in the scene. Nevertheless, for the new version, it appears more realistic. In this case, the combination of sound mix with the tracks in the scene creates an appealing attitude for the audience.
The sound effects from the music actually create and make the dialogue and the acting scene more intelligible. The matches on the scene such as actions and graphics create a continuous sequence. Consequently, this credits the film as one of the groundbreaking versions of a renowned movie. It is evident from the paper that the movie King Kong of 1976 and its 2005 re-make are some of the most captivating films that offer everything from memorable characters, resonating emotions, thrilling actions and archetypal narratives which keeps its legacy continuing.
As noted earlier, the 1976 movie was shot at a time when there was an oil crisis in the US. This event is displayed in the movie as Carl Denham moves to the Skull Island to seek oil. Besides, the culture of that time as reflected in the manner of worship, social and political relations were different from the time when the movie was undergoing re-making. Vices and cultures like human sacrifice and worship of gigantic beasts were common. The changes made by Jackson in the re-make 2005 movie reflect a different society.
One such change is that emergence of a technical difference where each version portrays change in technology and culture. Works Cited Belton, John. American cinema/American culture. Rockefeller, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print. Bierman, Joseph. “Cinema at the periphery”. Journal of Film and Video 63. 2 (2011): 56-58. Print. Farber, Helmut. “King Kong: One more interpretation, or, what cinema tells about itself. ” Discourse 22. 2 (2000): 104-127. Print. Loxton, Daniel. “Skull Island, Canada. ” Skeptic 14. 1 (2008): 12-14. Print. Prime, Rebecca. “Living dangerously: the adventures of Merian C.
Cooper, Creator of King Kong. Film Quarterly 60. 2 (2006): 63-64. Print. Schleier, Merrill. “The empire state building, working-class masculinity, and King Kong. ” Mosaic: a Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 41. 2 (2008): 29-54. Print. Sexton, Jared. “The ruse of engagement: black masculinity and the cinema of policing. ” American Quarterly 61. 1 (2009): 39-64. Print. Stymeist, David. “Myth and the monster cinema. ” Anthropologica 51. 2 (2009): 395-406. Print. King Kong (2005). Movie. Universal Pictures. WingNut Films. King Kong (1976). Movie. Dino De Laurentiis Company.