King Kong 1933 review
by Aidan Codd .
The film King Kong is about a film producer wanting to make a blockbuster hit. The producer decides to get a crew together to man a ship and a cast together including a leading lady for the film that he wants to make, they set sail for a mystery island that the producer has learnt of, but the island isn’t on not any map. They get to the island and meet the locales who mention Kong, which intrigues the producer and his film crew, the group go back to the boat for the night and the producer decides that they will start filming the next day. In the night some men from the tribe get onto the ship and kidnap the girl, and take her back to the island, when the crew find she has gone some of them get in small boats and go back to the island to try to find her. The crew get to the island only to find the tribe have already given the girl to Kong as a sacrifice, they see Kong pick the girl up in his hand and take her back into the jungle, the crew then all chase after them. While chasing Kong through the jungle they encounter a number of problems, and end up losing about half of the crew to dinosaur attacks, in the end there are two men left chasing Kong and the girl, its the film producer, his friend and there is the first mate still waiting with the boat that will take them back to the ship. They get separated and the film producer manages to get back to the ship and get more of the ships crew to help, in the mean time the first mate is now chasing after Kong and catches up with him and saves the girl, they escape back to the village where the rest of the crew are. They make their way to the beach but Kong has caught up with them and pins them at the beach but the crew throw a gas grenade at him that knocks him out and they take him on the ship and back to New York. They show him to the public but he breaks free and goes mad, he ends up getting the girl again and climbing the Empire state building, the air force shot him down in aeroplanes and Kong gets killed and thats how it ends.
The main thing I loved about this classic film is the use of miniatures and backgrounds, you get a sense of real depth and size throughout the film. For example you have the shot when they first get to the island and straight away your automatically drawn to the dramatic look of the island, you get a sense of how big it is due to the peak of the mountain on the island having a cloud line across it. You have the wall that stops Kong and the dinosaurs breaking into the village, with all the people looking tiny in comparison with it height. The dinosaurs’ that are dead and alive look massive in comparison with the size of the crew. The main feature is Kong destroying the city, and him climbing the empire state building, I think it was a brilliant use of miniatures and camera angles when the train crashes because Kong has destroyed the track showing his size and power, I also thought at times they got the size of Kong wrong compared to the Empire state building and the aeroplanes, I think the proportions were varied at times, but for the age of the film I do think it was good how they made it.
The pace of the film is both fast and quite fluid. Max Steiner's music adds fantastic atmosphere (it also helped lay down some of the basic rules of motion pictures scoring).
The plot was kept simple but believable enough to allow the audience to enjoy the special effects that would dominate.
There are very few works of cinema that stand up to repeated viewings and decades of changing film mores and audience expectations. Most notable among these is the classic King Kong. While the special effects that really came to symbolize the film look a bit ragged and prehistoric today, they carry an emotional weight that remains unequaled by modern CGI trickery and model work.