King Kong (1933) Anniversary Review

By Brandon Matzke

Usually Nevin is the one who reviews these classic films, but seeing as he has never seen this film, and that it’s the film’s 85th anniversary, I decided to review it for him. Now, I have to get this out of the way, I absolutely adore this film. I consider it to be a classic, and one of the greatest “monster movies” ever, if not, the greatest “monster movie” ever. But what is it about? For you five people who have never heard of this legendary film, I’ll explain the plot.

Plot

The film takes place in the 1930s (obviously, as it was made in ‘33), and follows the fateful crew of one of the biggest risks in Hollywood history; filming an entire movie on an island nobody’s ever stepped foot on, known only as Skull Island. As they soon find out, there was a reason for that. Right when they get the right idea to leave, their leading lady (Ann Darrow, played by Fay Wray) gets kidnapped by the 25-foot hulking beast known as King Kong. Soon, it’s up to the cast and crew of this fated picture to save Ann, fighting monsters of mythical proportions along the way.

Positives

This film captures one thing perfectly; adventure. It feels like this entire film is a journey, and it’s exciting from beginning to end. And the creature effects are great too. Sure, they don’t look realistic (at all), but you can appreciate them in the sort of way you’d appreciate a stop-motion film. And the way they blend with the live-action actors is incredible too; again, not realistic, but still a wonder for the eyes. In fact, this film was the reason we have the best visual effects award at the Oscars, since they were so incredibly blown away by this film’s stop-motion techniques. And the effects aren’t the only crowning jewel; the acting is actually really good, something that isn’t seen much in effects-driven films. And the pacing is downright perfect; the film goes through it’s beginning, middle, and end seamlessly. This is something very few films have replicated, including this film’s eventual remakes and sequels. I could honestly praise this film forever, but I will admit that there is a slight problem I have with it.

Negatives

As great as the film is, I do sort of wish we got to know more about Kong himself. Sure, the 2005 version did this perfectly fine, but that film has a terrible problem with it’s pacing, and a very miscast Jack Black, so it does fail to compare with this film. But if you want the definitive Kong experience, I still recommend this classic.

Overall

For an effects-driven monster movie, King Kong is still a masterpiece. I absolutely adore this movie, (I even have a metallic poster of it (hard find)), So of course, I have to give this an 11/10. I highly recommend it, and I wish it was regarded as less of a dumb monster movie.