The Two Big Kongs

†††††††† Movie remakes sometimes improve upon a story, and other times they regurgitate it without bringing anything fresh to the table. No matter what the critical reaction to a remake, it is always compared and contrasted to earlier versions, and King Kong has certainly had its share of iterations. It is easy to see that the original 1933 version, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, and the 2005 version of King Kong directed by Peter Jackson, have many differences and similarities when it comes to story, acting, and visual effects.

†††††††† The stories of both King Kong movies were different and similar in many ways. The story of the original was much more quickly told but consisted of the same locational structure: boat, island, city. The original film of 1933 was much shorter than the Jackson movie in terms of length and scope, especially when it came to exploring the island and its many strange inhabitants and denizens. All in all the story and characters were almost identical, sometimes line-for-line, with a few extrapolations and twists; and the main difference was in regard to length and detail.

†††††††† The acting of both King Kong movies was different and similar in many ways. In the original the film was meant to be a suspense/action/adventure film, so the archetypal, manly heroes of the 1930ís were present. In the new film, however, the archetypal, manly hero turns out to be a showboating actor with no courage, while the meek guy gains the courage to save the girl, modernizing and twisting some stereotypes often to comic effect. The performances overall are capable of being a little more subtle with better sound and image technology today, but in terms of drama the acting of both films is well-done.

†††††††† The visual effects of both King Kong movies were different and similar in many ways. In 1933 the visual effects consisted of stop-motion animation for the large and scary beasts, projection effects to show scale, and large-scale models such as Kongís face and hand to show detail in interactive shots between actors and fantastical elements. In the modern film the techniques are much more advanced and seamless, with most work being done as 3D animation/compositing on computer, with lots of necessary compositing, green screen and large-scale models used or interactive shots.

†††††††† The original and the newest King Kong have many differences and similarities when it comes to story, acting, and visual effects. Many have complaints about both films. While many prefer the original and many prefer the new film, they offer different experiences that might be equally entertaining if one is willing to suspend disbelief long enough to become fully immersed in the fantastical world of Kong.

Eric Hovis

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