King Kong: Golden Simplicity versus Brassy Technology

         The 1933 edition of the film King Kong, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Earnest B. Schoedsack, was one of the first movies that we viewed in class that exhibited special effects. In the film, Kong, which is an enormous ape beast, and other creatures of an island, were specially created and shot in order to have a realistic and more believable effect. For its time King Kong was very successful, and the special effects were greatly known for making the movie. For years it has been referred to as an extremely well-known, popular movie. Recently in 2005, however, is has been re-made into a multi-million dollar film by director Peter Jackson, with much of the hype about the movie being related to the special effects, especially those of Kong himself. After viewing the 1933 version of King Kong, I watched the 2005 edition, and I must say that technology has come quite a long way in the past seventy years. However, regardless of the improved special effects in the latter Kong, I would rather watch the 1933 version of the film for its simplicity and originality.

         Even though the story line was not altered from the original, the 2005 King Kong just seemed much, much more intense of a film through the special effects. With the initial film, I felt fear of Kong and the other creatures that were introduced in the film; however, with the special effects in the remake, I actually felt intense anticipation for the rest of the film because Kong is portrayed as very fierce and the creatures are given much more character that makes me fear them as well. However, even with the intense feeling that it portrayed, I felt that Jackson spent more time trying to build a relationship between Kong and the character Ann, played by Naomi Watts, rather than to sticking to the originality of the 1933 film and making him a dangerous beast feared by all.

         The new King Kong has received much criticism due to the outrageous funding for such great special effects, and for the attempt to create a relationship between Kong and Ann. Likewise, with the first edition of King Kong, many people in class snickered at the creative attempts to use special effects. Basically between the two films it comes to the appreciation of the film itself. While Cooper and Scheodsack did not have the technology that is accessible to directors today, they still were able to portray a beast and give the audience a great movie; so great it has been remade time and time again. There was originality and creativeness in the concept of Kong as well as the creatures on the island that other directors cannot recreate even with the most advanced technology.

         While the special effects in the new King Kong were great and helped make the film more intense, I would still prefer the 1933 version of the film for its simplicity and originality.

Melissa Englert

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