Wednesday, 3 November 2010

King Kong 1933

King Kong follows the troubles of a Hollywood filmmaker who needs to get to a location to create a masterpiece from which no one has seen before. Hiring a ship and crew and enticing a woman named Ann into being the lead of his film they head off to an island. At Skull Island the group witness the preparation for a sacrifice by the local natives they interrupt and the natives ask for a trade of Ann for six of their women. The group retreat back to the ship but the natives kidnap Ann and sacrifice her to Kong. Driscoll and Denham accompanied by the crew attempt to rescue Ann leading to some of the crew being killed, however Driscoll manages to find Ann and escape with Kong hot on their heels. Denham gases the beast and they take him back to New York in which Denham puts him on public exhibition which leads Kong to become frustrated and angry and breaking free from his captors. 

For its time the film must have been an incredible experience with amazing special effects such as stop-motion and rear projection. The creatures and the actors seem very integrated within the film and connecting with the believable performance of the actors the story seems all so realistic. The scene where Kong is throwing the crew into the pit below shows a massive part of the brilliant special effects that have been created and makers the scene flow seamlessly. What is amazing is the fact that Spielberg was inspired by the effects of this film and wanted to pay homage to the effects. Film 4 take note of the special effects: The film endures because of the timelessness of its central story and the care that went into its creation. Using then state-of-the-art special effects - rear projection and stop-motion animation, overseen by effects maestro Willis O'Brien - the film creates a wholly integrated world where the appearance of magical creatures makes absolute sense.

The story is something which always been used in films and novels, a beast falling in love with a beauty. Much like Beauty and the Beast the audience feels sorry for the Beast who shows their love for the beauty. Again taking note of the special effects the reason for the empathy that the audience show for Kong is because he is so well crafted in the use of miniatures and stop-motion combinations which aid into Kong's character development. The characters of the film are unable to sympathise with Kong as they don't witness what the audience is shown, as the camera focuses on certain parts where Kong is intrigued by Ann, sniffing her scent and understanding her clothing. John Nesbit takes note of the special effects which strengthen the development of Kong by saying:  '..... O'Brien elevates his stop-motion camera techniques to new levels of sophistication by giving his beast a sympathetic human soul to cry over when he finally topples off the Empire State Building. While difficult to conceive that a small "puppet" in the gigantic title role could carry the movie, that's what O'Brien achieves.'

The music of Kong is noted for being the invention of film music ' Max Steiner, who did the original musical score for "King Kong," is generally credited with having invented film music as we know it today...... Critics often cite Steiner's score for "Kong" as the first full-length score with musical cues to underline specific segments of the story.' An example of the 'musical cues' would be when the crew have just been spotted during the preparation of the sacrifice to Kong in which the tribe leader slowly descends the steps and a trumpet imitates the movement. This is key in the film because it gives the audience a definitive feeling towards the character which the music is accompanying especially with scenes with Kong where soft tones aid the audience in sympathising with him.

King Kong is a spectacle utilising the newest techniques of its time to provide a flowing picture and inventing the musical cues to aid the viewer in understanding what was happening in the film. It is outdated due to racial stereotypes but in recognition of its pace it can keep up with most of the films today because of the tense build up to the revelation of Kong. Although the character development between Kong and Ann isn't as strong as it is in Peter Jackson's 2005 effort the audience is still sympathetic to Kong and his efforts to risk his life in protection of Ann's.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Max - the tone/style of this review is much improved already; someone's been doing their homework - excellent stuff!