By John H. Foote
(*) In theatres and streaming
Correct me if I am wrong, but in the original King Kong (1933), the great ape was about 25 to 30 feet tall. In the ill-fated remake I 1976 with Jessica Lange, it was about the same, and in Peter Jackson’s masterpiece of 2005, 25 feet was again, about the size of the ape.
So someone puh-lease, explain how in the holy hell did Kong become one hundred feet tall? Seriously, in this film he towers over skyscrapers, the type he once climbed, and s face to face with Godzilla, also a ridiculous one hundred feet tall. Did the monsters grow?? Was Kong in his infancy, because I understood he was the last of his kind in Jackson’s film??
The size thing threw me off from the very beginning and never lets up, I could not get past it. Nor could I get past the friendship the great ape has with a little girl, which reminded me of the 1966 animated series which opened with this song, you might remember
you know the name of,
King Kong, you know the name of,
King Kong, Ten times as big as a man….”
Available on YouTube, seeing old episodes of the animated King Kong brought back many Saturday morning memories. In that cartoon series the ape makes friends with Bobby, a 10-year-old boy who sees the gorilla as his big pet. Did they throw it all into the mix for this ridiculous film?
My God is this a stupid movie.
I will give the film this – you get exactly what the producers tell you are getting. It is a big monster clash, with buildings tumbling, helicopters flying away after being smashed, fires caused by the breath of Godzilla, and lots of decent actors standing around with their mouths agape. Cannot ask for more than that right?
Well I do. I ask for a great more than that.
Even a fantasy film can have something that resembles a strong narrative. The Lord of the Rings (2001-02-03) trilogy did, so did the remake of King Kong (2005) and Steven Spielberg’s E.T. – The Extraterrestrial (1982), each superbly written. It felt like this had been made up as they went along, as though the director were saying, “hey I just had an idea” and they shot it.
Did the actors in the film ever question what they were doing? Just once?? I think not, certainly not by seeing what is on the screen.
The story, or the slim narrative, sees the two monsters at war and beating the hell out of each other. Cities fall, armies are flattened, unable to stand a chance against the pair, and the world comes close to a perilous end. Turns out we need Kong, apparently more than we need Godzilla, but does it really matter? By the end of the film, we have seen enough chaos and destruction to do us five films.
Left over from the last Godzilla, King of the Monsters (2017) film is Milly Bobby Brown, growing into a fine actress badly in need of a decent screenplay. She has less to do than she did in the last film, and though she is a genuine talent, she cannot take away from the monsters. Who could?
If you go to see the film in a cinema, the scope and size will impress you, as will the sheer size of the monsters. Came away impressed with the visual effects but wondering, still, when did Kong grow? And more important why?
Is this really what is going to the great white hope of Hollywood in getting audiences back into the theatres??
Try harder gang.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.