Franchise Evolution: King Kong (part 1 of 5)
King Kong may be the perfect monster movie plot. It has compelling and interesting characters, a terrific monster (creature may be the better term to use here, since Kong is hardly a typical monster), and the opportunity for some great special effects as well as genuine emotion.
There have been three main versions of the story, as well as several offshoots/sequels. The character himself has become a cultural icon, appearing in movies, animated TV series, books, comics, theme park attractions, you name it. Chances are the big ape has had pretty much every sort of merchandising related to him.
We’ll be focusing on the movies today, and I assume everyone has seen at least one version of the story, but for those who haven’t: First off, in two out of three cases you’re missing out, especially if you haven’t seen the original. And second, it goes something like this:
- Film crew wants to make a movie (or an oil company is looking for oil, in the ’76 version), picks up girl, who falls in love with the secondary male lead.
- Crew goes to mysterious island where girl is captured by natives.
- Girl meets Kong.
- Kong falls for girl and fights dinosaurs.
- Girl gets rescued and Kong gets captured.
- Kong gets put on display, gets pissed, and escapes with girl after wrecking a bunch of stuff.
- Kong climbs to top of the Empire State Building (or in the case of the ’76 version, the World Trade Center) with girl, is shot off by planes (helicopters in the ’76 version), and falls to his death.
- As Dino DeLaurentiis said during the making of the 1976 version, “When monkey die, everybody cry.”
With that out of the way, let’s peel this banana.