Franchise Evolution: King Kong (part 3 of 5)

Franchise Evolution: King Kong (part 3 of 5)

King Kong (2005)

This brings us to Peter Jackson, a longtime fan of the original, who had wanted to remake the film for quite some time. In 2005, he got his chance when he followed up his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy with a faithful adaptation/extension of the 1933 original.

Unlike the 1976 version, it’s set in the ‘30s, and follows the plot of the original carefully, while also making some additions of its own. Jackson’s attention to detail is fantastic as usual, but in this case it’s at the service of a story that’s already been told perfectly. If anything, it sticks to the original a little too closely.

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Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Franchise Evolution: King Kong

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  • Sofie Liv

    Enjoyed the article, I actually didn’t know of the 70′ version.

    But I guess I didn’t miss much, so that is all fine. It was an impressive experience to watch the 2005 kong in cinema as a teenager having very little prior knowledge, had barely begun my “Watching old movies.” regime back then.

    • Ed

      Thanks, the 1976 version is worth a look providing you have a thing for bad movies and two and a quarter hours you don’t want anymore.

  • Nick

    Good article, but calling Logan’s Run a cheesy sci-fi film! Tsk tsk

  • Jake

    The 1933 original will always be King (pun intended). The 2005 version didn’t do anything for me (I HATED those worms), and the only good thing about the 1976 version was that both Jeff Bridges & Jessica Lange would go on to win Oscars.

  • Sillstaw

    Being on this site has warped my mind. Reading this actually made me want to check out the 70s Kong.

    I’ve seen the original. No particular urge to see the Peter Jackson version (I still haven’t seen “Two Towers” or “Return of the King”). But the 70s version sounds fascinatingly awful.

    Also, not that there was a good way to insert it into the text, but I was wondering if you knew about when MCA Universal tried to bully Nintendo into giving up all the money they’d made off “Donkey Kong” because it was an obvious “King Kong” rip-off… only for Nintendo to point out in court that Universal proved the “King Kong” property was public domain so they could make the 70s version.

  • handsome pete

    Maybe when Doug Walker did his comparison of Kong ’33 and Kong ’05, he should have thrown in Kong ’76. Though I can understand why he didn’t.

  • Sunrise089

    Great and thorough article!

  • The ’33 Kong is “a masterpiece of screenwriting”…?…. Really? What a complete buffoon. Sexism and racism are celebrated in this otherwise underwhelming product of the 30’s. Women are degraded and slapped. Blacks are portrayed by mostly white actors and King Kong makes ‘Land of the Lost’ look believable. Speaking of ‘Land of the Lost’, had Universal had their way that’s EXACTLY what you would have gotten if Kong was made by them in the mid 70’s. You likely would have destroyed that version as well. It’s funny how fan boys close their eyes to the most painfully obvious of shortcomings when they rate their favorite eye candy. An impossibly incompetent and limited review of film that speaks more to the intellectual shortcomings of it’s author, than to the merits or critiques of any product referenced here.

    • Cristiona

      Toss in a few more attacks on Ed’s person. You aren’t coming across as completely unhinged, just mostly.

    • Xander

       While I don’t agree with the way you say it, I somewhat agree with what I think you’re trying to say.

      The portrayal of the natives on the island was rather uncomfortable to watch (blackface or not).  I get that in 1933 the view of your typical American toward the uncivilized Natives would be ambivalent at best, but this movie pushed its stereotyping of the ignorant natives. And the comic relief sailor…?  The less said, the better.

      As for sexism, I’ll have to politely disagree.  Certainly, some of the characters in the movie are very sexist toward the heroine, but they’re generally treated as the more ignorant types; the heroine is a strong, independent woman for the most part.

  • Elfshotthefood

    The 1976 version was so heavily-hyped prior to release. Needless to say, it didn’t deliver. The only thing I remember about it was when Jessica Lange came out onto the deck of the ship and asked “How do you like my outfit?”

    Some guy in the back row of the theater yelled “It’s not cut low enough!” I think that was the only time the audience reacted in any way.

  • JamSanJose

    And Star Wars wins the Oscar for special effects the very next year. Talk about a huge leap forward in quality.

    • Ed

      And then some.

  • Cristiona

    Heh. Andy Serkis is some kind of bizarre motion capture savant. It’s not surprising he knocked it out of the park with Kong.

  • GG

    Damn, I saw the special edition ’33 King Kong for sale at FYE for 8 bucks. Now I regret not buying it. >.<

  • Nixeclips

    Actually, I believe Dino said: “When-a Konk die, everybody cry.”