By Bill Dudley
One of the all time greatest “monster movies” dates back to 1933, when the original King Kong debuted. Film fans who remember seeing it recently or long ago are still captivated by its iconic scene as a monstrous gorilla dangles the young beauty Fay Wray from NY’s Empire State Building. Kong was captured from a desolate island in the Indian Ocean and exploited for profit until fate turns against those who captured him.
King Kong was originally conceived by Merian C. Cooper. It was one of the very first and most successful films of its genre, spawning several sequels including Son of Kong later that same year, King Kong vs Godzilla in 1962, and a total remake in 1976 starring Jeff Bridges and a very young Jessica Lange as the femme fatale. The little remembered King Kong Lives appeared in 1986, and Peter Jackson directed another remake of the original in 2005.
This weekend the brand new Kong: Skull Island debuts, and it may be the best Kong yet. A boasts a great cast including Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson (who is hilarious as an army colonel), and last year’s Oscar winning actress, Brie Larsen. The supporting actors are just as compelling, as well as King Kong himself.
Kong conquers many island villains including a wide array of dinosaurs, prehistoric birds, and people. But the giant can be a gentle one. After all, it is HIS island, and humans don’t really belong there. Five stars from me. The producers are counting on Kong: Skull Island being a big hit, as they are already working on the sequel, Godzilla Versus Kong, coming in 2020.