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YMMV / King Kong

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  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: As a few film scholars have pointed out, beauty did not kill the beast. Colonialism did. Removing Kong from his natural habitat robbed him of the survival instincts necessary in keeping him alive. As such, the story can be seen as a strong allegory to white settlers ruining native lands, robbing its inhabitants of the very skills which kept them alive as long as they did and infecting them with their foreign illnesses.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The "Jungle Dance" music from the original. Also used as the background music to the "Eighth Wonder of the World" show in the 2005 remake. The tie-in game also has some epic music, particularly for the boss battles.
    • The 1933 soundtrack is still well regarded by both musicians and viewers.
    • The 1976 features John Barry in prime form, especially "Blackout in New York."
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The ice skating scene in New York. On the other hand, this doubles as a Heartwarming Moment or sad to many viewers.
    • The sudden giant snake in the 70s version. If dinosaurs/other giant animals showed up earlier it wouldn't be so odd.
    • Don Simpson's 1993 comic, adapted from the Delos W. Lovelace novelization, originally had a scene it where Kong destroys The Hindenburg. It got cut after Simpson decided it was in poor taste and too bizarre.
  • Designated Hero: Jack in the 2005 version. Most of the crew's deaths can be traced back to his obsession with saving Ann, and all the while, he constantly gets upstaged by both the titular ape and the snooty actor he didn't like. His decision to draw Kong away from Times Square probably causes more death and destruction than if he'd just let him be.
    • Denham in the original. The trip is his idea, as is the choice to bring the ape back to New York, where it promptly wreaks havoc and causes more deaths but he is never called out for his actions. Though at the end of it, he does appear apologetic and regretful of the whole thing.
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  • Ending Fatigue: One of the major problems many have cited of the 2005 remake was that many scenes went on far too long than needed, and its running time of over three hours wasn't really warranted.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: (1933) Charlie the cook, whose actor was credtied as "Victor Wong" and may have actually been Chinese-American, but whose portrayal is still considered offensive. Still doesn't prevent him from being competent (noticing Ann's missing first and immediately raising the alarm) or brave (challenging a dinosaur with nothing but a meat cleaver and coming out on top).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Captain Englehorn from the 2005 remake. Let's just say he Took a Level in Badass and leave it at that.
  • Fair for Its Day: Yes the original Charlie the Cook is pretty cringe-worthy but this is the 1930s and the guy is the first to notice Ann is missing, is willing to help go after Ann, and brave enough to swing his cleaver at a very angry dinosaur in the sequel. Plus in the same sequel he isn't excluded from the spoilers either.
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  • First Installment Wins: While there have been many sequels and remakes, the original 1933 film is the version most often spoken of by fans, with the 2005 one at a respectable second place.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The entire battle at the World Trade Center in the 1976 film is much creepier in the aftermath of September 11th.
    • Kong's more sympathetic portrayal and tragic death in the 2005 film is this in light of the Harambe shooting incident.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It Was His Sled: There aren't too many people who don't know how this story turns out.
  • Misaimed Fandom: For the 1933 Kong at least, to some extent. He does kill quite a few otherwise innocent people on both Skull Island and in New York when he breaks loose. He was meant to be sympathetic, but not to the extent that you should ignore his destructive qualities.
  • Narm:
    • Parts of the original as well, including the most blasé declaration of love ever.
    • The remake's reveal of the Skull Island's name is ridiculously over the top.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, generally thought to be one of the better licensed games out there.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The Stop Motion used for Kong and the dinosaurs in the original version to modern viewers who do not begin to comprehend the effort or complexity of what was done, focusing on the layman assessment of "It looks like clay". For the time, they were the best special effects around, some shots still astound modern special effects artists with their seemlessness and complexity. But it's doubly impressive considering that the alternative would have been lizards in makeup.
  • Sequelitis:
    • Of the different versions, the 1976 film gets the most flack for having several gratuitous changes and copious bits of 70's cheese peppering the run time.
    • Even if the 1976 version is not remembered too fondly, King Kong Lives is universally considered to be forgettable.
    • Son of Kong, while inferior to the first film by far, still manages to entertain. It helps that the cast has three major returns in it (Mr. Denham, the Skipper and Ethnic Scrappy Charlie the Cook) and Willis O'Brian returns for the special effects.
    • Toho too did a followup King Kong film after King Kong vs. Godzilla entitled King Kong Escapes which retreads a bit of the original film but throws in a Mad Scientist with a Robot Kong named Mechani-Kong who needs the real King Kong to Mine Radioactive Ore (as the Radiation was too much for his robot). Kong is captured but then the Title Drop happens and he has a huge fight against Mechani-Kong as they climb the Tokyo Tower.
  • Signature Line: "It was beauty that killed the beast."
  • Signature Scene:
    • Kong, woman in hand, on the roof of the tallest building in New York City and punching planes out of the air. Before he... you know.
    • The battle between Kong and the Tyrannosaurus rex on the island.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The King Kong Suit and half-second of stop motion in King Kong vs. Godzilla are universally seen as poor. Doesn't stop people from enjoying it, though.
    • The snake from the 1976 version could qualify, looking very stiff, robotic, and lifeless compared to the fairly realistic animatronic face and hands built into the Kong suit.
    • On the subject of Kong '76, there was the very literal failure though the highly publicized full-scale mechanical Kong armature, designed by Carlo Rambaldi and said to have cost nearly $1.4 million to build. Leading to makeup legend Rick Baker designing and donning the ape suit used for 95% of the movie. The mechanical Kong was only in one scene -his New York unveiling- and boy, can you tell.
    • Even the version of the Kong arm which was used in the (now retired) Universal theme park attraction was notoriously fake-looking.
    • They did build a to-scale animatronic of Kong's head and shoulders for the 1933 film. It has several quick appearances, the most notable being Kong's unveiling in new York and during his rampage in the native village (the close-ups where a villager is in his mouth). Though it was pretty motionless (only the eyes and mouth could move, and limited at that), it still worked fairly well by comparison.
    • While the 2005 version has some spectacular work done on Kong himself, there are some moments where it becomes obvious the actors were green-screened. The Brontosaurus chase and parts of the New York climax in particular are guilty of this.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • The Cook played by Andy Serkis in 2005 version. What's worse is the method he dies. He gets attacked by large worms that eat him limb by limb digesting him in a slow and painful manner.
    • The One-Scene Wonder sergeant in a deleted scene of the 2005 film.
    • Carnahan in the '76 movie.
    • Kong himself also qualifies in all versions of the story.
  • Uncanny Valley: Kong's eyes in the 1976 version are disturbingly human-like, owing to it being Rick Baker in an ape suit.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • For 1933, anyway. The stop-motion effects were so impressive they got a kid named Ray Harryhausen interested in making that a career. There are still cinemaphiles and effects experts impressed with how Willis O'Brien made his effects.
    • The 2005 film has amazing CGI/motion capture effects. It rightfully won the Oscar for Visual Effects (it also won for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing and was also nominated for Art Direction)
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Modern audiences might find the crew's eagerness to shoot the stegosaurus somewhat jarring.
    • Kong's Hollywood Natives worshipers in all films are insensitive by modern standards, which was made worse in the 2005 version where they are completely dehumanized and feral savages.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?:
    • The original 1933 version is subject to this. Not only are there a lot of death scenes, they're surprisingly brutal! The stereotypical natives and the scene where Kong undresses Ann do not help.
    • The 1976 version gets this, owing to Dwan getting undressed in a more explicit manner and Kong's rather bloody death scene.
    • The 2005 version, while not exactly created with kids in mind, gets this owing to its brutal violence and the rather sad demise of the more sympathetic Kong.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Jack Black as Carl Denham, though his performance is enjoyed by some.
  • The Woobie: Kong himself. He's always portrayed as a tragic monster who gets caught up in the activities of humans, while he just wants to be left in peace. While implied in earlier films, in most subsequent reboots it's made explicit that he's the Last of His Kind. The 2005 version is probably the most sympathetic, since we see that all his family have been dead for a long time and he is clearly worn down from years of battles alone in a savage environment, with Ann likely his only companion in years.


Example of: