King Kong (2005 film)

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Template:Infobox Film King Kong is the Academy Award-winning 2005 remake of the original 1933 King Kong about a fictional giant ape called Kong. This 2005 version was directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Jackson and Fran Walsh, and written by Jackson, Walsh and Philippa Boyens. The cast includes Naomi Watts in the role of Ann Darrow, Jack Black as Carl Denham, Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll, and through performance capture, Andy Serkis as Kong. Much of the crew had previously worked on Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, with the notable exception of the composer James Newton Howard, who replaced Jackson's Lord of the Rings collaborator Howard Shore due to "differing creative aspirations for the score of King Kong."Template:Fact

Filming was done in Miramar, New Zealand, and the film was released on December 14, 2005. It was rated PG-13 in the US, and 12A in the UK for frightening adventure violence and some disturbing images.

The film consists of three sections: the preparations and boat trip, the time on Kong's island and the scenes in New York after the return, with the middle section spanning almost half the film and the other two sections almost one hour long.

King Kong won three Oscars, for sound editing, sound mixing, and visual effects. The DVD version was released on March 28 2006 in the USA. It was released in the UK on April 10.

  • Tagline: The Eighth Wonder of the World

Contents

Story

Image:KingKong1.jpg Carl Denham is a documentary filmmaker whose penchant for "safari films" does not go over well with his studio bosses who prefer to see him turn in a romance film for a change. When he discovers that they would rather sell his films off as stock footage than fund his latest movie, Denham steals the film and quickly organizes to leave for his next shoot immediately. Still in need of a leading lady, along the way he meets Ann Darrow, an unemployed vaudeville actress whose theatre was recently closed down due to lack of money. He convinces Ann to join him in his latest movie endeavour and boards a tramp steamer with her; Jack Driscoll — a hapless playwright who has written part of the screenplay - is tricked by Denham into joining the journey in order to finish the story. The ship leaves just in time for Denham to escape the police, who have been sent by Denham's angry studio bosses, and sets off on a voyage to what Ann and Jack believe to be Singapore.

Along the way, Denham reveals they're actually heading for Skull Island, a place unknown to the outside world that Denham believes will make for some spectacular footage for his production. Although the captain of the steamer voices his concerns about their destination, he sets out to find the island anyway. Meanwhile Ann, a fan of Jack's plays, falls in love with the playwright. Eventually, Jack tells her that he's writing a stage comedy for her, and ends up kissing her.

Eventually Captain Englehorn discovers Denham has an arrest warrant out for him and decides to change course and head to Rangoon for the sake of his crew. However, a thick fog sets in and they find themselves at the island, crashing the boat into massive rocks. Image:Kingkong20051.jpg As the steamer's crew try to fix the ship, Denham, Ann, Jack and the film crew go ashore where they are ambushed by a mob of angry natives. Denham's sound recordist and a crew member are killed, but Denham and the rest of the landing party are saved by Captain Englehorn. They return to the boat and make preparations to leave, but a native slips on board and kidnaps Ann. She is soon tied up and strapped to a wooden frame that juts across the other side of a massive wall which separates the natives from the rest of the island. The ship's crew arm themselves and attempt a rescue mission, but are too late as Carl watches Ann get taken away by a giant ape.

The crew discover that the ape, named "Kong" by the natives, lives in a massive jungle where prehistoric creatures have been protected and hidden for millions of years. After some discussion, the captain allows Denham and Jack to go look for her, with 15 armed crewmen as bodyguards. As they trek through the jungle, the crew has a number of dangerous encounters with the local fauna, escaping from a Brontosaurus stampede and an attack on the herd by a pack of Venatosaurus, but 4 of them are killed, including Denham's cameraman. When they are crossing a log bridge, Kong arrives and knocks the bridge down a ravine. Several crewmen are killed by the fall (including Choy, the only crew member other than Jimmy and Lumpy to have his name spoken in the film), and the survivors find themselves trapped in a ravine with giant invertebrates, including giant maggot-like Carnictis (which kill Lumpy, the ship's cook), crickets-like Weta Rexes, giant land crabs, and many Arachno-Claws that look like a cross between a spider and a scorpion. Most of the remaining crew are killed, but the survivors are rescued by Captain Englehorn. Alone, Jack continues his determined search for Ann whilst Denham (whose camera and film were destroyed in the fall down the ravine), decides to capture Kong and bring him back to New York City. Image:Annkkvr.jpg

Meanwhile, Kong brings Ann to his home high up on a cliff. In an attempt to keep Kong from killing her, Ann dances and does tricks, which amuses Kong, but when Ann stops, Kong becomes angry, and after failing to intimidate her, he leaves. Ann takes the opportunity to escape, but is attacked by a Foetodon. A Vastatosaurus rex dinosaur shows up and kills it, but then chases Ann. Escaping the first, she runs into another, which tries to eat her as well. Kong shows up and attacks the two V-Rexs, before another one shows up. In fighting the dinosaurs, Kong keeps Ann from being eaten alive. After the battle, he carries Ann back to his cliff while Ann falls asleep in his hand.

Eventually, Jack finds Ann and wakes her up, they escape while Kong is busy defending himself from an attack by giant bats. Kong catches up to them, but Denham and the surviving crew members are waiting and attempt to capture Kong, but Kong breaks free of the trap. At the last minute, Denham successfully captures Kong by smashing a bottle of chloroform across his face. He announces his plans to display Kong as 'the eighth wonder of the world'.

Months later in New York City, Ann is an anonymous chorus line dancer (after refusing large sums to appear on stage with Kong), while the lovelorn Jack watches a comedy he wrote whose lead role was meant for her. Denham puts the shackled and captive Kong on display in front of a large audience on Broadway, insisting that the chains holding him are "made of chrome steel". Angered by the fake "Ann" presented before him, and intimidated and frightened by the press flashbulbs, Kong breaks free from his chains, charges into the crowd, and runs amok in Times Square searching for Ann. Jack attempts to draw Kong away from crowded areas, and a hectic car chase through the streets ensues, which ends with Kong almost killing Jack. Ann then approaches Kong, calming him down, and they wander into Central Park where he slides around with her on the ice in a brief moment of happiness. Moments later, they are ambushed by the Army, who attack Kong with machine gun fire and artillery rounds. Reminiscent of his cliff-dwelling, Kong escapes to the Empire State Building, which he proceeds to climb, with one hand, holding Ann gently in the other. Image:Beau-ti-ful.jpg Kong and Ann take in the sunrise at the top of the building but soon enough, six biplanes (Curtis Helldivers) appear and fire at Kong. Ann wants to stay with him but Kong puts her down, climbing to the top of the skyscraper as the planes attack. Ann tries to climb higher to save him, waving at the biplanes to stop. Above her, Kong manages to destroy three of the planes, but is repeatedly strafed and machine-gunned by them. Mortally wounded, Kong eventually succumbs to his injuries, and falls, riddled with bullets, to his death.

Jack rushes up to the building to comfort Ann after Kong falls, while Carl Denham arrives at the scene where reporters, police, soldiers, and bystanders crowd around Kong's body. Gazing upon Kong's corpse, he notes that it wasn't the planes that killed Kong, but rather "It was beauty killed the beast".

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Budget and business

The film's budget climbed from an initial $150 million US to a record-breaking $207 million, making it, by a small margin, the most-expensive film ever made in terms of current money spent and the sixth-most expensive film adjusted for inflation. Universal Studios only agreed to such an outlay after seeing a screening of the unfinished film, to which executives responded enthusiastically. In addition, it is estimated that marketing and promotion costs exceeded $100 million.<ref>http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,178983,00.html</ref>

With a rather modest $9.7 million box office on its opening day, King Kong failed to live up to its pre-release hype, and did not meet expectations of Universal Studios executives. It had an opening weekend of $50.1 million, good for most movies, but short of the inflated expectations caused by the movie's enormous budget and marketing campaign. It opened to over $15 million less than its only serious challenger, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, did during its opening weekend one week earlier.

As of April 9, 2006, the film has grossed $218.1 million in the United States (putting it in the top five grossing films of 2005 domestically <ref>http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2005&p=.htm</ref>) and approximately an additional $329.2 million outside North America, leading to a worldwide total of $547.3 million. It is a general rule of thumb that a big-budget movie must earn at least twice its production and promotion budget to break even. In the case of King Kong, that would mean $600 million, considerably more than what it is expected to earn at the box office.

Other factors affect a film's profitability besides box office:

  • As of April 3 King Kong sold more than 6.5 million DVDs, generating $100 million in the largest six-day performance in Universal Studios history.
  • Universal will earn a certain amount of revenue from home television rights, advertising tie-ins (such as Burger King's King Kong-themed commercials), and other sources; however, they will pay a certain amount of gross and net revenues to producers and members of the cast and crew. These figures, which, unlike box office revenue, are not a matter of public record, will ultimately determine King Kong's financial success or failure from Universal's point of view.

Critical reaction

King Kong received a favourable critical response, garnering an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes <ref>http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/king_kong/</ref>. The most common criticisms of the film were: excessive length, over-use of slow motion, overly sentimental scenes, and several moments where the audience was aware of CGI effects. Positive critical reviews regarded it as one of the few good epics and all-round best movies of 2005. Both Roger Ebert and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave it their highest rating. Similarly, King Kong has been included in some critics' Top Ten of 2005 lists<ref>http://www.moviecitynews.com/awards/2006/top_tens/critics_01.html</ref>. The film received four Academy Award nominations for visual effects, art direction, sound mixing, and sound editing, winning all of them except for art direction<ref>http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4665684.stm</ref>.

Marketing campaign

Image:King kong peter jackson brisbane.PNG The marketing campaign for King Kong started in full swing on 28 June 2005, when the teaser trailer made its debut, first online at the official Volkswagen website at 8:45 pm EST, then 8:55 pm EST across media outlets owned by NBC-Universal, including NBC, Bravo!, CNBC and MSNBC. That trailer appeared in theatres attached to War of the Worlds, which opened on 29 June.

Jackson regularly published a series of 'Production Diaries', which chronicled the making of the film. The diaries started shortly after the DVD release of The Return of the King as a way to give Jackson's The Lord of the Rings fans a glimpse of his next project. These diaries are edited into broadband-friendly installments of three or four minutes each. They consist of features that would normally be seen in a making-of documentary: a tour of the set, a roving camera introducing key players behind the scene, a peek inside the sound booth during last-minute dubbing, or Andy Serkis doing his ape movements in a motion capture studio.

The production diaries were released on DVD on December 13, one day before the U.S. release of the film.

In a unique co-promotion, New York State held a special King Kong lottery game in which tickets were sold for a one time drawing to be held on December 5, 2005 offered a grand prize of $50 million and several second prizes of $1 million.

3D version

The BBC and Hollywood Reporter disclosed in late November that a 3D version of the film was proceeding on a test basis, with a spring or summer release planned. This has been officially disclaimed by Universal Studios, however, it is a fact that both Shrek and Terminator 2: Judgment Day had short 3D versions made for the Studio as theme park attractions. With 7 animation features coming out in 2006 in 3D, it is somewhat likely that a 3D version might be created. The film is more than 90% CGI mastered, so converting the scene to 3D is largely a software exercise, with some creative work required for the closer shots of actors. All the face shots of Kong can be "3D-ised" from the original animation files. It is estimated that the conversion will cost about 10 million dollars, due to the great length of the movie. (3 hours 8 minutes)

Comparison to the 1933 film

The 2005 version follows the overall pattern of the original film closely, but changes some details and adds considerably more background and depth to the characters:

  • Unlike the original, the existence of Kong is unknown to Carl Denham before he reaches Skull Island; his reasons to look for the island is to film a land unknown to modern eyes. Along with his desire for fame, fortune and acceptance by his peers, his motivation to capture Kong later in the film is also linked to the deaths of his cameraman and sound recordist, and the destruction of the footage he had already shot.
  • The remake does not explain where and from whom Denham got the map and coordinates of Skull Island, nor who made the map or found the island in the first place. (The "prequel" novel, King Kong: The Island of the Skull, fills in those missing pieces of information, but the novel's status as canon is currently unclear.).
  • In the 1933 version, the natives look rather like Papuans, and speak a (fictional) language akin to Indonesian, which Captain Englehorn was familiar with and able to translate. The natives in the 2005 version are not clearly linked to any real culture.
  • The fates of the other sacrificial women before Ann is unrevealed in the 1933 original. The 2005 remake shows a pile of human bones along with necklaces like the one Ann was given to wear, only a short distance from the wall, suggesting Kong killed them (Lumpy the Cook, upon finding the bone pile, exclaims "They've been ripped limb from limb!"). However, in the case of Ann, he shows an interest in her hair (which is unlike that of the natives) from the start, which may be his reason not to kill her.
  • Statues and effigies that resemble gorillas are visible on the rocks along the coast, and on the ruins scattered all over the island, hinting at a deeper connection with the long-dead civilization than was shown in the 1933 original.
  • Kong is depicted as a more physically accurate (while very stylized) gorilla in the 2005 version than in either the 1933 original or the 1976 version (both completely stylized instead of realistic).
  • In the 2005 version, Ann is changed into a struggling vaudeville actress with surprising inner-courage, self-control, and ability to think fast, who charms Kong by first entertaining him with her acrobatic skills, and then standing up to him.
  • Jack Driscoll is changed from the ship's first mate to a playwright and screenwriter. Also, in the 1933 version, Jack Driscoll is a brawny, brash character, while in the 2005 rendition, he is a lot less built-up, quieter, and seemingly more intelligent.
  • The character of Ann Darrow is also distinctly different. In the 1933 version, she is depicted as a typical dumb blond of Hollywood, whilst in the 2005 version, she is much smarter, and rather than just be scared of Kong at first, she stands up to him. The most noticeable difference is that she feels affection for Kong. The 1933 version's Darrow never seems to grasp that Kong is protecting her, and that her very survival on Skull Island depends on Kong's protection.
  • Rather than being a successful director as in the 1933 version, Denham is depicted as a struggling one with little to no support or respect for his efforts. And while both versions of Denham are reckless risk-takers, the 2005 Denham crosses over into criminal action and close to callous disregard.
  • In the original movie, Carl Denham and Captain Englehorn are old friends. In the remake, Denham and Englehorn are working together for the first time, and Englehorn can barely tolerate Denham.
  • Peter Jackson took the character of burly, gruff, lovesick sailor Jack and split him into three characters: Bruce Baxter, the vain yet kind-to-Ann actor, Ben Hayes, the grim, tough first mate of the ship, and Jack Driscoll the shy and lovesick playwright.
  • Both films have the character of Weston, the theatrical agent. In the original film, Weston represents Denham, while in the 2005 film, Weston has no connection to Denham, but is consulted by Ann for an audition in Driscoll's play.
  • The 2005 film emphasises the poverty of Depression-era New York more than the original.
  • The 2005 film includes a sequence in which the explorers are attacked by giant insects after Kong makes them fall into the chasm. This is based on a sequence that was cut from the original film (as it was felt to distract from the battle between Kong and the Tyrannosaurus) and has been lost ever since. What remains in the 1933 film implies that all the men were killed immediately by the fall, while the 2005 film goes to great detail to show how some of them had their falls broken without serious injuries. Peter Jackson has recreated the original bug sequence for a special feature on the DVD of the 1933 film.
  • The battle between Kong and the three Vastatosaurs (killing one with a boulder) is not only based on the original film's Tyrannosaur battle, but also a scene in the original script of the 1933 film, in which Kong battles against three Triceratops, with Kong using boulders as weapons. It is unknown whether the battle against the three Triceratops was ever actually shot, but it was included in the novelization of the original film.
  • In the 1933 film, Ann Darrow was simply terrified of Kong. In the remake, she comes to sympathise with him and even feel affection, to the extent that she tries to stop his capture, and then save his life in New York.
  • Kong is seen overtly killing fewer people in the 2005 film, however the fates of the many he has put in harm's way (such as the women he mistakes for Ann or the numerous automobile accidents he causes) are not disclosed to the audience.
  • Kong savagely bites several people to death in the 1933 film, and does the same thing at least once in the 2005 film.
  • For decades, writers have commented on the 1933 Kong's very poor ability to distinguish individual humans (i.e. briefly mistaking dark-haired women for Ann Darrow). The 2005 Kong is shown to be very capable of recognizing individual humans, and not just Ann (while still making "honest mistakes"). One of the most noticeable cases of Kong being able to recognize people is when he spots Jack in New York, and chases him, almost killing him in the end.

References to the 1933 version

  • This version of the film is set in the original film's then-contemporary setting of 1933.
  • The background under the main titles at the beginning and end of the movie is the same as the background of the 1933 RKO film.
  • When Denham is considering who to play the part before meeting Ann, he suggests "Fay," but his assistant replies, "She's doing a picture with RKO." Music from the 1933 original comes on, and Denham mutters, "Cooper, huh? I might have known." Fay Wray starred in the 1933 film, which was directed by Merian C. Cooper and released by RKO.
  • The 2005 remake, in a different way, also quotes the fake "Arabian proverb" about "beauty and the beast" that Merian C. Cooper made up in his 1933 film.
  • The end credits of Peter Jackson's remake concludes with a dedication to the stars and creators of the original movie (Wray, Armstrong, Cooper, Schoedsack, O'Brien, and Steiner, but excludes Cabot), and refers to them as, "The Original Adventurers of Skull Island."
  • The name of the boat Denham and his crew take to Skull Island is the Venture, just as in the original film.
  • In the original, a bystander mentions that the Venture has so many men aboard, there's no place to sleep. The 2005 version makes light of this comment by having Driscoll boarded in an animal cage in the hold.
  • Both versions have the story about the Norwegian ship finding a castaway from Skull Island, but is told very differently in each film.
  • During the ship voyage, Denham films a conversation between his stars Ann Darrow and Bruce Baxter. The dialogue used is from the meeting between Ann Darrow and Jack Driscoll in the original 1933 film.
  • The first line of the 1933 film, "Is this the moving picture ship?" is included in this version, spoken this time by Ann.
  • The original Max Steiner score can be heard peppered throughout the movie, with the most notable cue accompanying the "Kong on Stage" scene.
  • In the original, Denham - unlike Ann and Driscoll - is never seen making any physical contact with Kong in the entire movie, even when he gets close enough to do so. Peter Jackson's movie kids around with this with Denham going, "I am touching the beast! I am actually laying my hand on the 25 foot gorilla!"
  • The scene in which Ann tries to steal an apple and a deleted scene in which Denham tells Ann to scream at an unseen monster are recreated from the original film.
  • Another deleted scene in the 2005 remake comes just after the rescue party escaped the brontosaurus stampede: they then try to cross a swamp on some improvised rafts, and then are attacked by a water creature of the name Piranhadon Titanis in the official book, The World of Kong. This is similar to the raft scene in the 1933 original, which lead to the (very inaccurate) brontosaurus attack there.
  • During the pileup that concludes the brontosaur stampede, a couple of the men's screams are from the original film.
  • At the diner, Denham assures Ann "I'm on the level; no funny-business." This line was in the 1933 movie.
  • Denham's movie camera is the same model Bell & Howell 35mm in both the 1933 and 2005 films, but is considerably more battered and weather-beaten in the remake, reflecting his desperate and less-successful status compared to the original movie.
  • Kong's New York stage appearance looks very much like a re-enactment of the sacrifice scene of the 1933 film, including the posts the 'beauty' is tied to and the nearly identical performance and costumes of the dancers.
  • Both times Carl Denham assures his theater audience that everything is all right because Kong's "...chains are made of chromed steel."
  • The line before Kong breaks his chains, "Let him roar. It makes a swell picture," is in both films, but is spoken by Denham in the remake.
  • The Pepsodent, Chevrolet, and Coca Cola advertisements in New York's Times Square are present in both films.
  • Grenade-type bombs are glimpsed among the bottles of chloroform in the Venture's hold. The bombs are identical to the "gas bombs" from the 1933 movie, and were reported to be original 1933 Kong props in Peter Jackson's own collection.
  • The scene in which Kong breaks the V-Rex's jaw and then plays with it mimics a similar moment in the original 1933 film.
  • After the crew captures Kong on the beach, Denham speaks the line: '"The whole world will pay to see this! We're millionaires, boys! I'll share it with all of you. In a few months, his name will be up in lights! KONG, THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD!"' The same line is in the original 'Kong.'
  • The Bruce Baxter character is based on the actor Bruce Cabot, who played Jack Driscoll in the original 1933 film. In an interview Peter Jackson did with Fay Wray when preparing for making the movie, she described Cabot as a vain ladies man, more interested in chasing women than acting. Actor Kyle Chandler portrays Bruce Baxter as both spitting image and parody of Cabot.
  • Elevated subways are shown, but not attacked.
  • The shots, lighting, and music emphasize the Empire State Building.
  • In the finale atop the Empire State Building, Peter Jackson has a small role as one of the pilots who shoots down Kong. This is a reference to the original, in which Merian C. Cooper has a similar cameo as a pilot. Ernest B. Schoedsack also appeared with Cooper as his rear-gunner. In Jackson's film, Rick Baker, who played Kong (in a rubber suit) in the 1976 remake, also does a cameo with the biplanes.
  • The last line, in which Carl Denham reflects that 'it was beauty killed the beast', remains the same in both versions (though unlike the original, he does not say it to anyone in particular, and nobody in the entire crowd actually hears him).
  • Just as in the original, the audience is not given a clear view of Kong's face in death.

Comparisons to the 1976 remake

  • The 1933 original gives no explanation why Kong climbs the Empire State Building. Both remakes provide explanations for why Kong climbs up their respective buildings.
  • In both remakes, just before Kong appears for the first time in front of Ann or Dwan, there are shots from Kong's point-of-view as he pushes through the jungle towards the wall. In the original, there is no POV from Kong before he appears.
  • The elaborate stage show featuring a re-enactment of the offering of a woman to Kong, complete with an adventurer in safari helmet, is not in the original version but is seen in the 1976 version and the 2005 version.
  • The relationship between Ann and Kong in the 2005 remake is closer to the relationship of Dwan and Kong in the 1976 film than to the original. In the 1933 film, Ann is deathly afraid of Kong, cannot wait to be rescued and joins in the gawking at him on Broadway. In 1976, as in 2005, Kong is intrigued by his fair-haired captive because she has no fear in confronting him. As a result, she develops an affection for the beast and is saddened at his demise. In both remakes, she uses his fascination for her as a way to calm him down with her mere appearance.
  • The sympathetic depiction of Kong in the 2005 version is more similar to the 1976 remake than the 1933 original. In the 1933 film, Kong is arguably depicted as a simple monster justly destroyed by the machines of civilized man (although many viewers find him sympathetic despite the upbeat tone of the film's ending). In contrast, the 1976 film indicates Kong's fate is linked to 'civilisation's exploitation of the natural world, personified by the Denham equivalent, Wilson, who is killed by Kong, a comeuppance to be expected in a pro-environment film; in addition, the "good" characters of the 1976 version end up rooting for Kong on the basis that he was plucked from his natural environment against his will. Similar themes are found in the 2005 remake, which makes the audience sympathise with Kong's plight (although Denham does not die at the end).
  • As in the 1976 version, reporters/photographers stand on the fallen Kong's chest.
  • In both versions it is Jack who discovers that the natives have kidnapped the girl.
  • The search party still have their weapons at the log bridge in both remakes, and both times they unwisely start shooting while standing on the log instead of going back across first.
  • Both versions have the first mate killed during the "Log Scene".
  • Both remakes specifically use chloroform to subdue Kong. The original is vague as to what "gas" was used in the bombs.
  • In the 1976 version the ship which discovers Skull Island, the "Petrox Explorer", sails from the Indonesian port of Surabaya. In the 2005 remake, the Venture has "Surabaya" (of the Netherlands East Indies in 1933) labeled as its home port.
  • Although not referred to by name in the movie itself, in the official novelisation one of the "Venture" crew members who dies on Skull Island is named Carnahan. Carnahan was the name of the first mate in the 1976 version.

Other comparisons and references

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  • Ann Darrow's vaudeville act looks like an imitation of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp.
  • The music upon the first sighting of dinosaurs is inspired by the music of the BBC series Walking with dinosaurs.
  • The bats that attack King Kong look a lot like the first movie version of Dracula, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, especially from the artwork in an original German theater-poster made for the movie in 1922.
  • Driscoll's "comedy" performed at the end bears a striking resemblance to Brandon Thomas's 1892 farce Charley's Aunt
  • The South-Pacific (Maori) crew-member somewhat resembles Queequeg from Moby Dick. Many other Moby Dick references are made, such as King Kong's slanted jaw, the resemblance of Carl Denham to a Captain Ahab figure, and the harpoon used during the scene in which they capture Kong.

Bestiary

Apart from Kong, Skull Island is also inhabited by dinosaurs and other large fauna. However, though they may look similar, they are not the familiar species. Inspired by the works of Dougal Dixon, the designers have imagined what 65 million years or more of isolated evolution would have done to the dinosaurs. Naturally, the creatures are presented as more scientifically accurate than those portrayed in the 1933 version. The names of these and hundreds of other beasts are found in the book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island.

Fictional dinosaurs and other reptiles

  • Venatosaurus saevidicus ("Furious Hunter-lizard"): 16-24 feet (5-7 m) long. These are the carnivorous dinosaurs that cause the Brontosaur stampede. They appear to be descended from dromaeosaurids, such as Velociraptor and Utahraptor.
  • Foetodon ferreus ("Cruel Stinking-tooth"): 15-20 feet (5-7 m) long. [Originally called "Wetasaurus", in reference to Weta Digital.] The carnivorous reptiles that attempted to kill Ann after she escaped from Kong, with one killed by a V-rex. Quite possibly evolved from a crocodilian ancestor rather than a dinosaur ancestor, resembling prehistoric creatures such as Megalania, Postosuchus, and Deinosuchus, which were all not dinosaurs.
  • Brontosaurus baxteri ("Baxter's Thunder-lizard"): 80-120 feet (24-36 m) long. It is the largest creature on Skull Island. Descended from Apatosaurus, or similar sauropods. Apparently named from actor Bruce Baxter.
  • Ligocristus innocens ("Hoe-crest"): 26-34 feet (7-10 m) long. A hadrosaurid (dinosaur with a "duck-bill" shaped snout), possibly the dead carcass being eaten by the Foetodon that Ann encounters, or else in a deleted scene. The name and description is found on the official website, implying that it's somewhere on film. Described as being the most common prey for Skull Island's predators. Seemed to have decended from Parasaurolophus.
  • Vastatosaurus rex ("Ravager-lizard king"): 40-50 feet (12-18 m) long. Very closely resembles its ancestor, Tyrannosaurus rex (T-rex), except that V-rex is far more massive (approximately 10 feet taller and 20 feet longer than the T-Rex), and has three fingers (instead of two), modified teeth, an armoured skull, and particularly large feet. Vastatosaurus is the biggest predator on Skull Island, and the primary enemy of King Kong.
  • Ferrucutus cerastes ("Horned Iron-hide"): 24-34 feet long. A ceratopsid dinosaur only seen for a brief moment in the movie. It is not included in the official website, but described in the tie-in book, The World of Kong. Apparently descended from cerotopsids such as Torosaurus, Centrosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Anchiceratops and Pentaceratops.

Arachnids, insects, and annelids

Centipedes of the jungle floor and canopy

  • Gyas gyas: 20-30 inches (50-75 cm) long.
  • Idolon illotus: 10-14 inches (25-30 cm) long.
  • Idolon venefaucus: 20-24 inches (50-60 cm) long.
  • Megapede dereponecis: 3-5 feet (90-150 cm) long.
  • Megapede horridus: 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) long.
  • Megapede humus: 26-40 inches (65-80 cm) long.
  • Omnimatercimex harpeforceps: 30-35 inches (75-82 cm) long.

Fish

Birds

  • Carrion Storks: 3-5 feet high. In "World Of Kong" book, and seen in the sky in King Kong game.

Mammals

Trivia

  • A poster for Chang, an earlier movie by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack that provided some of their inspiration for King Kong, is in the background of the room when Denham is listening in on the backers' discussion to scrap his movie.
  • This is the second movie in which Adrien Brody's character has had his life saved by a character played by Thomas Kretschmann, and also the second time Colin Hanks plays a character contending with negative influence from a character played by Jack BlackTemplate:Fact.
  • When Kong is revealed to the public for the first time, it is Howard Shore, whose score was dropped from the film, conducting the orchestra as the curtain goes up. He ends up being crushed by Kong, as the gorilla leaps from the stage.
  • Peter Jackson was paid $20 million USD to direct this film. This is the highest salary Hollywood ever paid a director.
  • For the character of Kong, Andy Serkis, who modelled its movement, went to London Zoo to watch the gorillas, but was unsatisfied. He ended up going to Rwanda to observe mountain gorillas in the wild, with a company called Rainbow Tours. Possibly as a result of this, Kong acts and moves very much like a real gorilla, sometimes in subtle ways.
  • On the boat Ann makes a remark about a man showing his love by feigning disinterrest. Later, Kong does exactly that with Ann, in rather typical gorilla, somewhat comical fashion.
  • Peter Jackson was a nine-year-old in the New Zealand town of Pukerua Bay when he first saw the 1933 version of King Kong. He was in tears in front of the TV when the big gorilla slipped off the Empire State Building.
  • Fay Wray, the actress who played Ann in the original movie, was originally planned to say the movie's final line ("It was beauty killed the beast.") However, when she passed away before doing the scene the line went back to the character of Carl Denham (played by Jack Black).

Image:15939121 full.jpg

  • Forbes Magazine asked a small sample of scientists who would win in a battle between King Kong and a Tyrannosaurus rex. The consensus named Kong as the probable victorTemplate:Fact. However, Kong did not fight a true Tyrannosaur but rather a VastatosaurTemplate:Fact.
  • Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie suggested shooting the movie in black and white at one point during pre-production.
  • An ad for Universal Pictures is visible while Kong is tearing up Times Square. In actuality, an ad for Columbia Pictures was in the same spot in the 1933 film, but the studio refused to allow its name to be used, so effects artists replaced it.
  • In the scene where Jack Driscoll is searching for a place to sleep in the animal storage hold, a box behind him reads 'Sumatran Rat Monkey - Beware the bite!' - a reference to the creature that causes all the mayhem in Peter Jackson's film Braindead (and is also, according to the 1992 film, only found on Skull Island).
  • The humorous line about the Abominable Snowman also makes practical sense for 1933: Bigfoot was still obscure, and the Loch Ness Monster was just starting to become world-famous that very year. The Snowman was the most worldwide known "mysterious creature" at that time.
  • Kong and Lumpy the Cook - both performed by Andy Serkis - share a single scene in the movie, and only one shot in that scene. Perhaps as an in-joke, that only shot that Serkis shares with "himself" has Lumpy shooting at Kong.
  • In Peter Jackson's original 1996 draft of the script, Ann was the daughter of famed English archaeologist Lord Linwood Darrow exploring ancient ruins in Sumatra. They would come into conflict with Denham during his filming, and they would uncover a hidden Kong statue and the map of Skull Island. This would indicate that the island natives were a cult religion that once thrived on the mainland of Asia, and all trace of the cult was wiped out, except for the few on the island. Instead of a playwright, Jack was the first mate and an ex-First World War fighter pilot still struggling with the loss of his best friend, who was killed in battle. Herb the camera-man was the only supporting character in the original draft who made it to the final version.
  • In the 1933 original, the ship-cook's name was originally supposed to be "Lumpy", and was changed to "Charlie" in the movie, possibly because a Chinese-American actor, Victor Wong, was cast in the part. (Although Ann Darrow once actually calls Charlie, "Lumpy", in the original film. He is called "Charlie" for the entire remainder of that movie, and all throughout Son of Kong, in which the character appears again.) Theater programs at the film's premiere screenings at Grauman's Chinese Theater (and possibly other theaters) gave the character's name as "Lumpy" next to Victor Wong's name. (The 1933 film's DVD - in the keepsake tin - includes a reproduction of that Graumann's program.) In the 2005 movie, "Charlie" is renamed "Choy", and Lumpy and Choy are two separate characters this time.
  • In the film, (spoiler) Herb the camera-man is killed when he tries to save the film and camera, getting him torn apart by the raptors. In the 1996 draft, he crawls into the belly of a supposedly dead aqautic dinosaur to retrieve the camera it swallowed, but it was temporarily stunned and swallows him alive. Peter Jackson thought this version would be too graphic to show audiences.
  • The teaser trailer hints at other scenes deleted from the theatrical release:
    1. A scene on the beach where Denham tells Ann to scream during a film test and Kong is heard roaring upon hearing her.
    2. The rescue group crossing the swamp on either rafts or longboats, then a water creature slithering towards them (referencing the raft scene from the original film).
    3. Kong appearing to be fighting back against the soldiers.
    4. Ann being restrained by two soldiers, either before or during the reunion with Kong.
    5. There is also a scene in which it is shown how Kong was transported to New York on the Venture.
  • In the 1933 film, King Kong is displayed at the Palace Theatre in New York City. Along with the film itself, the marquee makes references to the folktale of "Beauty and the Beast". Interestingly enough, the Palace is the same theatre that Disney's Beauty and the Beast opened at in 1994 (and ran here until 1999). On a side note, by 1933, the Palace had become a full-fledged movie house no longer running stage acts.
  • The title of Jack Driscoll's stage comedy in the movie, "Cry Havoc!", is a quote from Shakespeare, but might also be the filmmakers' reference to actress June Havoc. Havoc was a major star performer on vaudeville before successfully going into Broadway theater, movies, and television. But she is today much less remembered than her sister, Gypsy Rose Lee, the inspiration for the musical, Gypsy. Ironically, long before Gypsy, Lee's fame began from performing in the burlesque theater after having difficulty finding success in vaudeville like her sister. In King Kong (2005), Ann Darrow is recommended to a burlesque theater for a job, which she declines outright.
  • Two scenes in the trailer contain music from film composer James Newton Howard's earlier work, Batman Begins, which was released earlier in 2005.
  • When this film was in development in 1996 and in 2003, the first choice for Ann Darrow was Kate Winslet.Template:Fact
  • The 1933 movie features a sexual subtext with the scene wherein King Kong examines Darrow's clothes. The new movie instead presents Darrow (now played by Naomi Watts) as an acrobatic juggler instead of a simple object of lust.
  • The cab driven by Jack Driscoll in the end has a licence plate that reads "NZ 16". "NZ" is the abbreviation for New Zealand (Jackson's homeland) and "16" is most likely a reference to the 16-millimeter camera that Jackson got at the age of 20, which he credits as starting his film career.<ref>http://tbhl.theonering.net/peter/interviews/broms_jackson.html</ref>
  • The film was released on Monkey Day.

Unanswered questions and inconsistencies

Template:Unsourced The original King Kong featured several inconsistencies and unanswered questions. Perhaps deliberately, the 2005 remake makes no attempt to clarify them, at least in its theatrical release.

  • As in the 1933 film, there is no explanation of how Denham transports King Kong from Skull Island to New York on a tramp steamer apparently not much larger than him. In separate interviews, Jackson assured the public that the ship was large enough to hold Kong and that as to how Kong would be transported, he never planned on showing it. He said that Cooper, creator of the first Kong film, did the same because he "was no fool." However, in the same interview Jackson speculated that Denham and crew would merely have picked Kong up between all of them and heaved on board. There are some other subtle hints, such as photographs of the Venture crew hauling elephants on board with cranes, as well as a tracking shot across the ship's large deck.
  • The scene where the Foetodon that chases Ann is killed a Vastatosaurus rex, which then chases her, is slightly ironic, in the terms that it should view her as a kill when it had already acquired a larger meal (the Foetodon).
  • It is also not shown how Kong was transported through New York and put onto the stage.
  • As in the 1933 film, there is no explanation of Kong's origin. Unlike the 1933 film, however, bones of huge gorillas are visible in his cave, implying that he is the last surviving member of his species, an explanation that director Peter Jackson has offered in interviews.
  • Unlike the 1933 film, there is no explanation in the remake of how Denham got the map to Skull Island. In addition, while in the original the Norwegian ship's captain made the map from a dying castaway's description, the 2005 film includes the castaway and Norwegian ship story, but didn't connect them with Denham's map (so far).
  • There is no exact origin of the natives of Skull Island, but considering the ancient ruins scattered all over the island, there was once a prosperous and powerful civilization on the island. Judging from the island's state, the state of the natives and their living circumstances, and their sacrifices to Kong, it is possible that they were almost wiped out off the island. Peter Jackson and his crew describe the Islanders in their movie as descendents of unknown peoples who were stranded on Skull Island centuries after the unknown ancient civilisation and all its people were wiped out, and have been squatters on a tiny sliver of the island ever since. The "higher civilization" (1933 film quote) that built the wall, and all the ruins, still continues to remain mysterious.
  • Where the name Kong originated, was that name given to the giant gorilla(s) by the primitive natives or the lost ancient civilisation, and if it had a specific meaning to the people who chose it, all remain mysterious. (Kong, or Cong, has different meanings in various regions of the world, but is also a Chinese surname.)
  • Neither the original, nor the remake, show how Ann and Jack make the journey back from Kong's lair so quickly and without encountering the island's dangers again, or how the chasm was crossed without the log bridge.
  • Unlike in both the 1933 original and the 1976 remake, the natives are never seen again in the 2005 remake after the rescue party force their way to the wall to rescue Ann.
  • There is no explanation as to how Bruce Baxter finds Captain Englehorn and the rest of the crew to save Jack, Jimmy, and Denham so quickly. It can be assumed that the three were knocked out cold for a least a few hours in the ravine, before the sailors came to their rescue.
  • One of the most famous absurdities of the 1933 film is that the natives of Skull Island, when building a solid wall to protect themselves from the island's giant monsters, included a giant wooden door large enough to accommodate any of the creatures. The 2005 film offers no answers, and in addition shows Kong leaping over and climbing over a fiery moat and 100-foot wall that is supposedly designed to keep him out. Since Peter Jackson and crew have declared that their movie's natives were not the original Islanders, and that Skull Island was much bigger long ago, then the wall's purpose relating to Kong is all speculation and assumption. (In his authorized sequel/prequel to the original Kong movie, Kong: King of Skull Island, Joe DeVito explains that, in the context of his book, at least, the Wall was never meant to keep Kong out but to let Kong in; it was said that the people who built the Wall also bred Kong's ancestors and used them as servants.)
  • A prominent sideplot featuring the young misfit crewmember Jimmy is dropped following the party's return to New York. The character is neither seen nor mentioned from that point on and the film ends with the plot unresolved. Nor is the ship's skipper, Captain Englehorn, ever seen after they capture Kong on Skull Island.
  • Like Kong's unknown origins, Jimmy's origins are unknown in the film. Several fans believe that he is British, others say he was a survivor of a past ship to land on Skull Island, etc. It is generally believed that he is merely an American street orphan.
  • Just like Jimmy's sideplot and Englehorn's fate being unresolved (as noted above), there is no explanation or scene that shows the fate of Preston, Denham's assistant. It should be noted that when he and Jack were evacuating the theatre, Jack was the only one left in the balcony when Kong broke free of his bonds. It is most likely that Preston escaped the theatre unharmed.
  • As in the 1933 film, there is no explanation of the aftermath of Kong's rampage through New York, whether or not Denham or anyone else is held responsible, and what becomes of Kong's body. (Though the original Denham's fate was detailed in the 1933 sequel, Son of Kong, and then in an "authorized" 2004 sequel novel, Kong: King of Skull Island.) The 2005 film's website and book, The World Of Kong, suggest that the remake's Denham seemed to get himself off the hook by serving as guide and advisor on subsequent expeditions to Skull Island. Skull Island: A Natural History, reports that Kong's remains are rumored to be in the possession of the American Museum of Natural History, who decline to confirm or deny this.
  • There is also no answer to how the crew gets back on the Venture to New York city, as the crew had to toss off many supplies to get the ship untrapped from the rock.

DVD

King Kong was released on DVD on March 28, 2006 in the United States. The three versions that came out were single disc fullscreen, single disc widescreen, and a 2-Disc Widescreen Special Edition. Another multi-disc DVD set with numerous extras is expected to be released late 2006.

The second disc of the Special Edition contains the remainder of almost all the KongisKing.net production diaries not contained on the Peter Jackson's Production Diaries DVD set. The only missing episode is "13 Weeks To Go" which contained footage of Howard Shore recording the original score. It is still available on the website.

All DVD versions of the movie contain at least two known instances of DVD "watermarking" that are assumed to be anti-piracy measures. The letters "KKDD" appear for one frame on the character Bruce Baxter's arm at 00:30:29 and 2:01:33.

Image:Hidden KKDDs in King Kong DVD.jpg

Cast

Awards and nominations

Awards

Academy Awards

  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects

National Board of Review

  • Special Achievement Award - For the special effects

Nominations

Academy Awards

  • Best Art Direction

Golden Globes

  • Best Director: Motion Picture - Peter Jackson
  • Best Original Score: Motion Picture - James Newton Howard

London Film Critics Association

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actress - Naomi Watts
  • Best Director - Peter Jackson

Critic's Choice Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director - Peter Jackson

Video game

References

<references />

External links

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