King Kong – amazing “love story”
The hero of movies, comics, cartoons and books. Presented as a wild beast, wanting to kill people or a creature robbed of its freedom. The creator himself first called it the Beast. Observing the activities of King Kong, it is easy to notice, however, that this animal is not only wild and dangerous, but also socialized and intelligent. After the premiere of another film about King Kong, we would like to mention a few words about it.
Creation of King Kong
The character of the King of Kong was created in the imagination of Merian Cooper. This American filmmaker has been fascinated with gorillas since he was a child. He read many 19th-century travel publications about them. He remembers most strongly the stories described by Paul Belloni Du Chaillu, an anthropologist and zoologist, who travels around Africa, among others. It is from there that the descriptions of powerful gorillas, called ” King of the African Forest ” or ” half man, half beast”, come from. The stories of huge African monkeys enchanted the little Merian.
The first “King Kong”
A huge gorilla first appeared in the film in 1933, under the title “King Kong”, which became the basis for further film variations telling the story of an unusually large gorilla.
In the first film, the name was given to gorilla by the inhabitants of the (fictional) Skull Island, located in the Indian Ocean. On this island, the King Kong lives together with other, equally large, animals, such as pterosaurs and plesiosaurs. The collapsing team of American filmmakers, led by Carl Denham, captures the King Kong and takes him to New York, where he exhibits him at the theatre as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.
However, the brave animal runs away and climbs to the top of the Empire State Building. Kong is not climbing alone, however, but together with the actress Ann Darrow, whom he wants to protect. The end of the story is tragic, but we will not reveal the details to those who have not seen the film. It should be mentioned, however, that the motif of climbing to the top of a skyscraper is now considered by many to be a cult one.
In the 2005 remake, the King Kong received the scientific name Megaprimatus kong. Film “scientists” also recognize that King Kong is a relative of a Gigantopithecus or orangutan, and to a lesser extent of the gorilla he resembles. It’s a bit strange, because even a child sees in him a large gorilla, not a large orangutan.
Why King Kong?
The name “King Kong” was invented by Cooper. He was not only a fan of gorillas, but also of strong, hard-sounding words beginning with the letter “K”. His favorite words were “Komodo”, “Kodiak” and “Kodak”. Originally, Cooper wanted his giant gorilla to fight the dragon from Komodo (Varanus komodoensis) on Komodo Island.
Ultimately, however, this idea was not used in the film. However, Cooper liked very much the term “King of Komodo”, which was used to describe dragons. Thanks to this, as well as brainstorming with colleagues, Merian came up with a name for his gorilla, which was supposed to contain a certain mystery, wildness and romanticism.
1933 – King Kong
Cooper suggested that King Kong should be 12.2-15.2 m (40 to 50 ft) high. During the first movie, the size of the gorilla changed. Models, created by animator Willis O’Brien, measured from 5.5 m to 7.3 m (18 – 24 ft) in height. In some scenes, however, the gorilla seems even higher – it reaches a maximum of over 18 m (60 ft). Cooper admitted that he wanted Kong to have different sizes in almost every shot. It was about the best visual effect, he did not care about the consistency of the plot in this aspect. Interestingly, the paw itself was built on a scale such as if Kong measured over 21 meters (69 ft).
1976 – King Kong
In the 1976 version, King Kong measured over 12.8 m (42 ft) in height on the Skull Island and over 16.8 m (55 ft) in New York. In the sequel entitled “King Kong Alive”, created 10 years later, the huge monkey measured over 18 m (59 ft).
2005 – King Kong
In Peter Jackson’s film, King Kong measures 7.6 m (25 ft) throughout the film. King Kong looks and acts like an enlarged gorilla in this version. He has an enlarged stomach like a typical herbivore, and while moving, he rests his front paws on the bent fingers of his hand, thanks to which the realism of this character was obtained.
Jackson and the Weta Digital team assigned King Kong to the fictional genre of Megaprimatus kong, suggesting that it evolved from the Gigantopithecus. King Kong was the last of his kind.
In the film, he was presented as a non-young individual with graying fur coat, with traces of numerous fights that commemorated the scars that covered him and the bent jaw. He dominates the island, he is the king of this world. Like his film predecessors, he has considerable intelligence and great physical strength; it seems, however, much more agile and efficient than its predecessors.
2017 – Kong: Skull Island
King Kong appearing in the latest movie from 2017 entitled “Kong: Skull Island”, reached a record height of 31.7 m (104 ft). It is more than the length of the average adult blue whale – the largest known animal that ever lived in the Earth.
King Kong – size evolution
- 1933 King Kong ~ 5.5 – 21 m (18 – 69 ft)*
- 1933 Son of Kong ~ 3.7 m (12 ft)
- 1962 King Kong vs Godzilla ~ 45 m (148 ft)
- 1967 King Kong Escapes ~ 20 m (66 ft)
- 1976 King Kong ~ 12.8-18 m (42 – 59 ft)*
- 1986 King Kong lives ~ 18 m (59 ft)
- 2005 King Kong ~ 7.6 m (25 ft)
- 2017 Kong: Skull Island ~ 31.7 m (104 ft)
* depending on the shot and model
The King Kong has much in common with his closest relatives. Similarly to gorillas, he has rich and complicated social behaviors. He shows a high level of intelligence – he is able to understand even some words. However, due to the lack of social contacts with other Kongs, he was a very wild and unbridled being. The great need for social interaction can be seen in the relationship between the King Kong and Ann Darrow, whom a huge gorilla wants to protect at all costs.
The hallmark of the King Kong is his endurance and enormous strength. This is evidenced by the battle scenes with giants such as V. rex – a descendant of T. rex, presented in King Kong by Peter Jackson in 2005. King Kong was able to repulse the attack of this huge theropod, while being an agile and wise animal. The gorilla can also create simple tools and weapons, but he could defend himself more with animal methods: biting and tearing. Despite the huge size, he climbed great.
King Kong – curiosities
- In Cooper’s original screenplay, King Kong was simply called the Beast.
- In the middle of 2012, the creation of a musical adaptation of a story about the King Kong was announced. It was to be presented at the Regent Theater in Melbourne. The premiere of the show took place on 15 June 2013. The musical will appear on Broadway starting in the fall of 2018
- In the 1960s, Japanese film studio Toho produced two films telling the story of a big monkey. They are titled: “King Kong versus Godzilla” and “King Kong Escapes”.
- So far, eight films have been made telling the story of the King Kong. In 2020, another adaptation is to be launched, entitled “Godzilla vs. Kong”. Kong is so large in the present film that he can face Godzilla. On the other hand, Godzilla from 2014 had as much as 106 meters, so it is not the league … but we will see 🙂
- The 2005 movie budget exceeded a record $ 207 million, putting this film at the forefront of the most expensive film productions produced until then. The film made $ 550 million worldwide. The latest movie (2017) has a chance to beat this record, although it cost “only” 185 million 🙂
Which King Kong
Which King Kong do you like the most?