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King Kong Review

King Kong Review

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Published by shanmason93

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: shanmason93 on Oct 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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King Kong 1933: Cinematic Spaces
Fig 1. King Kong (c.1933)
King Kong (1933) utilised a series of cinematic techniques which played a crucial element tothe development of cinema; paying particular attention to effects which dominated the productionof the cinematic spaces and the cast which pre-occupied them.
Willis O’Brien
used a range of effects which revolutionised the production of film.
“The movie
plunders every trick in the book to create its illusions, using live action, back projection, stop-motion animation, miniatures, models, matte paintings and sleight-of-
(Ebert 2002)
It isimportant to understand the limitations of early cinema to begin to imagine the impact this wideexperimental range of effects had on the industry of cinema. Technological enhancements allowedproducers to experiment with cinematic spaces and dialogue to produce emotive responses insidethe viewers. Kong features pan shots of humans running from giant insects and Jurassic creatureswhilst also manipulating long, mid and close up shots to convey the shocked expressions of the castwhen they discover the
frightful scale of the creatures in “King Kong” (particularly
in the repeatedclose ups of damsel in distress,
‘scream queen’
, Fay Wray). Long shots build intensity in approach tothe island which hints at the closing distance of the Westerners journey to Skull Island whichmounted to a climax when the first roars of Kong break the silence. The processes used to shootscene-to-scene in Kong were
revolutionary to the extent that we reflect them in today’s television
and cinema.
“Willis O'Brien created impressive effects that were not only technically brilliant, butalso highly imaginative in terms of cinematic action.”… “The plot was kept simple bu
t believable
enough to allow the audience to enjoy the special effects that would dominate.”
(Haflidason 2001)
Painted panes of glass were used to create an atmospheric feel of density to the jungles of SkullIsland. Giving the cinematic space a three dimensional feel over the 2D backdrops which occupiedthe sets of film beforehand. Similarly digital artists now create layers inside photo shop to createdifferences in the atmosphere for artwork. This added a great impotence to strive to border realitytowards the completely unnatural scale of King Kong which in turn generated the successful fordepiction of a horror film; Using effects made the character of Kong more fluid-like more believableand consequently more frightening.
Fig 2. King Kong dwarfing the American skyline (1933)
 However engaging with King Kong is obligatory to modern day viewers through the obviousracial and sexist themes referenced throughout the film. In 1933 ethnical and gender equality werelargely unrecognised to society as compared to multiculturalist morality of the twenty first century.This created huge implications for the like for like remake of King Kong in 2005, where Peter
Jackson’s reproduction was specifically created to convey the changes in equality between
1933 and2005. Inside The geographical location of Skull Island and its inhabitants prompts racial themes
Notonly is the island home to Kong and a group of Black natives, it is also inhabited by a large numberof prehistoric beasts. Dinosaurs are seen to coexist with the indigenous peoples.
” (McKay 2005).
The coexistence of the pre historic and black natives prompts the notion of savagery and thatsomehow the white westerners are travelling backwards in time to the black island. Althoughmodern day audiences turn away from the screen at such crude racism, the society of 1933 wouldrely upon the racial imagery to develop a key understanding and structure to the plot.
“On his native
island, he is imposing, but not nearly as imposing as he becomes when he reaches the Americanshores. Once he finally escapes and rebels, he reaches his most impressive height, simultaneouslysignifying his overwhelming danger to American cultural stability (represented by the Empire StateBuilding
then a very current symbol of American industrial p
(McKay 2005).
McKay thengoes on to explain how the scale of Kong continues to grow from his journey from Skull Island toAmerica, signifying the fear of multiculturalism and complete lack of equality present in 1933.
Fig 3. Fey Wray in King Kong (1933)
 Overall Kong is successful in its sheers amount of special effects and its manor of creativelymanipulating cinematography. However the plot has to be altered considerable for a modern day

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