After only catching glimpses of our favorite giant ape in the Kong: Skull Island trailer, we have finally been gifted with the first official look at the Eighth Wonder Of The World himself. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings Of Summer) unveiled the image in a recent interview, and boy does #KingKong look fierce!
The King of Skull Island looks arguably even more ferocious than his predecessors, baring those sharp teeth for us all to see as they edge out of his salivating mouth. But just how does this modern incarnation compare to his previous looks? Let's take a look at the cinematic history of the Eighth Wonder of the World and find out which of these Kongs is truly King.
King Kong (1933)
- Source: King Kong
- Year: 1933
- Creative Team: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Willis O' Brien.
- Why It's Important: King Kong's first ever appearance had to be convincing, and it really was. While they may not have had the CGI we have today, that didn't stop Cooper and Schoedsack from bringing the monstrous Kong to life with Willis O' Brien's cutting-edge stop-motion animation. The model used was so convincing that the ape moved effortlessly as though he were actually a real creature. Furthermore, they used a gigantic head for the closeup shots with eyes on it that still chill me to this day. The effects were one of the main reasons why the film was acclaimed and is still listed among the greatest films and #horror films of all time. Between Fay Wray's incredible reactions and this ape's amazing movements, it's no wonder that this film created a story that people wanted to see retold over and over again. And so it was.
King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Source: King Kong Vs. Godzilla
- Year: 1962
- Creative Team: Ishirō Honda (Japan), Thomas Montgomery (USA).
- Why It's Important: King Kong Vs. Godzilla is the first of two Japanese films to include the King Kong character. It should be noted that this actually started out as Willis O' Brien's idea as he came up with the idea of pitting Kong against Frankenstein. Eventually Toho got involved thanks to producer John Beck and O' Brien never received the credit he deserved. They replaced Frankenstein with Godzilla and to avoid costs from stop motion-animation, the film was made using Toho's traditional suitmation process. The Kong outfit's facial features actually resembled the 1933 model, and although he may look very cuddly in today's day and age, he was equally as terrifying as the original back in 1962. The film added a great deal to the immortal legacies of both monsters, whose paths will cross once again in 2020.
King Kong (1976)
- Source: King Kong
- Year: 1976
- Creative Team: John Guillermin, Dino De Laurentiis, Lorenzo Semple Jr., Rick Baker.
- Why It's Important: The first ever remake of King Kong saw a very different approach to bringing Kong to life. Instead of using stop-motion animation, Paramount's Kong was taken care of by special make-up effects guru Rick Baker. And underneath the compelling make-up and suit, it was actually Baker himself portraying Kong. This gave the ape more freedom, especially when it came to facial features — he sure gave a mean snarl when Jessica Lange's Dwan ran away from him. Moreover, they also built a gigantic animatronic of Kong for the film as well, but he didn't move all too well and its scenes were reduced — plus, he had one creepy grin. In contrast to other adaptations, the 1976 King Kong walked upright instead of moving like a gorilla and this made him the tallest Kong yet — that is, until Kong: Skull Island is released. Amazing special effects brought the ape to life for a second time in what was definitely one of my favorite adaptations of the character.
Check out the trailer below:
If you're a fan of King Kong, check these out:
- This New Kong: Skull Island Poster Is Hiding Some Godzilla-Sized Secrets
- Kong: Skull Island New Trailer Has Landed In All Its Chest-Thumping Glory
- FINALLY! Our First Look at King Kong in ‘Skull Island: Reign of Kong!’
King Kong Lives (1986)
- Source: King Kong Lives
- Year: 1986
- Creative Team: John Guillermin, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
- Why It's Important: King Kong Lives is the sequel to the 1976 remake of King Kong. Set and released ten years after the remake, it features Kong — who is actually alive after his fall ten years prior and in need of a heart transplant, which he gets. He also escapes, finds Lady Kong and destroys the army. Although for some reason the film wasn't very successful, Kong's appearance was virtually identical to the original — except for the fact that his nose was sharper and he inexplicably started walking like a gorilla all of a sudden. Despite Baker not being involved in the sequel, the DEG group still utilized his approach of the convincing make-up. Despite criticism, I really enjoyed the film and have no problem admitting that the ending made me cry like a baby.
King Kong (2005)
- Source: King Kong
- Year: 2005
- Creative Team: Peter Jackson, Christian Rivers, Andy Serkis
- Why It's Important: The 2005 remake was directed by lifelong Kong fan Peter Jackson, who adored the 1933 film and wanted to make a film that would pay tribute to the original. And so he did. The creation of Kong was reinvented once again by using motion-capture effects in which actor Andy Serkis had to perform gorilla-like movements with 135 small markers attached to different spots on his face. The motion-capture technique was used to transfer Serkis's expressions onto the CGI Kong's face. This Kong looked significantly older, his body was covered in scars and his teeth were incredibly sharp. And thanks to the capture process, he moved exactly like a gorilla. With this state of the art technology and Serkis' incredible performance, Peter Jackson, Christian Rivers and Andy Serkis introduced us to the most authentic, realistic and frightening Kong yet.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
- Source: Kong: Skull Island
- Year: 2017
- Creative Team: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
- Why It's Important: As far as we were concerned, Peter Jackson's King Kong was the perfect remake, and thus, that would have been the version of the character to define our generation — there was no need for another remake. But what we didn't expect was a prequel — not to Jackson's film, just the King Kong story in general — to be released over a decade later. So, to warrant another film so soon, it's important that our new Kong is better than ever — and so far, it looks like Jordan Vogt-Roberts is on the right track as this Kong is set to be the biggest yet. According to Roberts, they have taken a lot of inspiration from the 1933 original and will have Kong as a "bipedal creature" — much like the 1976 iteration — rather than the "anatomically correct silverback gorilla that walks on all fours". And based on the recently released image, he looks even fiercer than his predecessors.
So with the Eighth Wonder Of The World set to return to our screens next year, prepare yourselves for one heck of scary sight. As Kong himself continues to adapt for each era, he seems to become even more intimidating. But while the modern day CGI wasn't around for the first few adaptations, they also proved with ease that Kong was the king of movie monsters. His current appearance may be one of his most deadly looking yet, but it is added to a list of equally as incredible interpretations of a cinema icon. Kong: Skull Island just proves what many of us already knew — King Kong lives!
Check out the trailer below:
Kong: Skull Island hits theaters on March 10, 2017. Do you think the new appearance is King Kong's deadliest yet? Let us know in the comments!
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]