March 11, 2017
Son of Kong.
Review #914: Son of Kong.
Robert Armstrong (Carl Denham), Helen Mack (Hilda Petersen), Frank Reicher (Captain Englehorn), John Marston (Nils Helstrom), Victor Wong (Charlie), and Ed Brady (Red) Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack (#283 - King Kong, #604 - Mighty Joe Young, and #709 - The Most Dangerous Game)
I will watch Kong: Skull Island next week, and as such it makes sense to do a review of a Kong movie. Enjoy, and I would encourage checking out the other Kong reviews done over the years: #283, #604 (made with the same creative team), and #726 - King Kong (1976).
Released just nine months after the first film had been released into theaters, Son of Kong is a sequel that isn't as well known (nor well-liked) as the original film. The movie begins with a brief recap of the first film (in dialogue), with the premise being set up by the time 10 minutes pass by. At least they didn't just take footage from the end of the movie. Some of the cast from the first film (Armstrong, Reicher, and Wong) appear in this one, and this is certainly one that gives Armstrong a bit more in terms of characterization. The tight budget and shooting schedule (screenwriter Ruby Rose described doing the movie as this: "If you can't make it bigger, make it funnier") meant that several models from the first film were reused, though Willis O'Brien does contribute stop-motion animation once again. It isn't until around 43 minutes that the Son of Kong appears in the movie, looking noticeably lighter skinned than his larger father, with facial expressions that seem to go with any sort of comedic moments the movie tries to do. The best thing I can say about the movie is that it isn't just a simple repeat of the first film, with semblances of romance and adventure taking the mantle this time. Unfortunately, it doesn't really have much of the tension nor importance the first film. Simply put, it's obviously not as good as the first one. It doesn't have too much spectacle and is quite rushed, giving a product that could have had potential had there been more time and length (this is only 69 minutes long) given to the movie. By releasing the movie quickly in order to ride off the memories people had of the original film, Son of Kong manages to be a middling sequel that could have been so much better.
Overall, I give it 6 out of 10 stars.