King Kong (1976)

(In French, On TV, December 2005) Some childhood memories should be left alone, and the seventies remake of King Kong is certainly one of them. Another look at it, post 2005-King Kong, only serves to make the Peter Jackson effort look good: The script is even more tedious than the 2005 version and the special effect really haven’t aged well at all. (Here’s a piece of trivia for you: It won the “Special Visual Effects” Oscar in early 1977. The next winner in that category, of course, would be Star Wars.) Fortunately, there are still a few good things about the film: Jessica Lange (in her screen debut) still looks hot thirty years later, Jeff Bridges is delightful in an early role as a shaggy photographer and the World Trade Center is prominently featured. The opening sequences have a charming feel to them as a petroleum expedition is efficiently dispatched to The Island. Things start to sour soon after, as the film grinds down to a halt to go through all of the expected plot points. King Kong himself is a disappointing man in a suit, even if said man is Special Effects legend Rick Baker. It adds up to a fine piece of seventies blockbuster entertainment: Sometime tedious, sometime earnest, occasionally fun, but certainly not something that escapes its context.

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