January 4, 2013

King Kong (1933) vs. King Kong (1976) vs. King Kong (2005)

He’s one of the greatest movie monsters of all time and few things can compare to him beating up other huge monsters, be it a T-Rex or Godzilla. He’s been in 3 Hollywood versions so King Kong vs. Godzilla, etc doesn’t count. But which one of the 3 remains the king… of Kong.





King Kong 1933


One of the most innovative and influential films of all time.

Fay Wray is iconic as Ann Darrow, the love of Kong’s life.

Although dated now (obviously) the effects for the time are still fantastic.

Well paced and is only 100 minutes long.

You actually are moved in places and sympathise with Kong.

The black and white really adds to the atmosphere.


The effects are unintentionally funny in places with Kong’s googly eyes.


King Kong 1976


It has Jeff Bridges in it.

Jessica Lange looks hot in it.

Although it’s clearly a guy in a suit, some of the set-pieces are cool.

They try something a little different with it.


Although they try something different, it doesn’t have any of the original characters in it. The new characters just aren’t as good.

Drags in places.

Clearly a guy in a suit and it does look cheap.

You don’t really care for any of the characters or even Kong.


King Kong 2005


The King Kong vs. T-Rex fight scene is legendary.

The facial expressions and motion capture of Kong himself is very impressive.

There are tons of cool monsters.

The performances are good and you really empathise with Kong in this version.

Nice music score too.

Naomi Watts is wonderful and likable.


Far too long and self-indulgent, you could easily cut 40 minutes from it.

Some of the effects a laughably bad, there are some terrible blue screens and it’s all obvious CGI. I don’t know why the effects aren’t as good as Jurassic Park considering this was 10 years after it.

Jack Black is miscast as Carl Denham.

The “beauty killed the beast” line just feels tacked on at the end.

The Brontosaurus scene looks terrible and really adds nothing to it.



And the winner is King Kong (1933); you can’t mess with the original. Everything about it is iconic from the visual effects (set the bar for future generations) to Fay Wray. The film’s atmosphere and the fast pacing make it less of an endurance test than Jackson’s overlong CGI-fest.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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