The Son Of Kong (1933)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 57%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,405
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Connections: King Kong

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Robert Armstrong
Robert Armstrong
Helen Mack
Helen Mack
Frank Reicher
Frank Reicher
John Marston
John Marston
Victor Wong
Victor Wong
Review by Crispy
Added: April 30, 2009
In the world of cinema, it's kind of a given that if a film sees any kind of success, the sequel will be right on its heels. Well, calling 1933's King Kong successful would quite possibly be the biggest understatement in the history of spoken language. Indeed, when the movie was released, the sequel was put together so fast it was actually released before the year was even over. Now, writer Ruth Rose knew damn well she wasn't going to top the original film, plus the studio assumed its success was merely a fluke, so they only committed about half the budget. As such, Son of Kong sacrifices the "epic" feel of the first film in exchange for a much shallower, "funner" approach.

Three months after Kong rampaged through New York, Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is on a veritable house arrest. If he steps one inch outside his door, he's mobbed by the press. He's flat broke, slammed with lawsuit after lawsuit. After being summoned by Captain Englehorn (Frank Reicher), the skipper from the first voyage, he is able to sneak out of his house and meet his old friend on his ship. The good captain is positive that it's only a matter of time before he's faced with his own collection of lawsuits and suggests that the two set sail for the Philippines and leave the mess in NY behind. Their attempt as freighters is failing miserably, and they spend some time in the small town of Dakang to rethink their options. There, they meet two new companions: a young woman named Hilda (Helen Mack) who Carl immediately takes a liking to, and Captain Hilstrom (John Marston), who just so happens to be the man who sold Denham the map to Kong's island. Unbeknownst to our two heroes, Hilstrom killed Hilda's father in a drunken rage the night before, and needs to leave town real quick and in a hurry. He quickly makes up a story about the treasure of Skull Island, which is enough to convince the two penniless mariners to voyage back to the island. Along the way, they discover that Hilda has stowed away, and even worse, Hilstrom has managed to convince Englehorn's men to mutiny upon arriving at the island. It's only half successful however, as Hilstrom finds himself cast off the boat just as quickly. The natives are none to happy to see these men return, so the sailors are forced to find another entrance to the island. Once there, the men find King Kong's son! The albino monkey, a "mere" twelve feet tall, is trapped in quicksand. Overcome with guilt for what he did to his father, Denham saves him. Ever grateful, Little Kong takes it on himself to protect his savior from the other creatures of the island.

Now, conceding the fact that this movie is not going to enter the same league as King Kong, and doesn't make the slightest attempt to, let's look at Son of Kong for the sake of Son of Kong. The movie runs for a grand total of sixty-nine minutes, and once our crew gets on the island, it's basically watching Baby Kong fight off various creatures until the credits roll. I've mentioned many times before how much I adore clay animation, and these final scenes had me tickled pink. And I think that this was their main intention. They knew there was a market for people who just wanted to watch a bunch of monsters beat the hell out of each other, so they focused on that, and made it a sequel trying to cash in on the name. Sounds perfectly good to me, but the movie did bring out a few minor gripes from me.

First of all, for a film whose main draw is the monsters, I don't think the exposition taking up the vast majority of film was the best way to go about things. It just makes for a very long wait before anything actually happens. Granted, this might be an unfair complaint considering the movie was made in about three months with less than half the budget of the last movie. One thing about clay animation, it's an extremely laborious and time consuming art style. While I don't necessarily blame the film makers for this, it's still a drag on the film. Also, I'm not sure I liked how they humanized the ape. For example, after dispatching a giant lizard, he rubs his palms together in the "that's that" motion instead of beating his chest. Sure, this might be nitpicking, but taking away the animal characteristics from him was really unnecessary.

If you share my love for watching clay puppets throw each other around, go ahead and give this a shot. It's a pretty average monster flick, and it takes a bit to get going, but there's a decent bit of fun to be had in the closing scenes. 5.5.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added 04/30/2009, 10:59 AM
Awwww... a 6? I loved tis one as a kid. Sure, as I got older I realized a few things that rendered it a less than fantastic sequel,. but the things I like far outweigh those.

7.2/10. Probably the nostalgia talking, but I liked it.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 04/30/2009, 01:10 PM
Would have been about a 7.5 or so if it didn't take so long to get to the island.
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