King Kong (2005)
Frequently Asked Questions
Showman Carl Denham (Jack Black) sails with a filming crew, playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), and leading lady Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) to Skull Island, uncharted except for a map he got from another sailor. Arriving on the island, they find it inhabited by a tribe of natives who think that the blonde Ann would be the perfect "bride" for their god—a giant gorilla named Kong. Kong is mesmerized by Ann, but Denham soon gets the idea of capturing Kong and bringing him to New York to be displayed as "King Kong, the eighth wonder of the world."
The giant gorilla known as Kong was the brainchild of American aviator and screenwriter Merian C. Cooper [1893-1973], conceived after a dream in which a giant gorilla was terrorizing New York City. Screenwriters Ruth Rose and James Ashmore Creelman wrote the screenplay for the original King Kong (1933) (1933) movie. A novelization of the screenplay actually appeared in 1932, a year before the film, adapted by newspaper reporter and writer Delos W. Lovelace. It was published in serialized form in Mystery Magazine and in book form later that year by Grosset & Dunlap. This version of King Kong is the third version of the film, preceded by the original 1933 movie and King Kong (1976) (1976). Kong was adapted for this version by New Zealand screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens along with Peter Jackson, who directed the movie.
It depends upon the version of the movie. There are 15 verifiable deaths in the theatrical version. These include: two of Denham's crew killed on Skull Island by natives, one Venture crewman killed aboard ship by Skull islanders, four members of Ann's rescue party killed during the brontosaurus stampede/raptor attack (Lumpy (Andy Serkis) confirms this number in the following scene), Mr. Hayes (Evan Parke) killed by Kong, Choy (Lobo Chan), Lumpy, and two unnamed crewmen killed in the ravine due to the fall or pit creatures, and finally three crewmen killed by Kong during the capture attempt (two smashed against a cliff wall and one bitten in midsection).The extended cut shows another three crewmen eaten by the piranhadon in the swamp, totaling 18. Denham states in his presentation of Kong in New York that only 17 people were killed. This discrepancy may be attributed to a writer's miscount, though it is only apparent in the extended cut.
No. Jimmy (Jamie Bell) appears again during the scene in which Kong is exhibited inside the theatre in New York. When Kong throws the boat against the boulder, Jack Driscoll immediately rushes toward Jimmy, who can be seen swimming in the water. After Kong is chloroformed, Jimmy's eyes are still open. In the novelization of the movie, it is mentioned that Jack is holding an unconscious Jimmy in the water. This can also be seen in the movie.
The 1933 movie doesn't show how King Kong was transported but, according to the script, a raft was used, Peter Jackson thought using a raft is a silly idea and, therefore, didn't include it in his version
When the ice is blown apart by the army, some of the resulting chunks are two feet thick—more than enough to support Kong's weight.
Kong carries Ann almost to the top of the Empire State Building, setting her on a ledge. Six fighter planes circle around him, shooting him full of bullets, so he climbs to the very top of the building and attempts to fight off the planes. Ann climbs from the ledge to the top of the building and attempts to wave off the airplanes, but they keep firing until Kong collapses on the tower. As Ann strokes his face, Kong quietly slips off the tower to his death, landing in the street below where the crowds close in for a closer look. Driscoll rushes out onto the top of the building to help Ann down. As Denham makes his way through the crowd, he hears a photographer remark that the airplanes got Kong. "It wasn't the airplanes," Denham replies. "It was Beauty killed the Beast."
1. The most obvious difference is that of running time: while the films are very similar structurally, the 2005 film is an hour and a half longer than the 1933 film.
2. There is much more backstory given to the two principals, Ann Darrow and Carl Denham. Ann did not appear in the 1933 film until the point at which Denham covered for her attempted shoplifting of food.
3. The character of Denham is quite different. He was originally a successful, respected filmmaker. The newer film portrays him as a man on the outs with the studio heads who steals the footage for his own film and flees after learning the bosses are planning to scrap the picture. The newer incarnation is also played as much more of an antihero; smarmy but likable. He is motivated more out of desperation than greed, whereas the 1933 film never brought the character's actions into question.
4. Jack Driscoll is now a playwright who is working on Denham's screenplay; previously, he was the First Mate of the Venture.
5. The natives of Skull Island are much more hostile. In the original film, they allowed Denham's party to leave without incident; in this version, they kill several members of the group before the Venture's captain arrives with help.
6. All references to and quotes from Conrad's Heart of Darkness are new to this version of the story.
7. Kong is played less as a monster and more as an animal. Whilst in the 1933 version they portrayed Kong as a unique gorilla-like ape, this Kong is purely a giant silverback gorilla; its behaviours are very accurate to silverbacks.
8. The 2005 film contains a scene from the screenplay and novel of the 1933 version, which never made it into the film(whether this scene was shot or not is still up for debate). Originally, stop-motion spiders attacked and ate the crew members who fell off of the log bridge and into the gorge it spanned. The new version presents a variety of insects and leech-like creatures, but eschews spiders, possibly to avoid feeling like a retread of Jackson's previous film, The Return of the King, which had featured a battle with a huge spider.
9. In the 1933 film, Ann Darrow remains frightened of the giant ape throughout the film. In this version, however, she and the gorilla form an emotional bond, with Ann recognizing human traits such as intelligence and empathy in her captor-turned-guardian. This is not the first time a Kong film took this approach, however, as the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis King Kong had the lead female character, Dwan, show deep respect and sympathy for her simian captor.
10. Ann and Jack originally joined Denham on stage as he presented the captive Kong to a New York audience. In Jackson's film, both have become disillusioned by his glory-minded pursuits and decline to take part. Denham therefore hires an actress whom he tells his audience is Ann, and he credits her rescue not to Jack, but to the actor Bruce Baxter, who had actually abandoned the search for Ann to save himself.
11. The New York rampage in the 2005 version is more low key than in the 1933 Kong and not nearly as horrific, most likely to keep the PG-13 rating. The attack on the elevated train does not occur in the new version, nor does Kong throw a woman he mistakes for Ann to her death-at least not definitively; he does throw a number of women about casually, but their fates are not depicted. Likely a few bumps and bruises, at worse a broken bone or two, but they certainly weren't thrown from a height or with enough force to kill them.
12. Now, Jack is the only one to race to the top of the Empire State Building to save Ann at the film's climax. Previously Denham and a few other rescuers had also ascended the skyscraper.
13. Kong's death is no longer seen as the necessary destruction of a dangerous monster, but the tragic killing of a noble beast who has suffered at the hands of human exploitation.
1. Skull Island is "visually layered," as inspired by the original.
2. Some of the relics (spears, drums, and shields) that appear in early scenes on board the ship are original 1933 film props. The gas bombs that can briefly be seen in the cage full of chemical bottles are also original props.
3. Whilst in the cab Carl Denham mentions that "Fay's a size four" - referencing Fay Wray, the actress who played Ann Darrow in the 1933 original. When Preston informs Denham that she's "busy making a picture with RKO," he is actually referring to the original King Kong film itself, and Denham moans "Cooper, huh?" referring to Merian C. Cooper, one of the original movie's directors. A brief sting from the original film's sountrack accompanies this line.
4. When Kong defeats the V-Rex creature he checks that the reptile's jaw is broken by flexing it open a few times. This action is almost a frame-for-frame copy of the 1933 original and is a direct tribute to the work of stop-motion pioneer Willis O'Brien.
5. Ann and Bruce act a scene on the ship. She says, "This is very exciting, I've never been on a ship before," to which Bruce replies. "Well, I've never been on one with a woman before." This "acted" scene is a direct copy of a "real" scene from the 1933 original.
6. During his stage presentation of Kong, Denham quotes an "old Arabian proverb" about how beauty tames the beast; this quote opened the original film in the form of an on-screen title. As an aside, Merian C. Cooper admitted in interviews that the alleged proverb was actually his own invention.
7. When Kong is struggling to free himself from the chains on the New York theatre stage, Denham says "Let him roar; it makes a swell picture." This line of dialogue was spoken by a journalist in the original movie.
8. The musical score which accompanies the dance routine in the New York theatre is Max Steiner's original composition from the 1933 film.
9. The native dancers on the New York stage are a direct copy of the natives from the original 1933 movie.
10. When Denham and Kong first see each other, they pause for a moment. According to Peter Jackson this is the moment during which they both recognise each other - a feeling that they have met before. This suggests that they are spiritually bonded to the original movie in some way.
11. The last line of the movie is the same in the 1933 one.
The ultimate reference to the original movie was sadly never to be - Peter Jackson wanted Fay Wray, by then in her 90s, to make a cameo at the end of the movie, but she died before this was possible.
Even as the theatrical cut was released, it was obvious that an extended cut of the ape saga, announced by Peter Jackson, would follow. That arrived shortly a year later, spread over two DVDs and with a few surprises consisting of more than the already-familiar deleted scenes. The largest addition was inclusion of a scene (inspired by a similar scene from the 1933 film) wherein the party searching the island for Ann builds a raft to cross a swamp, and is attacked by a giant piranha-like creature. The spider pit scene has a slightly longer coda, and a gag scene wherein a truck full of soldiers (played by the film's animation department) is trampled by Kong appears near the end.