"You'll believe a man can...dress like a giant ape."
This is one biblically awful piece of cinema, yet it gets two stars because it's just so damn funny.Ever wondered what a truly ‘bad’ movie looks like? Heck, you’ve probably already seen it! The great-granddad of wholly unwelcome (to say nothing of awful) remakes of classics, Dino de Laurentiis’ King Kong is a stunningly extensive melange of truly wretched components. You name an area of filmmaking and it’s poorly represented here. Bottom line: when people use the term ‘so bad it’s good’, this one is precisely the kind of sludge they’re talking about.
Where to begin? I suppose Jessica Lange is a silly enough place to start; she’s so bad here that I’m stunned she somehow survived to become one of America’s best actresses. Movies as bad as this one have sunk more than one starlet’s career. Faring just as goofily are Jeff Bridges (as our hippie anthropologist hero) and Charles Grodin (as our requisite capitalist bastard), though both offer performances perfectly in tune with a movie this keeningly campy.
Special effects? Oh please. The only thing more side-splittingly hilarious than the monkey effects in this movie is the fact that they somehow earned an Academy Award! (And it’s not just a cause of outdated technology; these effects truly are bad.) Try not to catapult popcorn out of your nostrils as Kong attempts to give Lange (stupidly named “Dwan” here) an industrial-strength blow dry, and be sure to keep an eye out for the chintziest-looking giant snake this side of Anaconda.
The dialogue borders on arcane farce, the ‘modernizations’ to the source movie are specious at best, plain old stupid at worst, the editing is scattershot and static, the musical score is bombastic and repititve, and the cinematography... well, actually that’s not that awful. More’s the pity that DP Richard Kline’s camerawork is mired in such a goofball flick.
The word ‘goofball’ is why I can unmercifully trash a movie like this, yet still like it in a perverse sort of way. To say this one doesn’t measure up to the original film goes without saying, but if you get a kick out of Ed Wood flicks and the sort of movies usually seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000, odds are you’ll have a ball laughing at this massive turkey.Moment of clarity: Lange’s nips are clearly visible during her monkey-hand waterfall shower, and their presence may rouse you from your incredulous laughter.