New Narratives – Week 2/3 – King Kong research

King King (1976) was an American monster thriller movie produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by John Guillermin – this movie was a remake to the original 1933 version of the King Kong, it had the same concept as the original of a Kaiju Ape that is captured and brought to New York City to be exhibited to the public but escapes and runs havoc within the city. The team behind this iconic film feature the special effects work by Carlo Rambaldi and a cast that stars Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange.

(I also found out this was Jessica Langes first role within a film too!) 

This film is the only version in the King Kong franchise that features the iconic World Trade Center rather than the Empire State Building like in most other versions of the movie.

Plot Synopsis –

“Famed producer Dino De Laurentiis tries to steal the thunder from Jaws, then the top-grossing film of all-time, in this big budget remake of King Kong. (De Laurentiis related his tactics to Tom Snyder: “When Jaws dies, nobody cries. When Kong dies, they all cry.”) Updated to the 1970s, the original Robert Armstrong character is now Fred Wilson (Charles Grodin), a big-shot oil magnate from Petrox Oil, looking for new petroleum deposits on a recently discovered Pacific island. Jack Prescott (Jeff Bridges) is a counter-culture paleontologist, stowing away on Wilson’s ship, who warns that they are headed for “Skull Island,” where prehistoric monsters still live and roam free. Also along for the ride is Dwan (Jessica Lange, in her film debut), a down-on-her-luck starlet, shipwrecked in the ocean after the sinking of a yacht. She really becomes down-on-her-luck when the group lands on the island and a giant ape, Kong, takes a shine to her. Kong kidnaps her and Dwan takes umbrage when the ape tries to remove her clothes by shouting, “You male chauvinist ape!” But Prescott comes to her aid and rescues her from the gorilla’s big mits. Wilson, seeing money to be made on Kong, locks him in the cargo hold of his ship and transports him to New York City. Once there, Kong manages to escape and wreak havoc upon the beleaguered town, before being compelled to climb up the World Trade Center for sanctuary.” ~ Paul Brenner – Fandango Website

Reviews On The Movie –

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%

Den Of Geeks: 3.5 / 5

IMDb: 5.8 / 10

So its apparent the movie is average at most, which for its time i guess i would agree although being a person from the 1990’s and being granted access to superior movies i don’t exactly think the movie was that great in the end, this is what i get for being born in the era i was, we take movies for granted and just look into well polished films with good effects and visuals, i admit i am one of those people… Guilty!

Creating King Kong –

Carlo Rambaldi’s King Kong ranged around forty feet (twelve meters) tall, weighed around six and a half tons and cost one point seven million dollars to construct. Being one of the largest animal animatronics ever made in its time the ape proved too challenging to operate in a convincing manner and only viewed in a few minor seconds of the King Kong movie.

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Turns out Carlo had to legally fight for his creation over the years for the robotic ape!

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Schematic –

As a group we were going to attempt with a schematic for each of the Kong movies although pressed for time we decided to stick with the 1970’s version, you can read more into the movies through Michelle’s blog, very detailed analyze and research!

Roughly, we sat together and discussed what happened and when the each of the ten characters did throughout the movie~

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Rough Schematic by Ryan Beatty.

Michelle’s Narrative –

I really admire Michelle’s ways of narrative, very clear and you can imagine this filler piece to be within the King Kong movie! She doubts her writing skills but she deserves more credit in my opinion, she is great~

Off screen fillers with Boan and the native tribe-

For the of screen characters of the movie I noticed that there are two possible storyline that could be created. The first if the character Boan. Other than Jack is is the only survivor or Kongs attack and makes his way back to the ship alone. He is of screen for some time, reappearing on the beach looking worse for wear. This implies that he had some troubles in the forest, so I decided to write my own piece:

Boan

Boan scrambled up the bank, slipping on rocks and tree roots, desperate to get away from the raging beast. The others were gone, dead. No way could they have survived the sheer drop of the cliff, the beast saw to that. Pulling himself up to level ground, Boan risked a glance back at the giant they called “Kong”. Jack had managed to escape its clutches and remained on the other side of the mountain. They were separated. Jacks intentions were to continue the rescue, but Boan had enough. Kong had begun to walk away, taking Dwan’s desperate screams with him.

With one last look at Jacks retreating form, Boan began to make his way back on the same path they had come. His rifle had fallen in the attack but he had managed to hold on to his ruck sack. Pulling the bag from his back, he rummaged through the contents until he found a hunting knife, the only form of protection he had. Heaving the ruck sack over his shoulder, he began the track back down the cliff.  Fortunately the native built wall was still in view in the distance, so the chances of getting lost were slim. Boan adjusted the ruck sack more securely and tucked the hunting knife into his belt. The ground was wet, the earth shifting easily beneath his feet. With two hands he used the surrounding trees as clutches, careful not to lose his footing as he made his descent.

A ravenous growling began, getting louder and closer. Boan paused for only a moment before pulling out the hunting knife and quickening his pace. His feet touched more level ground and he was able to take longer, faster strides. He allowed one glance back over his shoulder, seeing a large tree being pulled from its roots and falling down with a crash. Boan took no time to wonder what sort of monster could knock down a tree so easily, and broke into a heart pounding sprint.

A sharp pain shot up his leg as he misplaced his step, twisting his ankle and throwing him off balance. Boan fell down a slop, hitting trees and thorn bushes. A branch caught the strap of his bag and yanked him to a stop, half hanging over a small cliff edge. A roar rang out from behind him, so loud it rattled his bones. His hunting knife was still clenched tightly in his hand and he began sawing desperately at the strap. With a snap he was free, but now had to brace himself as he fell further down, finally landing in a ditch. Covered with mud, leaves and branches he slowly stood, immediately being reminded of the reason for his fall when his ankle gave a sharp throb. The growl was like thunder in his ears, it was so close. In a desperate attempt to hide, Boan covered his body with the surroundings, smearing mud on his face for camouflage.

He felt more than heard a heavy body moving down the slop, its form coming into few. Teeth. That was all Boan saw. He squeezed his eyes shut and held his breath, praying that his body wasn’t shaking too badly to be seen. Hot, foul smelling breath felt like mere inches from his head, but he refused to move or make a sound. Finally, after what felt like a life time, the gigantic beast began to move slowly away. Waiting until the thuds of the footsteps could no longer be heard, Boan sat up. Brushing his makeshift camouflage off, he stood up and tested his weight on the hurt ankle. It was painful, but bearable. Spying the native wall in the distance, he continued his journey back to the ship.

The second character that could have a possible storyline is the native that was the original sacrifice to King Kong before Dwan came. I wanted to write a short piece of how she got ready for the ceremony.

Native

I sat with legs crossed and back straight. Staring at a cracked, moulded mirror long savaged from a ship wreck. My reflection stared back at me. Head tilted proudly with hard eyes and squared shoulders. My hands were resting on my legs, clasped in a tight grip. Anyone who saw would believe I was honoured, eager for my sacrifice. I glanced sideways at the old frail woman sitting in the corner. My grandmother had the same expression as my own, except the tears swimming in those old wrinkled eyes betrayed her. I give her a stiff nod, immediately regretting when her old chapped lips began to quiver. I looked back at my reflection, watching the ceremonial woman paint the white markings of my tribe on my arms, back and chest. I should be proud, that giving myself to the God Kong would bring my people prosperity and my family health and honour. Kong. The name itself gave a chill up my spine. At that moment a roar rang out over the village. I jumped in response, he was getting restless. The chief poked his head into the small ceremonial shack, demanding that we come outside as to not displease the God further. My grandmother made her way slowly to where I sat on the wooden platform. Her withered, sun worn hands felt soft and warm on mine. I leant forward to rest my forehead on her own, inhaling her musky familiar scent. This was goodbye.
Four men came into the room and hoisted the wooden platform up of the ground, one holding each corner. I grabbed onto the sides to prevent myself from falling. The ceremonial woman bowed and thanked me for what I was about to do. I nodded at them as I was led away out of the shack and into the village. The whole tribe was out, dressed in their ceremonial outfits. They danced, drank, sang and chanted as I was taking through the village towards the great Wall that protects us from the nightmares on the other side. My whole body was shaking now, my fingers losing feeling from the tight grip I still held on the edges of the platform. Flowers petals were thrown around me, villagers thanking and praying that my sacrifice will be pleasing to our God.
I began to feel sick and my vision blurred.  I prayed I still sat straight and proud and not hunched over the edge heaving up my last meal.The chief’s ape mask came into view as he led the way, dancing and chanting like the rest of them.
Story by Michelle Beggs

Final Schematic –

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After we were happy with the initial layout of the schematic, Michelle took the rough draft and created this beautiful design of the films narrative on Photoshop i believe. She asked if i could add vines and leaves to it although pressed with time and personally i loved this version of it as it was crisp, simple and clear so i decided to vote against the idea in case i destroyed this awesome schematic!

The Artefact Research –

During the research of the movie, we came to discover each and everyone of the characters had their own agendas during the events of King Kong.

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Dwan had an infatuation with Jack throughout the movie and some level of care towards the Kaiju Ape although ultimately she only wanted fame and fortune.

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Jack loved Dwan but desired more knowledge on the beast, could he have had both in the end?

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Fred was just an asshole that wanted money and that in turn proved to be his downfall in the end.

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Kong wanted nothing but Dwan throughout the whole movie.

They all had their ambitions but did not get them quite the way they wanted in the end.


 

Inspired by how the beast is portrayed in his commercial posters, we came to notice how Kong is portrayed as a savage beast that wants to steal the damsel in distress but when we see him and is more human than most of the actual people in the film.

As you can see Kong is either given red eyes, aggressive posture or a savage appeal with the exception of the promotional posters for Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005) were Kong seems to be more curious than angry, i find this poster particularly cute that this kaiju is so protective over the ant sized human!

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Process Of Final Artefact –

With Ryan’s initial idea on how the Artefact poster should look, Michelle done a rough draft on his description.

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Michelle’s drawing

Kirsten then had took her draft and compiled a sketch on how the prospective and composition of characters within the piece.

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I then took her version and did a digital piece that in the end was put in with the final outcomes pile but was then chosen to be in the presentation as the final artefact, its the sense of refinement that shows the communication and teamwork used within our group, we discussed what we wanted and got there in there end.

Here is a wip of the piece in progression to its completed state –

I felt happy with this outcome as it gave me a chance to test out some texture brushes created on Photoshop, i wanted to stick to the portrayal that Kong is a savage although i wanted some humanity within the piece thus given Dwan the center light she craves and making her the light source of the image.

 

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