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Ernest B. Schoedsack
Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Frank Reicher, John Marston, Victor Wong, Edward Brady
Writing Credits:
Ruth Rose

Sequel to the 1933 classic, King Kong. Here, adventurer Robert Denham returns to Skull Island, where he found the original Kong. Though the island is populated by prehistoric animals, Denham manages to locate Kong's offspring, and rescue him from quicksand. In return, the appreciative, playful (and yes, loveable) ape makes sure to beat up any creatures that threaten Denham and his crew, but - being a kid - he enjoys fun and games, which sometimes gets him into trouble. But when an earthquake rocks Skull Island, will Baby Kong and the explorers survive?

Box Office:
$250 thousand.

Rated NR

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Monaural

Runtime: 69 min.
Price: $19.97
Release Date: 11/22/2005

• Trailer


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Son Of Kong (1933)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 1, 2006)

After more than seven decades, 1933’s King Kong remains a classic. Its sequel, which also came out in 1933, a mere nine months after the release of Kong? Not so much.

Set a month after the end of the first film, The Son of Kong finds showbiz producer Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) on hard times. After Kong caused havoc in the original flick, all the injured parties held Denham responsible. He faces multiple lawsuits and a grand jury investigation.

A destitute Denham reconnects with Captain Englehorn (Frank Reicher), the skipper of the vessel that carted back Kong. Englehorn has his own problems and partners with Denham to run a small shipping operation. In the middle of nowhere, they encounter Captain Helstrom (John Marston), the sailor who originally told Denham where to find Kong. A sleazy drunk, Helstrom clearly needs to avoid all sorts of authorities, especially when he accidentally kills two-bit circus man Petersen (Clarence Wilson). Petersen’s daughter Hilda (Helen Mack) knows what happened and plans to sic the authorities on Helstrom.

In need of a way out, Helstrom convinces Denham and Englehorn that they missed treasure back on Skull Island. The group heads back there, but Helstrom foments trouble along the way and sparks a mutiny among the crew.

In the meantime, they discover that Hilda stowed away on the boat. The remaining crew and Hilda all continue toward Skull Island. There they discover a smaller relative of Kong’s, and the rest of the movie follows what happens to them.

The original Kong succeeded because it was a rip-roaring adventure. It used then state-of-the-art visual effects along with an exciting story to combine into an action flick that still entertains more than seven decades later.

Everything’s the same for Son… except for the parts about “rip-roaring adventure”, “exciting story” and “action flick that still entertains more than seven decades later”. The effects continue to be good, at least. The same team that did Kong handled Son, so they were equally as convincing.

Too bad the movie makes such poor use of them. People act like cheesy sequels are a modern creation, but trash like Son proves otherwise. This flick screams to us that it was made on the cheap to capitalize quickly on Kong. Story and characters are thin at best, and the action is radically less memorable. Don’t expect anything as exciting as the T-rex fight or the romp through New York in this tepid affair. Lil’ Kong battles a bear and a big lizard, but he never presents the same level of energy or presence as his pop.

Instead, Son comes across much more in the kinder, gentler vein of Mighty Joe Young. Lil’ Kong is no threat, as he’s just everybody’s pal. Smaller and nicer, he doesn’t offer nearly as appealing a presence as his Old Man.

Funny how such a short movie feels so padded. Son dallies on pointless scenes like those with the stage show run by Hilda and her dad. We get many minutes of those shots even though they do nothing to serve the story or character development. They exist solely to flesh out Son to feature length, as otherwise it’d be too short for full ticket price. It’s hard to believe a movie that runs less than 70 minutes can feel so long, but that’s what occurs during the tedious Son.

Really, I can’t find much to recommend about The Son of Kong. The visual effects continue to look pretty cool, but the movie seems to serve no purpose other than to make a buck. It lacks drama, personality or excitement and does nothing other than slander the good name of King Kong.

Title footnote: Although everything on the DVD’s packaging refers to the movie as Son of Kong, the title card seen in the actual flick calls it The Son of Kong. Because of that, I regard the latter as the proper title.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

The Son of Kong appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Expect visuals very similar to those of King Kong in this attractive presentation, though Son looked a smidgen better.

Given the age of the material and its complexity, this was very strong image. The film featured many complicated effects shots, and those created quite a few possible concerns. Despite those issues, the film usually remained well-rendered.

Sharpness mostly came across well. A few shots seemed slightly ill-defined, and not always for obvious reasons. I understood a loss of resolution in some of the effects shots, but some without any visual complications also looked iffy. Nonetheless, the majority of the flick appeared nicely distinctive and detailed. I noticed virtually no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was minimal.

Blacks looked tight and deep, and contrast seemed solid. Print flaws were quite minimal for a movie of this one’s vintage. Some shots exhibited light spots, and a few showed thin lines or small specks. That was about it, however. Most movies made in the early Thirties look considerably dirtier, so this one’s restoration impressed. This was a solid presentation that was just a little better than King Kong, and that led to a grade of “B+”.

In addition, The Son of Kong presented a more-than-adequate monaural soundtrack. Nothing about the audio excelled, but it seemed solid for its age. Speech demonstrated pretty positive clarity and appeared reasonably natural. Some lines were slightly edgy, but the dialogue didn’t seem too thin and shrill. Effects were acceptably clean and accurate; they didn’t demonstrate much range, but they lacked much distortion and were fairly concise. Music seemed similarly restricted but sounded fine for its age. The score was reasonably full and replicated the source material acceptably. Virtually no background noise cropped up during the movie. For a 72-year-old movie, this was a perfectly solid soundtrack.

Unlike its predecessor, unfortunately, Son skimps on extras. We find only its trailer. That doesn’t surprise me, but I’d still have liked some bonus materials.

Not that a piece of trash like The Son of Kong warrants a lot of introspection and interpretation. A weak follow-up to a classic, it offers almost none of its predecessor’s strengths. The visuals continue to impress, but every other aspect of the movie disappoints. At least the DVD provides strong picture and audio for such an aged film. The crummy nature of the movie itself and its lack of extras means that I can’t recommend The Son of Kong even to the most ardent genre fans.

Pursestrings note: you can buy The Son of Kong in two different ways. The DVD is available on its own or you can get “The King Kong Collection”, a four-DVD set that features The Son of Kong along with Mighty Joe Young and the two-disc King Kong. It retails for around $40, which makes it a steal if you’re interested in more than one of the three flicks. Kong retails for $27, while Joe and Son go for $20 each. That makes the boxed set a real bargain if you want two of the movies.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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