|“||That's Kong. He's king around here.||„|
The MonsterVerse version of King Kong (キングコング?) is a giant ape Kingu Kongudaikaiju created by Legendary Pictures that first appeared in the 2017 MonsterVerse film, Kong: Skull Island. He will also appear in the 2020 film, Godzilla vs. Kong, where he will meet and face-off against Godzilla.
Kong was named by the Iwi natives of Skull Island.
Eight months were spent designing Kong with the goal of making him a powerful anti-hero with an element of humanity to make audiences feel an affinity for Kong. The director asked for the MonsterVerse Kong's design to be inspired by, and act as a throwback to the 1933 film's design, while being truly identifiable as the "2017 version of Kong." Famed creature designer Carlos Huante created an anatomically updated physique by referencing posed frames from the 1933 film. Honoring the original design, Industrial Light & Magic developed the 2017 design by giving Kong orange-brown fur, a small crown, a huge brow, an exaggerated muzzle, and animators gave Kong a wide-eyed roar. This Kong was designed to be 104 ft. tall was to give him weight and a grandiose quality that would evoke the idea of a human speck in the shadow of the colossus.
The concept of Kong walking upright like a human was a design choice intended to give off the impression that it was its own species, over that of a silverback gorilla like the 2005 film's incarnation, or a generic "big monkey." The designers took design cues from the 1933 variant with its exaggerated or cartoonish properties, and attempted to visually twist them to make it their own. His stance, while upright unlike his 2005 counterpart, shows how his arms are longer than his legs, proportion wise, given him an unnatural appearance compared to a human, providing him with a distinctive silhouette.
Kong's upright stature is an intentional departure from the traditional, hunched-over posture of apes, as the producers said "it made him feel more like a god" as opposed to merely a big animal, and give people the visceral response of looking at a god. It also serves to pay homage to the original depictions of Kong as a person in a suit, given his more humanoid stance. The overall design was created to be simple enough to be drawn by a third grader, yet iconic enough to be immediately recognized. Another big part of the design was instilling a sense of divisiveness in the audience, where some see Kong as a threat, others a savior, and some a God.
In general, Kong has several scars, three of them running diagonal from his left pectoral to the right side of his torso, and a rounded head. It is also said by Hank Marlow, who got his information from the natives, that Kong had not yet reached his full size.
Kong is portrayed through the use of CGI, aided by performance motion capture by Terry Notary with reference facial animation provided by Toby Kebbell. With the blessing of previous Kong actor, Andy Serkis, Notary completed the motion capture for Kong in only three days.
Kong's size was a key factor in the director's decision for keyframe animation, led by ILM animation supervisor Scott Benza, to be used in making most of Kong's performance. This enabled the director to work closely with the animators to get the desired performance for Kong.
Long before production on the film began, the filmmakers experimented with different techniques to create Kong's roar, which were overseen by supervisor sound editor/sound designer Al Nelson. As the original 1933 Kong roar was made with a reversed tiger roar and a lion roar, Nelson visited the National Zooligical Park in Washington D.C. and Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom and recorded lion roars as the starting point. He also mixed and matched gorilla and monkey sounds to create additional layers.
To fully capture the desired "island-shaking" levels, the sound team set up speaker systems at Skywalker Sound and played Kong's bellows and roars through a 5.1 channel system.
|“||Kong's a pretty good king. Keeps to himself, mostly.||„|
— Hank Marlow
Kong is shown to be extremely fierce and brutal when angered, hurling trees at the oncoming helicopters and smashing them together. Despite this, he has a relatively kind and peaceful side, helping a Sker Buffalo to escape after it was trapped under the wreckage of a helicopter, and befriending Mason Weaver and James Conrad. This was to the extent that he even went to save Weaver when she fell into the river during his battle with the giant Skullcrawler.
Kong also demonstrates remarkable intelligence, such as when he attacked the giant Skullcrawler using a tree trunk as a staff and used the propeller off an abandoned ship as a melee weapon.
Kong is shown to be at least partly carnivorous, feeding on animals such as a Mire Squid that he killed. It's also implied that he ate one of Packard's soldiers, however, this is also shown to be inadvertent as the man falls into Kong's mouth while the latter holds a helicopter above himself as he roars.
Kong seems to show a great deal of loneliness, as a result to him losing his parents to the Skullcrawlers at a young age. His eyes well up with tears when Weaver gently touches him, and one of the cave paintings depicts him crouching and mourning over the remains of his deceased parents. The producers intentionally designed Kong to have a personality similar to a "teenager orphaned early and forced to assume adult responsibilities," being not yet fully grown but left to fend for himself. The director wanted to give the audience insight into Kong's state of mind of him being a lonely and exhausted God lumbering around the island, being its protector but also killing time as he drags himself from place to place. Terry Notary played Kong as a lonely, burdened "14-year-old that's trapped in the life of an adult" who's coming into himself and his role as a protector, driven to uphold his sense of duty by the burden of the loss of his family. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts also described Kong as an adolescent growing into his role as alpha as he faces the defining battle of his life to claim his rightful place as King of Skull Island.
Kong shows great hatred for the Skullcrawlers as well, becoming very aggressive while encountering them, and this hatred was caused by the Skullcrawlers killing his parents.
The MonsterVerse Kong's origins were explored during the events of Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, where it was revealed that Kong was birthed during one of the final major battles between Kong's species and the Skullcrawlers. His mother would put him in a safe place, and rush back to aid her mate, Kong's father, but both would be killed by the ravenous Skullcrawlers.
In the 1944 prologue, Kong first appears rising over a ledge where Marlow and Gunpei Ikari are fighting.
In 1973, he makes his first proper appearance as Preston Packard and his crew drop bombs on the land below to map it. Enraged, Kong attacks the helicopters, swatting them out of the air and killing many of Packard's men, to which Packard swears vengeance against Kong. He reappears later on, heavily wounded from the earlier fight. As he washes his wounds and drinks from the lake, unknowingly watched by Jack Chapman, Kong is attacked by a Mire Squid, but he manages to kill the creature by stomping on its head, and proceeds to make a meal of the giant cephalopod.
Later, Kong is seen jumping from one mountain to another as he looks over the island. By a large vent leading underground, Kong finds a dead Sker Buffalo nearby with a small Skullcrawler feasting on it. As he is about to engage the creature, Kong is ambushed by another one from behind. After a quick fight, he kills them by throwing one to the ground, breaking its neck, and stomping the other's head. Then some time afterwards, as Weaver tries and fails to save a Sker Buffalo trapped under a downed helicopter outside the Iwi village, Kong appears and rescues the buffalo. He encounters Weaver for the first time and looks at her curiously before leaving her be. Later that night, he is seen sitting at the top of a mountain, somberly watching an aurora.
At night the following day, Kong sees both Weaver and Conrad on the top of a tall ledge through a fog and approaches them. While frightening at first, Kong warms up to them as Weaver touches his face, and visibly weeps before retreating. Suddenly, explosions begin to sound and blaze in the distance as Packard has set a napalm trap to kill Kong. He is lured in and set on fire by Packard. Several of Packard's men are crushed in his rampage, but Kong is knocked unconscious and Packard prepares to blow him up with explosive charges. Conrad, Weaver, and Marlow intervene, however, and convince the remainder of Packard's men to defect against killing Kong. However, from the swamp nearby emerges the largest of the Skullcrawlers. After coming to and crushing Packard with his fist, Kong attempts to fight the monster, but the Skullcrawler manages to overpower him.
As morning comes, the Skullcrawler turns its attention onto the humans and chases them into a marsh. Kong returns and saves them by bashing a giant boulder against the Skullcrawler's head, giving the humans the chance to get to safety. The fight continues, with Kong managing to get the upper hand by wielding a tree trunk as a bat at one point. However, the Skullcrawler uses its tail to throw Kong into a shipwreck, where he is tangled in its chains. When the Skullcrawler is about to deliver the killing blow, the humans distract the giant monster long enough for Kong to free himself.
Using a boat propeller attached to a chain like a flail, Kong manages to severely wound his foe and pull it back toward him. Then Kong throws the Skullcrawler against the cliff Weaver is standing on, causing her to fall into the water. He continues fighting the Skullcrawler until he seemingly kills it by slashing its throat with the propeller. However as Kong rescues Weaver, the Skullcrawler springs back to life and attacks, trying to eat the human clasped in Kong's hand. Then the Skullcrawler wraps its tongue around Kong's arm and it's pulled down the Skullcrawler's throat. As the Skullcrawler refuses to let go, Kong violently yanks out his opponent's tongue, ripping out its internal organs, finally killing it for good.
Once Kong ensures Weaver is finally safe, he gently sets her down and leaves. As Conrad checks on Weaver, Kong looks back at them before wandering off. He appears one last time as the humans depart from the island in the rescue helicopters. Kong watches them leave as he beats his chest and loudly roars, proclaiming himself the King of Skull Island.
On August 7, 1995, 22 years later, Aaron Brooks, the son of Houston Brooks and San Lin, leads a team of five Monarch operatives on a secret mission to Skull Island for at least three days to uncover answers about Kong. Following an attack by Psychovultures, the operatives' pilot crash-lands on the west of the island in their V-22 Osprey while they parachute down to a cliff overlooking the island. They are almost immediately attacked by a pack of Death Jackals and survival expert Helen Karsten is killed. The Death Jackals pursue the remaining humans into a cave and corner them. Before the humans can be finished off, Kong appears and saves them by crushing the Death Jackals in his hand and beneath his foot. Then Kong briefly stares at the cave entrance before walking away.
In July the following year, the remaining Monarch operatives, led by the Iwi boy Ato, embark on a pilgrimage to uncover Kong's past and eventually meet with him. When the humans are attacked by a Sirenjaw by the wreckage of an old Dutch ship, Kong's roar is heard as he goes to fight it, and Aaron leads the others in Kong's direction.
When Aaron and his team arrives at the scene, they see that Kong has already left and killed the Sirenjaw. The carcass eventually attracts Psychovultures and Death Jackals. The team then reaches the Boneyard and hides from a pack of Skullcrawlers in a cave. Riccio then experiences another vision and sees that the day when Kong was born was the day when he lost his parents to the Skullcrawlers. Kong's mother hid her son in a cave by sealing its entrance with rocks while Kong's father fought off the Skullcrawlers. Kong then watched the Skullcrawlers kill his parents, creating the anger and hatred he had for the bipedal reptilians. When the Skullcrawlers left in the night, Kong walked towards his parents' bodies and cried in grief.
Kong makes his full appearance when a group of Mother Longlegs attack the Iwi settlement. Kong easily kills all of the giant arachnids and crushes Riccio with his fist. Then he comes in contact with Aaron Brooks and spares his life. As Kong came and saved everyone when they needed him most, Aaron realizes that Kong has the instinct to protect human life.
Kong will encounter and battle Godzilla in this film.
Kong is shown to be great climber, being able to scale sheer cliffs and mountain faces.
Durability and stamina
Kong was able to withstand the bullets from military helicopters and attacks from the Skullcrawlers. With some injuries his stamina is still very high as he was able to still walk and continue through with long engagements. Despite being temporarily knocked out from a napalm explosion, Kong could still defend himself for short period of time and awaken moments later to continue the fight against the largest Skullcrawler. After he defeated the largest of the Skullcrawlers, he walked off, showing no sign of being exhausted.
Kong is shown to be an intelligent being, for he can differentiate his allies from his enemies. He also takes advantage of his surroundings while fighting and is able to use tools as many primates do, which is shown when he uses boulders and trees as weapons. He even tore off the propeller off an unused ship and used it to grapple and hack the alpha Skullcrawler during his battle.
Kong's hearing is quite strong as he was able to hear a trapped Sker Buffalo struggling to break free from a helicopter wreckage. His vision is also strong enough to notice people standing on a cliff through fog in the dead of night.
Speed and agility
Kong is surprisingly quick for a creature of his size, being able to quickly dodge Skullcrawlers that attack him from behind. He has a body built for flexibility, and is able to swing his long arms to make effective strikes in combat. He is also able to leap very high.
Strength and combat
Like his previous incarnations, Kong is extremely strong despite not being fully grown and great at combat against the multiple smaller Skullcrawlers that tried to ambush him. He can easily overpower a Mire Squid by tearing off its tentacles. With his strength, his punches can incapacitate smaller Skullcrawlers and can wrestle and pin the largest of them to the ground by using sheer strength. He can also able to stand on his feet while the largest Skullcrawler's tail is constricting his torso.
Lack of bodily armor
Kong's species are naturally born without armor, unlike Godzilla whose has incredibly thick scales that make him resist attacks from enemies. Kong can get injured more easily, which is shown when the rotor blades of a helicopter grazed his palm.
Kong's weakness is his size, as he is not fully grown yet to have his full strength against larger monsters. He can also be easily wounded, as shown when he washes a freshly bleeding wound inflicted by Skullcrawlers and helicopter propellers.
Poor healing factors
Kong doesn't possess any healing factors, unlike Godzilla who heals very quickly. He needs a long time and sustenance to heal, as shown when he washes his arm that was scratched during the fight with the helicopters. The scars on his chest have also not completely faded.
- Kong is referred to merely as "Kong" and not the usual moniker of "King Kong" (the official bio references this, stating the 'story of how Kong became king').
- At 104 ft (31.6992 meters) in height, the MonsterVerse Kong is currently the second largest incarnation of the ape kaiju to date.
- Kong is supposedly an adolescent, as the skeletons of much larger apes (implied to be his deceased parents) are seen strewn on the ground.
- Kong ripping apart and devouring the Mire Squid is a rare instance showing a kaiju actively consuming another.
- Kong seems to care for the native Sker Buffaloes, as he is enraged upon seeing one killed by a Skullcrawler and later helps another that got trapped under a helicopter wreckage.
- Some of Kong's animation was portrayed by Terry Notary, who previously played the chimpanzee Rocket in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Fellow Dawn of the Planet of the Apes actor Toby Kebbell, who played Koba, provided some reference facial animation for Kong.
- Kong combines features of early hominids, the mythical Bigfoot, and perhaps some aspects of the Gargantuas, as opposed to being a more "realistic" gorilla as seen in the 2005 film.
- According to director Vogt-Roberts, an alternate opening would have taken place in WWII with soldiers fighting on a beach, when they are attacked by a large ape (similar to the 2005 Kong) which is immediately gunned down. However, the real Kong then emerges, many times larger and more threatening. Unfortunately, the studio nixed the idea, telling Vogt-Roberts "You can't do that!"(Citation needed)
- This is the first American King Kong film where Kong does not die at the end: in the 1933 and 2005 films he is shot by aircraft and falls to his death from a skyscraper. In the 1976 film, he fell from a skyscraper but was put into a comatose state. In King Kong Lives, his artificial heart fails and he dies, and he is already deceased in Son of Kong.
- In contrast to the 1933 and 2005 versions who met their ends trying to fight off attacking airplanes, this incarnation of Kong makes his first major appearance by successfully defeating a group of military aircrafts.
- Kong is similar to Godzilla in several ways: both are the last of their kind, both have a vendetta against their natural enemies (the Skullcrawlers/the MUTOs) who have killed the rest of their species, and both are portrayed as morally-neutral alpha predators who maintain order and have no personal quarrel with humans.
- However, while Godzilla ignores humans and pays them no heed (except when he sees Ford Brody and shows emotion when they make eye contact), Kong recognizes and forms relationships with individual humans either as friends (Conrad and Weaver) or as enemies (Packard). Also, while Godzilla is adult, Kong is an adolescent, basically a teenager that is still growing and learning.
List of appearances
- ↑ Kong: Skull Island Production and High-Res Photos SciFi Japan. Retrieved January 7, 2018
- ↑ Smith, C. Molly (November 10, 2016). Kong: Skull Island gives first look at movie monster Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 27, 2017
- ↑ Schaefer, Sandy (May 11, 2016). Kong: Skull Island – Toby Kebbell Provided Kong Facial References Screenrant. Retrieved January 12, 2018
- ↑ Shanley, Patrick (March 10, 2017). 'Skull Island': Kong Motion-Capture Actor on Sequel Plans and Seeking Andy Serkis' Blessing Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 27, 2017