|“||That's Kong. He's king around here. He's God to these people.||„|
King Kong (キングコング?), also dubbed Titanus Kong or just simply Kong, is a giant ape Kingu Kongudaikaiju created by Legendary Pictures that first appeared in the 2017 film, Kong: Skull Island. He will also appear in the 2021 film, Godzilla vs. Kong, where he will meet and face-off against Godzilla.
Kong was named by the Iwi inhabitants of Skull Island. The name also corresponds to the name of Congo, an African country known for its population of gorillas, the apes that Kong is primarily based on.
Eight months were spent designing Kong to make 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 feet tall 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 a rounded head and several scars (three of them running diagonally from his left pectoral to the right side of his torso, and several more on the palm of his right hand after attempting to grab the rotating blades of a helicopter). 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, and the techniques 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 Zoological 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 proven 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 proven 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 as an infant as well as being the last of his kind, 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", is 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 an 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 is proven to have immense hatred for the Skullcrawlers as well, becoming very aggressive while encountering them, as this hatred was caused by the Skullcrawlers killing his parents when he was a newborn.
Though Skull Island: The Birth of Kong stated that Kong has an instinct to protect humans, he is still shown killing people but only those who did something to warrant it, such as attacking him or the island (which would imply hostility or attract Skullcrawlers as Hank Marlow states) or endangering the lives of others.
|“|| Standing over 100-feet tall, the beast they call Kong is a primate of such size and ferocity that his very existence rewrites every chapter of evolutionary theory. More mountain than mammal, he walks upright on two legs, his towering form shaking the ground with each thunderous step. It is hard to say how long Kong has existed, but initial analysis of bone structure and teeth suggests the creature is an adolescent. He's still growing.|
While sharing a common ancestry with apes, Kong is an entirely new superspecies beyond any existent categorization of life on Earth. Worshipped as a god by the Iwi, Kong has inspired a culture of reverence among the indigenous peoples of Skull Island. Across the sweep of his natural domain, his history has been memorialized through a series of sacred monuments. Intricately painted petroglyphs and tomes chart Kong's god-like rise to power.
And that power has come at a terrible price.
The emergence of a new breed of apex predator - the Skullcrawlers - challenged Kong's kind, threatening extinction in an evolutionary war that has waged for millennia. The island is strewn with the bones of his fallen ancestors. His family.
How long can it have been since he last gazed upon another like himself?
— Monarch Creature Profile
|“||This is his home. We're just guests here... Kong's the last of his kind, but he's still growing.||„|
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 that was being eaten by a Skullcrawler. 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 afterward, 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 blanket of 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, the Skull Devil. After coming to and crushing Packard with his fist, Kong attempts to fight the monster, but the Skull Devil manages to overpower him.
As the morning comes, the Skull Devil turns its attention onto the humans and chases them into a marsh. Kong returns and saves them by bashing a giant boulder against the Skull Devil'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 Skull Devil uses his tail to throw Kong into a shipwreck, where he is tangled in its chains. As the Skull Devil prepares to deliver the killing blow, the humans distract the giant monster long enough for Kong to free himself.
Using a ship's propeller attached to a chain like a flail, Kong manages to severely wound and pull the Skull Devil back towards him. Then Kong throws the Skull Devil against the cliff Weaver is standing on, causing her to fall into the water. He continues to fight and seemingly kills the Skull Devil when he slashes the giant reptile's throat with the propeller. However, as Kong rescues Weaver, the Skull Devil springs back to life and attacks, trying to eat the human clasped in Kong's hand. Then the Skull Devil wraps his tongue around Kong's arm and pulls it down his throat. As the Skull Devil refuses to let go, Kong violently yanks out his opponent's tongue, ripping out the Skull Devil's internal organs, finally killing his enemy 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 an Iwi boy named 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 arrive 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 is only mentioned in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and never shown, as he ignored Ghidorah's call, wanting nothing to do with Titans beyond Skull Island and wanting them to have nothing to do with him. In the film's novelization, Kong makes a brief appearance on Skull Island before making sure no Skullcrawlers leave the island after they also hear Ghidorah's call.
Kong will encounter and battle Godzilla in this film.
Kong is shown to be a great climber, being able to scale sheer cliffs and mountain faces with relative ease (largely in part due to his size).
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 briefly and awaken moments later to continue the fight against the Skull Devil. After he defeated the Skull Devil, he walked off, showing no signs of exhaustion.
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 can use tools as many primates do, which is shown when he uses boulders and trees as weapons. He even used a chain to tear off the propeller from an unused ship and use it to grapple and hack the Skull Devil, and at one point tried to strangle it with the chain.
Kong's hearing is quite strong as he was able to hear a trapped Sker Buffalo struggling to break free from the wreckage of a helicopter. His vision is also strong enough to notice people standing on a cliff through 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 can 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 smashing its head with his foot and tearing off its tentacles with his teeth. 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. Kong is also able to stand on his feet while the Skull Devil'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 one of Packard's helicopters grazed his palm, suffering severe wounds to his arm from helicopter artillery rounds, and being half-scorched alive by napalm fire.
Poor healing factor
Unlike Godzilla who heals very quickly, Kong has a relatively slow healing factor comparable to that of a human; he needs a long time and sustenance to heal, as seen when he washes his arm that was slashed 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 feet (~31.7 meters) in height, the MonsterVerse Kong is currently the second-largest incarnation of the ape kaiju to date.
- Kong is an adolescent, as the skeletons of much larger apes (his deceased parents) are seen strewn along the ground of the Bone Graveyard (also known as the "Valley of Fallen Gods").
- 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 the wreckage of a helicopter.
- 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, specifically the Empire State Building. In the 1976 film, he fell from a skyscraper, specifically the World Trade Center twin towers, 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 incarnations 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 aircraft.
- 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, and Ghidorah) who have killed the rest of their species, and both are portrayed as morally-neutral apex predators who maintain order and have no personal quarrel with humans.
- Like the 2005 incarnation, this Kong has numerous scars on his body, giving him a somewhat "battle-hardened" look.
- Like the traditional backstories for Kong, this incarnation is the last of his kind.
- In the novelization, Kong's injuries from Packard's napalm trap are more severe as his fur is left smoldering in places with some patches completely burnt off, exposing the skin underneath. There are more instances of Kong's intelligence shown such as him using dirt to put out the fires made by the helicopter battle, and Packard seeing Kong trigger a rockslide to bury a Skullcrawler.
- The outpost Kong lives on, Monarch Outpost 33, homages 1933, the year King Kong was released.
List of appearances
- Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization
- ↑ 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
- ↑ https://imgur.com/gallery/Y2IGiIr
|Kong: Skull Island|