Movie Memories Day Two: King Kong

Not the old one. The new one.

First, a bit of set up here. When I was a kid I saw a television special called “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Monsters… But Were Afraid to Ask!” That show introduced me to a whole world of monsters. It also introduced me to the world of movie special effects. One of the people interviewed in the show was Rick Baker.

A big chunk of that same special was dedicated to stop motion animation. It was there that I first heard the names “Ray Harryhausen” and “Willis O’Brien.” (My friends had their heroes, and I had mine!) I loved the skeleton fight from Jason and the Argonauts and Harryhausen’s work in Clash of the Titans. And when you work your way back from those you eventually end up at King Kong. Sure, Star Wars was “light years” ahead of it, but how could you not appreciate the original? I even had a poster of King Kong on my wall, a fold out that came from (I think) an old Starlog Magazine.

When I heard King Kong was being re-made back in 2005, I decided to take Mason to go see it in the theater. It was the first movie he ever saw in the theater. He was four-years-old.

First, if it’s been a while since you last saw it (or maybe you never did see it), allow me to mention this — the 2005 version of King Kong is 187 minutes long. That’s over three hours. No four-year-old can go three hours without going to the bathroom.

Fact number two: King Kong does not appear until over an hour into the film. Do you know what it’s like to take a four-year-old to a movie named “King Kong” and have to explain 82 times where King Kong is? “He’ll be here, just wait!” (Tip: Four-year-olds are not good at waiting. Especially in theaters, when they have to pee.)

Oh, and lastly — King Kong, especially in theaters, was terrifying. Mason spent half the movie yelling and half the movie hiding his eyes.

So yeah, chalk that one up as a failure on my part. Around the time Morgan was four-years-old I took her to go see “Racing Stripes” and things went a lot better.

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