The Mighty Kong (1998)
|Animated King Kong films|
The Mighty Kong is a 1998 American animated musical adaptation of King Kong. It was animated by Jade Animation, Anirom Animation, Rainbow Korea Animation, and Hahn Shin Corporation. Legacy Releasing gave it an extremely limited U.S. theatrical run on May 29, 1998, and Warner Home Video released it on VHS on June 16, 1998.
After cancelling his stage show Wild Animal Follies to pursue a film project, famous director C.B. Denham takes to the streets to find a lead actress. He discovers Ann Darrow attempting to steal an apple from a merchant. He has his assistant Roscoe buy her out and takes her to dinner where he entices her in song to sign on to his film crew so as to gain fame and fortune and the ability to live in Hollywood. On the ship the Java Queen, she encounters a cabin boy called Ricky and his monkey Chips, who are ordered off the decks by Jack Driscoll after nearly being crushed by falling cargo. In Ann's cabin, she begins to doubt her desire to become a movie star, but Ricky reminds her that she has nothing to lose by trying. Below decks, one of the sailors claims the stock of arms brought aboard with Denham are justified as they are going to an island that the ship had drifted to some time previously. While Ricky is ill, Ann takes the dinner cart to the cabin, where Driscoll belittles her for her being a jinx on the ship. She dumps clam chowder on his head and storms out, much to Denham and the captain's amusement. The next day, while filming test footage, Ann dreams of an island paradise. After six weeks at sea, the ship arrives at the location marked on Denham's maps, but before sailing south for Skull Island, The Captain arranges for the crew to vote on the voyage. Denham offers them bonuses and their names in his film's credits and they agree. They then arrive at Skull Island, where they find natives in the midst of a religious ceremony. Despite having mentioned knowing of a Monkey Cult on the island, Denham does not know the meaning of the word "Kong" in the native chant. Despite the Captain's warning, Denham starts filming, and accidentally knocks his cameraman into the ceremony. The Captain talks them out of immediate danger, but the islanders become intent on capturing Ann. Driscoll gives Ann his jacket, and that night on the ship decide they are in love. Ann is then kidnapped by the Skull Islanders, Ricky discovers she is not on board, and an armed search party goes ashore to find her. Ricky and Chips follow afterward. The party sees Ann bound between two posts and being wheeled up a mountain, where Kong takes her away. Driscoll finds a tunnel that leads into the island, and evades a Triceratops. Kong carries Ann away, but they are attacked by a Tyrannosaurus rex, which Kong quickly defeats. Kong takes Ann to his volcano lair, where he douses her in water from a waterfall and throws her in a pool before drying her off with his breath. They are then attacked by Pteranodons and a Giant Snake. While Kong is occupied, Driscoll takes Ann away and they jump into a river teeming with crocodiles. In an attempt to escape a rockslide, Denham and his cameraman bungee jump off of the cliff with film strips. Ricky and Chips find them, but Denham cannot walk. Ricky and Driscoll save Denham, but are discovered by Kong. He incapacitates him with gas bombs, and the Captain attempts to leave without Kong, Denham, Ann, and Driscoll implore him to take him. Denham gives an idea to transport him, and later uses him to become the star of his latest stage show: The Mighty Kong. Ann and the rest of the crew work in the show, but Ann is devastated to see the noble Kong in chains. Denham consoles her by claiming that the show's procedes will go to a thousand acres in south New Jersey for Kong to roam free in. Unfortunately, the flash from the press's cameras upset Kong, as they make him believe Ann is in danger, and he breaks free. Ann and Jack flee the scene, and Kong breaks out of the theater and begins to roam New York City in search of Ann. During his search, Kong picks up and eats the produce stand that Ann once tried to steal an apple from. He eventually finds Ann's jacket on the sidewalk outside her hotel, reaches into her room, and grabs her. They are attacked by tanks, and so to escape them Kong climbs the Empire State Building, where they are attacked by airplanes. Kong lays Ann down, but she rolls over and falls off the building. Luckily, she grabs the railing of an observation deck, and survives. When the planes were all downed, Denham's idea to capture Kong was attempted, and two blimps with a cargo net strung between them fly over to Kong. Kong is captured in the net, but his weight causes it to tear apart. Ann then slips, but is caught by Driscoll who had been climbing the building's stairs to rescue Ann. Carl gives his line about Beauty killing the Beast, but Chips and Ricky discover that Kong is alive.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Art Scott
- Written by William J. Keenan
- Produced by Lyn Henderson, Denis deVallance
- Executive producers Koichi Motohashi, George W. Drysdale
- Music by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman (songs), David Siebels
- Edited by Tony Hayman
- Production design by Lyn Henderson, Brendan deVallance
- Special effects by Kevin Oakley, Sang-ll Seo
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Dudley Moore as C.B. Denham
- Jodi Benson as Ann Darrow
- Randy Hamilton as Jack Driscoll
- William Sage as Roscoe
- Jason Gray-Stanford as Ricky
- Richard Newman as Captain
- William Sage III, Don Brown, Ian James Corlett, Michael Dobson, Paul Dobson as Additional voices
Weapons, vehicles, and races
Warner Bros. VHS (1998)
- Tapes: 1
- Audio: English
Tricoast Entertainment DVD (2019)
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0)
- Subtitles: None
- Special features: Trailer
- Notes: Made-to-order DVD-R. Cropped to 1.74:1.
- To avoid licensing fees, The Mighty Kong is based on the public-domain 1932 King Kong novelization by Delos W. Lovelace rather than the 1933 film. Though the two stories are extremely similar, this prevented the ship from being called the Venture (a problem Kong: Skull Island would also face); Jack Driscoll also encounters a Triceratops instead of a Stegosaurus.
- The Mighty Kong was Dudley Moore's last film.
- The song "Dolly Of Pa Pali", in which Ann Darrow imagines herself dancing with various marine animals, is likely a reference to Jodi Benson's role as Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
- This is the first American King Kong film in which the title character survives the end of the movie, though King Kong Lives retconned the ending of King Kong (1976) to reveal that Kong fell into a coma after his plunge from the World Trade Center.
- The name of the ship C.B. Denham charters, Java Queen, comes from Captain Englehorn's boat in The King Kong Show.
- Roscoe informs Denham that Garbo has bluntly turned down the offer to appear in his next film. A similar moment takes place in the 2005 King Kong remake, with Denham learning from Preston that Fay Wray has a scheduling conflict.
- A radio announcer begins news dispatches with, "Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea," a shortened version of Walter Winchell's famous opening.
- Denham boasts, "Ziegfield, eat your heart out!" as The Mighty Kong commences, a nod to Broadway producer Florenz Edward Ziegfeld Jr.
- Several brief live-action shots of fireworks and waves appear throughout the film.
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