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Read King Kong (2005)

King Kong (2005)

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3.37 of 5 Votes: 4
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0345484967 (ISBN13: 9780345484963)
modern library

King Kong (2005) - Plot & Excerpts

Without doubt, this is one of the finest movie novelizations ever written. In a genre of literature that is so often a cash grab in modern times, 1932's King Kong by mystery writer Delos W. Lovelace is a cut above the rest.If you've seen the movie, you know the story: reckless film director Denham has a map to a lost island, and he wants to go and film a movie there. Bowing to public pressure to have a female love interest, he hires out of work Ann Darrow, and they set off for the island aboard the Wanderer. Ann falls in love with the ship's hunky first mate, Jack Driscoll. Upon arriving at the isle, the gang discovers it is inhabited by natives who worship a huge gorilla named Kong. The natives kidnap Ann and give her to Kong as a sacrifice, forcing Denham and Driscoll to lead a rescue party to try and get her back...Based on earlier drafts of James Creelman and Ruth Rose's scripts, Lovelace's book contains numerous differences from the complete film. Some are cosmetic, such as renaming the Venture the Wanderer. There's a few wholesale character substitutions (instead of a Chinese cook named Charlie, we get a salty old seadog named Lumpy), and entire scenes that didn't make it into the film, including the infamous spider pit as well as a scene where Kong fights a group of triceratops in a morass of molten asphalt (!).Some of the slang and word usage is dated, particularly Lovelace's use of "ejaculate" to mean "shout" or "yell."The 2005 Modern Library edition(s) is probably the best version to get. Not only is it a more recent printing, but it contains both an introduction by Merian C. Cooper biographer Mark Cotta Vaz and a preface by Greg Bear. Both contain a lot of interesting information about author Lovelace and the writing of the book. Unfortunately if I have one complaint about this edition, it's that the information about the author is buried amidst the usual regurgitated stories about the making of the movie and focuses way too much on the two men it shouldn't: Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace.Cooper, obviously, has a lot to do with King Kong, as Kong was his idea and he was the only who paid Lovelace to write the book, but since this is supposed to be about the novelization, which he did not write, the lengthy passages about him are just filler. And I've never understood why Wallace is discussed so often in connection to King Kong. He wrote one draft, which Cooper hated and didn't use, and he was only ever credited to add prestige. Now that Kong has established itself as a pop culture staple, it has no further need of the boost given to it by attaching Wallace's name, so I don't get why publishing companies keep listing him on the front cover along with Cooper and Lovelace. All I can figure is it must be for the same reason George Lucas keeps being credited as the Star Wars novelization's author, despite his own admission it was Alan Dean Foster - namely, that who is credited and how is tied up in the publishing rights.But they get "About the Author" sections in back and Lovelace doesn't. heck, Greg Bear (!!!) gets an "About the Author" bit and not Lovelace. I'd say I've never seen such contempt for the person who wrote a novel based on someone else's idea, but I'd be lying; that'd be the Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland wholesale rewrite of Lovelace's book which mentions him not one single time despite borriwing passages from his novelization verbatim. At least here, Lovelace is mentioned, discussed and credited.It's ironic that Bear mentions in his preface that movie novelizations are often ghostwritten and published under the director or screenwriter's name because "naive audiences need to believe that a film and everything connected to it come from a single creative mind," when the Modern Library only helps perpetuate this belief by crediting Cooper (who only commissioned the book) and Wallace (who had nothing to do with it) ahead of the actual author. Oh well.

It seems to me that classics tend to become classics for one of two reasons. The first being that they are incredibly well written novels that become examples of their craft. The second being that they may contain ideas which are universally relevant. I'm not suggesting that a classic cannot be both, for instance Pride and Prejudice is both a social commentary and beautifully written. Yet I believe that one of those two features dominates as to why it is remembered as a classic work of fiction.In the case of King Kong, the legend of the beastly Kong survives mainly due to the second reason, with the nature of its ideas being greater than the book itself. It reminds me of a similar book by Edgar Rice Burroughs in Tarzan of the Apes, as the idea behind King Kong - that of a savage king of the wild encountering westernised civilisation - is similar. Yet, interestingly, in the case of this classic novel, like with another classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, the book is a novelisation of the film. However, this novelisation was written and released before the movie reached cinema screens.By now almost everyone in western civilisation knows the basic premise of King Kong. Most people know of how he came from a mysterious island to New York. There are fewer who do not know how he ultimately ends up atop the giant Empire State Building battling planes, the symbol of nature battling the enforcers of civilisation. The image of Kong atop the Empire State Building is one ground into the public consciousness and reinforced by advertisements, films, video games and slogans. This book, like most source material, contains this very legendary story and fleshes it out for the reader who has not yet discovered the entire story.The writing in this novel is somewhat rough and at times poetic. It is hardly the most artistic writing and yet it has a historical charm about it that speaks of adventure and exotic action. It is a writing style that works in connection with the powerful ideas and the legend of King Kong to provide a fascinating storytelling experience.As a final note it can be hard not to see the tale of King Kong as a metaphor given the period of history in which it developed. The idea of a creature being taken from its homeland and chained for the amusement of (presumably) white American Broadway attendees and press hints at issues in the consciousness of the time. It hints at the cultural condition of the African-American people and slavery. And yet I would be wary to consider this book as one which endorses and upholds white supremacy as I would be wary to consider the legend of Tarzan in the same way. There can be such an issue as reading too deeply into any narrative. I would also be reluctant to see Kong as a symbol of masculine strength and domination over women (therefore creating a chauvinistic narrative from this text), though an argument could perhaps be made for this.However, I would consider the tale of Kong as one which considers the idea of western civilisation versus the forces of nature. Kong, the mighty king, can be seen as a force of the wild. An untamed, spirit of nature which is ultimately destroyed by the power of progress and the machines of war. Yet at the same time it is a clearly a reworking of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast, a fairytale referenced often in this book. Ultimately, the story of Kong is one which is a powerfully symbolic tale. Yet at its heart it is also classic adventure fiction of the best type, full of pulpy writing and characterisation. As such it is a fun read yet hardly the most compelling novel ever written. In this case I sense that the beast within this novel is perhaps greater than the novel itself. A primordial force which cannot be contained by the bounds of literature or film.

What do You think about King Kong (2005)?

Benjamin Torres10/30/14Period 3/4Good Reads King Kong This book was amazing. The main charaters were Ann, Denham, and Driscoll. The part that I like was when King Kong climb the Empire state building. I’m sometimes scared of heights but I’d would like to where King Kong was at. I even could visualize it in my head. Also I like the part where The Mighty King Kong broke the gate of the village. It tells the reader that he is strong. When I first heared about King Kong I thought it was going to be a regular gorilla. But when I saw the movie, he was huge. Thats when I wanted to the book. When I saw the book a the Muirlands
—Benjmin Torres

King Kong by Delos W. Lovelace was a book that I enjoyed reading. King Kong is a fictional character but it takes place right in the center of New York. There were many things that i enjoyed reading about and many things that i disliked while reading this. I also watched the movies created on this as well. The book had the same story as the movies but i thought they were very different. King Kong is an abnormally large gorilla that lives on an island along with dinosaurs and other animals and creatures that are believed to be extinct. He is very happy while living there, he has his food, and he basically controls what the other animals do as well. The only reason i believe he did not like it there was that there were not other gorillas there with hims so he could have been very lonely. Later when the camera crew goes to the island they see Kong. They wanted to capture him instantly. He was a very important part of their journey to this island. No one has ever witnessed what they had seen on this island. They eventually do capture him but in the process Kong falls in love with one of the women in the camera crew. He wants to be with her all the time and becomes very upset when she is not around him. When they brought Kong back to New York they set him up for display. I thought this was very cruel to do to an animal. They made him feel like he was nothing, he was chained together for everyone to see. He became very angry at this and broke out of the chains. This is when he goes on the rampage around New York.I had an opinion that i do not think many people would agree on about this book. I think that even though that Kong was an amazing discovery that no one has ever seen before they should have left him where he was. They should not have brought him back to New York with them. If they have the pictures i believe that is enough proof you need of believing this animal is real, instead they brought him back and ruined his living area. I think this sis similar to capturing a trophy sized fish and killing it. No, you should put it back in the water for other fisherman to catch. This is one of my all time favorite books. I loved both the movies and the book. They both display their ideas of what Kong is and what he does in a very unique way. Kong is a beast. there is no getting around it. This book displayed the way he really was though. They showed another side of him. They showed the loving side to him as well. King Kong is a must read and I definitely recommend it to anyone.
—Anthony Luongo

King Kong was a screenplay and successful movie before it was a book. Even though the book left a few things to be desired, the history of King Kong is fascinating. There were several people on the audio book that provided commentary about this history of the film, their impressions when they saw it as little children and so on. There was also a discussion on the power of icons, and how their meaning and importance change over time with generations. There had been the use of puppets before this movie, but this movie was one of the first, or the first really, to have a puppet be a real and strong character within the storyline. Some commentors said that people really remembered a lot more about Kong than they did about the human actors in the movie. My favorite comments were by Catherine Asaro who had really interestings insights. She said that one of the reasons we empathize with Kong is that we have all felt at one time or another that people viewed us as monstrous, and so we pity Kong, knowing some of what he felt to be attacked by others. I will say that the line "Beauty and the Beast" was extremely overused to the point of madness :0)Ray Harryhausen (animator for the original Clash of the Titans)Catherine Asaro Ray BradburyLarry NivenHarlan EllisonOrson Scott CardJack WilliamsonMarc Scott Zicree
—Marcia Brisson Van Camp

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