Since its release in 1933, Merian C. Cooper's film King Kong has shocked and delighted generations of movie fans, setting the standard against which all such movies have been judged ever since. In December, 2005, Peter Jackson - whose films of the Lord of the Rings won critical acclaim and set box office records around the world - will release his version of this classic film, bringing King Kong back to the forefront of the popular imagination.
Fully authorized by the estate of Merian C. Cooper, Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland's novel is a full rewrite of the original 1932 novel, bringing Cooper's original vision of King Kong back to readers and fans alike. Set in the early 1930's, it is a classic story of exploration and adventure, at the center of which is the "eighth wonder of the world" himself - Kong.
DeVito and Strickland (Kong: King of Skull Island) deliver a fast-paced rewrite of Cooper's landmark 1932 adventure novel. Filmmaker Carl Denham is desperate for a starlet for his new project, but it's hard to locate a dame willing to board a ship bound for a secret destination with a cargo full of gas bombs. But find Ann Darrow he does, and the ship sails for the West Indies. The journey and arrival chapters are pretty boilerplate (Ann and first mate Jack Driscoll start falling for each other; the West Indian natives of Skull Island are stereotypically savage). But DeVito and Strickland do a bang-up job after the natives kidnap Ann from the ship and Denham and Driscoll must enter the island jungle and fight off deadly dinosaurs in search of Kong and the damsel in distress. The familiar scenes after Denham captures Kong and bring him back to Manhattan are thankfully succinct, and overall the authors do a fine job of respecting Cooper's pre-WWII idioms while picking up the pace for a contemporary audience. The result is a book that seems genuine and uncontrived, even as it's timed to coincide with another cinematic remake (Peter Jackson's movie hits theaters in December) of the King Kong story.