View Full Version : King Kong: NYC 1933 Recreated

September 11th, 2005, 09:26 AM
Some links to great movie clips for the new King Kong,
a film directed by Peter Jackson (to be released December 14, 2005).


The film makers recreated Times Square / Herald Square and other parts of NYC circa 1933:


Street scenes -- cars, motorcycles:


And the TRAILER (wow!!!) :


And the official website:


September 11th, 2005, 09:47 AM
It looks so weird to see that downtown view without the towers. :( Remember in the 70's version where he is tied up between them?

December 5th, 2005, 08:58 AM
Back in the Great Ape's Embrace

NY Times
December 5, 2005


This time, the big ape is coming back to the right building with the biplanes and the blonde.

Weta Digital/Universal Studios

The huge ape returns to the Empire State Building in the latest version of "King Kong,"
with Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow

Turner Classic Movies

King Kong first scaled the Empire State Building in the 1933 film.

When some 8,000 invited guests in Times Square attend tonight's world premiere of the three-hour, $207 million remake of "King Kong," the Eighth Wonder of the World will meet his fate atop the Empire State Building - not the World Trade Center, as he did in the 1976 version starring Jessica Lange. The managers of the building and the filmmakers at Universal Pictures are aware that the promotional frenzy for the film has the potential to clash with the poignancy of loss in a city still recovering from the attacks on the twin towers.

Nevertheless, the Empire State Building - which was challenged for 29 years by the trade center and has been low-key about its recent height advantage, given security concerns after Sept. 11, 2001 - has embraced Hollywood's acknowledgment. "We think it's great to be the star of the movie," said Lydia Ruth, the building's special-events coordinator.

The skyscraper has already benefited financially from the new film, beyond any $14 observation deck tours the new blockbuster might inspire. Although the 1933 classic simply appropriated the building's image, the new production "had to pay the building's ownership, because it's trademarked and branded," Ms. Ruth said, declining to comment on the amount. The director of "King Kong," Peter Jackson of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, wanted the film to be a period piece set in 1933.

"It was so important to get the audience back into the 1930's, which was necessary to the drama of the original story," said Joe Letteri, the film's senior visual-effects supervisor. "Even before we had a script, we made a digital model of the Empire State Building in the computer." The production team worked from original building plans, and visited the Empire State Building eight times over several years to photograph it, as well as the vista from its summit.

The filmmakers then digitally contrasted the new images with 1930's pictures of the building and aerial panoramas of the urban jungle of the city, "and stripped out all the post-1933 features," including the modern antenna mast, Mr. Letteri said.

Finally, the producers reconstructed a computerized New York for the film, creating 90,358 vintage-looking buildings in a virtual city that boasts smoking chimneys, water towers, fire escapes and rooflines authentic to the 30's.

The Empire State is "a more humanly - and more ape-ly - scaled structure," said Mike Wallace, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1999 for "Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898," written with Edwin G. Burrows. "You can believe Kong clambering up it far more readily than you could his scaling the World Trade Center."

In a building that has been forced to adopt airport-style security in its lobby, employees are constantly aware of how their building returned to being the city's tallest, and of the ground zero void. "You look downtown and notice it's gone, and wonder how it ever happened," said Christopher Blackman, 25, the building's telecommunications supervisor, who manages the 204-foot-tall antenna mast way up at Kong's rooftop domain.

As he spoke, he was standing on the 103rd-floor parapet where Kong could have placed a paw. "Actually, we did have him here once," Mr. Blackman said of the eight-story-tall, 3,000-pound nylon balloon model that sprang a leak as it was tethered to the top in 1983 to commemorate the original film's 50th anniversary.

Mr. Jackson, the Oscar-winning director of the new film, surveyed the Empire State Building early on - even ascending in the cramped "mast car" elevator originally built to gain access to the skyscraper's dirigible mooring mast - and then climbed a 12-step steel ladder to the 103rd floor, leading to an exterior hatch. This is the highest point where people can stand on the building these days without having their brains fried by radio-frequency energy from the steel broadcast tower.

In New Zealand, where Mr. Jackson shot the movie, the filmmakers constructed a set duplicating the building's mooring mast. Another set reproduced its foyer, and a third re-created its exterior at street level. Mr. Jackson, 44, seems to have a thing not only for the original movie, but also for the building itself. At age 12, he tried to make a version of "King Kong" using a cardboard model of the Empire State Building backed by a painted skyline on a bedsheet.

But he is hardly the only director to pay homage to the 1933 "Kong." The 2004 science-fiction adventure "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" depicted monstrous robots attacking New York while a Kong-like figure scaled the walls of a skyscraper.

Ric Burns, the filmmaker who directed the trade center documentary "The Center of the World," said that the center "was taller, but it never had the same metaphoric power." He added, "Other tall buildings may have superseded it, but in a funny way the Empire State Building never lost its stature."

And while the Empire State Building has replaced the World Trade Center in contemporary depictions of New York, "it is not yet clear whether it will do so in the city's collective imagination, where the twin towers linger on, like phantom limbs," Dr. Wallace said.

The widespread desire to build something as tall as the vanished buildings - one of the forces propelling construction of the Freedom Tower - "suggests a yearning to fill that hole in the sky," he said.

And the new "King Kong" has come to New York "in an incredible moment," Mr. Burns said. "It is a time of two powerful absences - the building that is not there, and the building that is going to be there."

But Kong may have lost much of his power to menace. "The threats to our architecture have surpassed the giant ape," said Debra Burlingame, a member of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation board whose brother, Charles F. Burlingame III, was a pilot of the plane that hit the Pentagon. "Airplanes with jet fuel were far more dangerous than any primate, however big."


In the 1976 remake, King Kong lies dead after being shot down from atop the World Trade Center.

In the future, then, will some filmmaker perpetrate another remake depicting a noble, misunderstood ape battling airborne weaponry atop the Freedom Tower, or other skyscrapers as yet unborn?

"Even if they build big ugly new towers," Ms. Ruth, the Empire State's special-events coordinator, said, "nothing will be as beautiful as our Art Deco landmark."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

December 5th, 2005, 12:45 PM
ESB really does epitomize the skyscraper like no other. Very cool that P. Jackson did this as a period piece - I can't wait to see the 1930's New York skyline. Check out McGraw Hill in the top photo and all those piers lining both sides of the Hudson.

December 5th, 2005, 01:12 PM
Great reviews have started coming in ... :D

http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/tomatoes/small_fresh.gif (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1144008/reviews.php?critic=all&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1456460) "This gorilla of a film is blockbuster of the year." (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1144008/reviews.php?critic=all&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1456460) [movie review] London Daily Mail (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/source-265/)

http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/tomatoes/small_fresh.gif (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1144008/reviews.php?critic=all&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1456569)
5/5 "That Jackson’s King Kong upgrades the now hammy original with wit, heart and humour is a pleasant surprise. That it does so by reinventing the action blockbuster, in form and emotional impact, is nothing less than an act of cinematic alchemy." (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1144008/reviews.php?critic=all&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1456569) [movie review] Times of London (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/source-823/)

December 6th, 2005, 12:06 AM
What surprised me was the $200+ million cost of the film. Considering that most movies don't even make that much. They must have figured that it would be a huge hit.

December 6th, 2005, 09:09 AM
They are figuring that:

1. For soemthing liek King Kong, you really need the $$ to do it right, otherwise it will just be schlock.
2. If you are using LOTR's whats-his-face as director, you stand a good chance to make back the cash fairly quickly even if the movie is so-so based on his rep.
3. They are not taking any chances on the advertisements. This is the first flik I have seen that not only has a video game and advertisments out before the flik, but a lottery game as well.

They are pulling out all the stops.

But it will be hard to go against the still popular Potter, and the possibly stellar Narnia.

December 15th, 2005, 08:58 PM
http://www.metrocinema.org//images/programme/octnov04/kingkong.jpgSpeaking of schlock, let us not forget the immortal "King Kong vs. Godzilla"

December 15th, 2005, 09:37 PM
post-viewing mini-review:

act 2, which takes place on skull island, is pretty damn terrific. non-stop thrills, chills, spills + kills. kong is terrific (stay for the credits to see who protrays him). naomi watts is really nothing short of astounding, especially considering that she was shooting with nothing (pretty much everything on skull island appears to have been cgi'd after the fact -- all very well done).

i won't give anything away.

nyc recreated is great to see (although there are some oddities -- particularly the way kong et al jump from one nyc location to another, seemingly with no logic to the way those places are actually situated).

my one problem is jack black. why? i'll tell you later, after more people have seen the movie ...

December 15th, 2005, 09:38 PM
...it will be hard to go against the still popular Potter, and the possibly stellar Narnia.
very worthwhile

December 16th, 2005, 08:54 AM
Look at the first pic here....

What are those tall buildings in JC? Were they there back in the time of Kong?

December 17th, 2005, 03:01 AM
The top picture that has the tall buildings in JC is not in the movie. That top picture also seems to have the World Financial center and other modern skyscrapers. The just saw the film today, and it shows downtown NY the way it was without the WFC or any post 1933 buildings I could recognize. Point is, that top picture is wrong and not what you see in the movie.

1933 Manhattan is really amazing for its time. Many of NYC tallest buildings were built between about 1928 and 1933. Go to Skyscraperpage.com and go to diagrams, and you can see all the neat buildings that was built during this time period by limiting the dates for New York. A city well ahead of its time.

TLOZ Link5
December 17th, 2005, 02:03 PM
Look at the first pic here....

What are those tall buildings in JC? Were they there back in the time of Kong?

No, and neither was the World Financial Center, which is also in that photo. It looks to be from 2002.

December 18th, 2005, 02:08 PM
I kind of wish that they would wait for the FT's construction and have him climb that. However, considering the fact that planes would need to be used to shoot him down, and because of the 9/11 stigma, I doubt that this will happen. Maybe he could climb Gehry's Beekman St. Tower? Calatrava's South St. Tower?

December 26th, 2005, 02:11 AM

TLOZ Link5
December 26th, 2005, 03:14 PM
The MetLife Tower's crown looks a little stumpier than usual...and is it just me, or is the Williamsburgh Bank Building missing from Brooklyn?

January 13th, 2006, 02:18 PM
Lofter...why didnt you like Jack Black in the movie? Ive just seen it and I thought it was spectacular but Im inteested in your thoughts on Jack (he will forever be 'getting out the Led' for me from Rock School). Also hows your leg?

January 14th, 2006, 08:06 PM
Leg is much better, thanks.

Jack Black just didn't do it for me ... what can I say?

January 16th, 2006, 06:32 AM
Glad leg on the mend.