Friday, January 27, 2017

THROWBACK REVIEW: Queen Kong (1976)

Queen Kong is...a King sized stinker. Really, who thought this would be a good idea for a movie? If you want an idea of what the hell I just watched, just think to last year when the reboot for Ghostbusters came out. Remember all the controversy? I'm not gonna talk about it, because I really didn't care either way about it, but Queen Kong is essentially doing what the Ghostbusters would do last year. Only...times ten. Where the Ghostbusters would just say "Hey, we're gonna take the main characters of the original film and do that film if they were women", Queen Kong said, "I'm gonna do King Kong. Only I'm going to reverse the roles of everyone!" I kid you not, you play this movie after watching King Kong, and the roles of practically everyone are reversed. Without the risk of sounding sexist...there are a LOT of women in this picture. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but the overall film that they're in, the lazy production, the dumb and unfunny jokes, the pop cultural references that go nowhere, before it all just train wrecks into this climax that makes absolutely no sense, really make this a film I wanna give a giant middle finger to. And truthfully, part of me was actually hoping for a decent laugh at least. I love British humor, and this film was a British feature. But my about high expectations.

The film is of course the story of King Kong, only gender-swapped. We have this director by the name of Luce who is looking for a gentle, handsome man for her picture, which brings her upon this hippie boy wonder, named Ray. She drugs him, kidnaps him, and takes him to this island of natives who worship this huge ape monster named Kong, and yes, it's a she. Gorilla boobies and all (I wouldn't normally point this out, but the film does, so I will too). And it looks like shit. Like the Toho films, this film would use a suit to portray their Kong character, and it's just so inconsistent, so unconvincing, that I won't bother talking anymore about it. The dinosaurs of the film aren't any better either. The costumes straight up look like paper mache, and may very well be as such. You can tell the film is on a budget. But come on movie...these costumes just look half-assed! Anyway back to the story that's the same as King Kong, Queen Kong...or Queenie as Ray calls her, falls in affection with hippy boy wonder, and from there, the film just becomes this big romance chase of hippy boy wonder, because apparently the director Luce finds him attractive as well. Yeah guys, the fact that Queenie falls in affection with Ray is about the only real similarity that this movie has with King Kong.

The production of this movie is so unbelievably cheap that it became insultingly noticeable. The production of this movie makes some of the worst Godzilla movies out there look incredible by comparison. For example, in the beginning of the movie, the crew of the ship (all female) decide to have a musical number about their ship, because movie. There's nothing wrong with the song really, other than it being utter shit, and the choreography being incredibly lazy (the girls honestly don't look like they're even trying), but towards the end of this musical number, I began to notice something rather peculiar. The instrumental track and the vocal track were getting off sync. So the girls were singing ahead of the actual music. one realize this? Anyone at all? That is a fix that would take me less than five minutes in editing. I've already talked about the horrible suits and unconvincing dinosaurs, so I won't bother with them again. The costumes. Holy crap, I don't know if this was done intentionally or whatnot, but the costumes of the Natives are even more stereotypical than the original 1933 film. Was that intentional??? They're terrible! Ray wears this really stupid "attractive" costume, and compares himself to Elton John. Ray, you take that back, Elton John may not be a fashion master, but he dresses way better than you. It's also worth noting that the musical score is absolute shit, and so are most of the sound effects. There's no memorable theme whatsoever. It's just a score to tell you, "Hey, it's the seventies!" Though I'll give whatever band came up with the title song some credit. I hate the lyrics of it, but it's decently jamming. Just wish there was a bit more creativity and not so much adolescence in lyrics like "She's the queenie queenie for my weenie." Well done there...

I'm getting off track here...

For a British Comedy, there is very little comedy here. I'm a huge fan of British humor. I grew up introduced to Monty Python from my father, and I'm a huge fan of comedies by both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and one of my favorite YouTubers is Alex of I Hate Everything, who lives in Britain himself (and ironically enough, is the guy behind the "Because movie"  catchphrase that I love so much). So I was hoping for that British charm here. But it's incredibly absent. The film is absolutely littered with unfunny jokes, political jabs that I just rubbed my face in frustration to, and pop cultural references that are there...because they're apparently funny. It's incredibly disappointing. I can't say there weren't times I didn't feel a smile forming or let out a chuckle, or simply say "Ha ha...", but most of these moments seemed to be at the beginning of the film. As the film went on, I realized there was very little meat on these bones. And I think I have it figured out. It's because of Ray. Almost half the jokes of this movie are given by him, and the guy's just not funny. He lacks any charm to really be able to drop a punchline about Jimmy Carter. A lot of the time, he just looks blazed out of his mind, to the point that makes you wonder if all those joints he's asking for in the movie are actually real joints.

But I think the most confusing thing about this film is its climax, believe it or not. After an unfunny line by Ray, about how he wishes the Empire State Building was there, Queenie decides to scale Big Ben. Okay, I can get behind that. But instead of this action climax we all think we're gonna get, it quickly transforms into this "rights for women" message that falls flat. Look, I'm for Gender Equality. The fact that we're still having problems with it is really kinda sad nowadays, but this film just...isn't the film to preach this. Seriously. Queenie scales Big Ben, and Ray begins preaching from this Helicopter PA system that women don't have to be objectified, or taken advantage of anymore and whatnot, and it falls flat. Why? BECAUSE IN THIS MOVIE, THE WOMEN ARE PRETTY MUCH IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING. Seriously, a scene earlier, Queenie has to save Ray from Luce who's trying to force herself on Ray. If anything, Ray is the one being used, objectified, and taken advantage of. But all of a sudden, the film forgets this and it has all these women protesting in the streets against the power of men, and for Queenie to be set free, and for women to stand up, and I just don't get why. Was this film trying to be a film for women's rights? Why does the film go this route immediately after Ray is almost raped by one? Am I missing something here? Why is my brain hurting by thinking about this? I don't care anymore, I want to get this over with. Queenie is of course set free amidst all the protests, she takes Ray back to her jungle island home, Luce watches in sadness before wondering if they'd allow her to join in a threesome, and as Brendon Tenold would say, Ray likely dies by crushed pelvis. It's funny because giant bestiality everyone! Just the joke to go out on! Fuck this movie.

Queen Kong gets a half star rating out of four. And the only reason it's not getting that lowest rating I can possibly give is because despite almost everything in this film absolutely sucking, the film does have a few laughs. I had a legit chuckle with the policemen when Queenie is walking through London. And despite it being such a lame joke, I chuckled when Luce talked about how her films have "not one wave" before someone obviously just throws a bucket of water at her. It's the British Charm in those silly jokes I could get behind. But literally nothing else. And to my knowledge, this film was pretty much doomed from the start. It never saw theatrical release when Dino De Laurentiis, producer of the next week's movie and RKO copyright holder of King Kong at the time took legal action against the film. It had some theatrical runs in southern Europe, and has a cult following in Japan but that's it. If you were anywhere morbidly curious about this film, listen well. Do not, I repeat...DO NOT go looking for a DVD. You can find the entire thing on YouTube. For free. That's how I watched it, and that's how I'll tell anyone else who wants to watch this shitty film to watch it. YouTube likely doesn't deserve this shit in its database, but it's there. Take advantage of it. 

Please feel free to request any films you'd like to see me review. Leave a comment down below expressing your thoughts on the film, as all comments are appreciated, and as always, thanks for reading.

Next week in the Kong-a-thon...King Kong sees his very first remake, as he returns to the States. Next week, Paramount takes on the roles of giving us King Kong, in the 1976 remake. See you then.

Final Verdict: 0.5/4

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