An animated musical comedy-adventure for children, THE MIGHTY KONG is (no surprise) based on the 1933 classic KING KONG. Cheaply produced and boasting a number of forgettable songs, the film was released straight to video in 1998.
Flamboyant, egotistical showman C.B. Denham (voice of Dudley Moore) charters the S.S. Java Queen for an expedition that will serve as the subject of his next film which will star Ann Darrow (voice of Jodi Benson), a struggling movie extra he rescued from the streets of depression-era New York. On
board the ship are first mate Jack Driscoll (voice of Randy Hamilton), cabin boy Ricky (voice of Jason Gray-Stanford), C.B.'s bumbling assistant Roscoe (voice of William Sage III), and an apprehensive crew.
They reach Skull Island in the south seas, reputed home of a legendary "Monkey God." The initial trip to the island is cut short by hostile natives. At night, following a romantic duet by Ann and Jack, the natives steal aboard the ship and abduct Ann, whom they wish to sacrifice to their god,
Kong. The crew races to the island in pursuit and gets there in time to see Kong, a giant ape, pick Ann up in his hand and take her into the jungle. Jack goes on his own through a cavern to the island's interior to head off Kong and try and rescue Ann, while C.B. and Roscoe follow to try to
capture Kong on film, an effort consistently undercut by Roscoe's clumsiness. Jack rescues Ann and hurries back to the beach where the crewmen manage to knock out Kong with gas bombs, just as the island's volcano erupts.
In New York City, C.B. presents Kong on Broadway, but the commotion of the opening excites Kong who breaks free in a search for Ann. After a series of misadventures on the streets of New York, Kong finds Ann and climbs with her to the top of the Empire State Building only to get knocked off by a
pair of dirigibles trying to snare him in a net. As C.B. proclaims that "it was Beauty that killed the Beast," the wounded Kong opens his eyes.
The best that can be said for this witless, misguided cartoon adaptation is that it will doubtless spur disgruntled parents and guardians to expose their children to the original KING KONG (which gets not one word of acknowledgement in this production's credits). Although it follows the original
story closely, with one scene lifted from Dino De Laurentiis' modernized 1976 remake, THE MIGHTY KONG leaves out all the excitement and suspense, not to mention the death and destruction, by interjecting a series of light-hearted songs and inappropriate gags, and transforming Carl Denham (played
so memorably in the original by Robert Armstrong) from an adventure-seeking, glory-hungry showman into C.B. Denham, a blithely unflappable narcissist with a British accent. It's all tossed together like a Saturday morning cartoon and wastes the talents of Moore, Benson (1989's THE LITTLE MERMAID)
and songwriters Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, who've fallen a long way from the heights of MARY POPPINS (1964). The animation was farmed out to China and Korea and the voice dubbing to an oft-used Canadian dubbing house.
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: G
- Review: An animated musical comedy-adventure for children, THE MIGHTY KONG is (no surprise) based on the 1933 classic KING KONG. Cheaply produced and boasting a number of forgettable songs, the film was released straight to video in 1998. Flamboyant, egotistical… (more)