King Kong is one of the most iconic American monsters, on par with Godzilla. The image of him climbing the empire state building is one that has been referenced in countless movies, shows, and games throughout the years. First appearing in King Kong in 1933, it’s been remade once in 1976, then again in 2005. This year he once again returns to the big screen in Kong: Skull Island.
The movie poster itself appears very foreboding. Kong is a distant threat; blurry, indistinct. You can only just make out his snarling mouth and fangs. The orangeish tint of the sun suggests it is setting. This lends a sense of finality to the procession of the figures on the lower half of the poster, as if they are approaching the climactic battle. The figures form an arrow that leads our vision to Kong standing in the distance. The sun forms a halo around his head. All of these serve to emphasize him as the main focal point of the poster.
Looking back at the 2005 poster, it’s a very noticeable shift. The 2005 poster shows off King Kong in all his glory, in his most prolific scene. They angle is dynamic, he’s in motion, and the color palette is much less stylized than Skull Island. It’s much more similar to the 1976 poster. While it is more of an illustration than anything approaching realism, it also features Kong in New York, wrecking havoc.
Comparing Skull Island to the previous two iterations of the franchise, it’s clear to see that they are making an effort to branch out. The tag line “Skull Island” also sets it apart. King Kong is not in New York, as most people imagine him, but rather on his own home turf. King Kong is classic story, but this poster promises something different. There is an air of mystery to the poster that attempts to draw the audience in with a new twist to a character and story that is well loved.