Plot: Carl Denham (Dudley Moore) has built up a lot of hype for his next movie, but he has a problem, as he has no idea what his next movie will be. He promises the world, but is out of ideas, at least until he meets Ann Darrow (Jodi Benson), an actress in desperate need of a break. As he believes he has found his star, Denham and his crew head off to a remote island to film his next epic, unaware that this island has a lot more to offer than lush, tropical atmosphere. Once on the island, Ann is used as bait by the locals to lure down King Kong, a massive ape. While Denham knows movies, he also knows spectacle and he is certain that Kong would be a huge attraction. Can he somehow transport the ape back to New York and if so, will his dream of endless crowds be realized or will Kong have other ideas?
Entertainment Value: As much as I appreciate the cinema of King Kong, this animated version is quite a clunker. The narrative is what you’d expect, but Denham is even less likable than usual and it makes some concessions, in order to keep the tone family friendly and all that. So perhaps for that audience, this spin on Kong will have some appeal, but even then, it pales in comparison to most animated features. The pace runs slow even at 71 minutes, thanks to a lot of filler musical numbers, again likely included to grab those family audiences. But the musical routines are uninspired and don’t have much entertainment value, so it just makes an already lackluster movie even more dull and lifeless. I did appreciate the conclusion, from a b movie cheese perspective, but otherwise, this one was a limp noodle.
The animation in The Mighty Kong isn’t bad, but it feels rather cheap when compared to other animated feature films. This is more in line with a television cartoon show, as it looks colorful and passable, but not remarkable. The character designs continue that feeling, as there isn’t much detail when it comes to the humans and even Kong seems simple in his visual presence. I can see skimping on some elements of the animation, but at least make Kong look cool, right? The backgrounds and such are fine, but not rich with detail, just acceptable. So The Mighty Kong doesn’t dazzle with the visuals either, though it does at least reach Saturday morning cartoon standards. The voice cast doesn’t add much either, with Dudley Moore in a disinterested performance and Jodi Benson in a solid, but unmemorable effort. I can’t fault the leads, given the material and all, but it is still a disappointment.