2005 Lawrence Tuczynski

All information on this page courtesy of Robert Storch

Title King Kong 2
Movie also known as: King Kong Lives
CD Label Victor Musical Industries, Inc. Tokyo Japan
CD Number VDP-1175
Music Performed by: Graunke Symphony Orchestra
Music composed, conducted and produced by: John Scott
Number of tracks 17
Running time 47:22
Number of discs 1
Year of release/manufacture 1987

REVIEW

September 30, 2005 courtesy of Robert Storch

This rare Japanese soundtrack for "King Kong 2" (known as "King Kong Lives" in the US) may be only one of two officially released versions of the score on CD. Soundtrack Collector's website lists an official US release on MCA Records (MCAD-6203) presumably from 1987, but this CD like the Japanese disc must be long out of print, I have never seen it before and cannot confirm its existence. The only other soundtrack CD that I am aware of was a bootleg issued in 2000 on Ape Records (APE-CD 4267). The bootleg borrows the same cover from the Japanese edition, but changes the title from "King Kong 2" back to "King Kong Lives" and contains a few bonus tracks from some of John Scott's other films. With no other official release available, this Japanese version has become highly sought after by fans of the score and is currently selling for anywhere between $100-$300 on eBay or Yahoo Japan.

The music is very good - it features a combination of military marches, action cues and beautiful slow themes. The first track, which is really an intro, starts off with sound effects of Kong's roar, then goes into a great military march which at times sounds a little bit like Danny Elfman's main title from "Batman". Since this film came out in 1986, roughly 3 years before "Batman", I wonder if Mr. Elfman had ever heard this theme before? In any case, if you like the Batman March (and who doesn't?) I suspect you'll like this track too. After the intro we hear the main title, which is a very nice track that sounds similar to a theme heard in "The Final Countdown" (John Scott's film score from 1980). This beautiful theme shows up a few times on the CD, slightly changed each time. Tracks 9, 13, and 15 are also military marches, while track 16 starts off with the first roars of baby Kong. The orchestra does a nice job throughout and the music was well recorded.

The film itself was not very good (I am being most kind) and was a terrible idea from the start. It was intended as a sequel to "King Kong" from 1976. Now, didn't Kong die in that movie you may ask? Well, I guess not. He was apparently saved with an artificial heart, later meeting Lady Kong and eventually fathering baby Kong! If I remember correctly, my cousin and I walked out on this film when we saw it in the theater - we couldn't believe that someone would actually release this garbage. While the Kong suit was good, it was certainly a step down from the 1976 incarnation.

The soundtrack is a different matter altogether, and is well worth seeking out if you want to hear one of John Scott's best scores. Besides, where else can you find a track titled "Lady Kong Gets Gassed"?

King Kong 2

  1. Prelude
  2. King Kong Lives Main Titles
  3. Discovery of Lady Kong
  4. Back To Life
  5. Kong Meets Lady Kong
  6. Honeymoon Ridge
  7. Footbridge Incident
  8. Night Camp
  9. Lady Kong Gets Gassed
  10. Leap Into The Rapids
  11. Alligator Swamp
  12. Chaos In A Small Town
  13. Revenge On The Hunters
  14. Kong Rescues His Lady
  15. Kong's Final Battle
  16. Birth Of Baby Kong And Death Of Kong
  17. Return To Borneo And End Credits