A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kong: King of the Apes features a lot of animated violence between the legendary gargantuan primate and the advanced robots the show's villain dispatches to battle him. While there's never any blood or realistic injury, the attacks are intense, and Kong can be intimidating in the midst of them. Sinister Richard takes joy in inflicting pain on Kong and others, even his own twin brother. The story raises some serious issues related to conservation, suggesting that humans' apathy in the past (in other words, today) led to the endangerment of many species and their natural habitats. On the upside, Kong's closest supporters see past propaganda to his true nature and stand by him even when the world turns against him. Expect some tense moments and characters in peril in this exciting new take on Kong's story.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
KONG: KING OF THE APES is a reimagining of the story of gargantuan ape King Kong. It starts with poachers en route to San Francisco with a valuable baby ape in tow, whom they plan to sell for a hefty sum. But he escapes and is rescued by Lucas, who takes him home and raises him until he's outgrown (to the point of destruction) the family home, forcing them to move to the forest for Kong's sake. But Lucas's twin brother, Richard, resents the change, and when a lab accident leaves him injured, he lies and pins the blame on Kong. A decade later, his anger hasn't subsided, and he returns home to exact his revenge on Lucas and Kong, who now live in the animal preserve their father built on Alcatraz Island. Using his bots to prod Kong into a violent outburst, Richard swings public opinion of him and turns him into hunted prey, but Lucas and his friends continue to fight for the gentle ape and against Richard's nefarious plans.
Is it any good?
Oversized action awaits viewers in this exciting new take on an old favorite that shows Kong fighting for his freedom and his friends standing firmly on his side. In animated form, Kong is even more a gentle giant than he's ever been in other iterations, and fans really get to see his kindly personality shine in this presentation. There are themes of friendship (including interspecies, of course), honesty, and altruism in the good guys' camp, while Richard and his crew are ruled by greed, resentment, and jealousy. On a more cerebral level, the characters show kids some cutting-edge applications of the sciences, including biology and robotics, as only a near-future-set story can do.
Kong: King of the Apes also uses its futuristic story to convey some strong messages about environmental issues such as deforestation and poaching as they relate to the plight of Kong and other endangered creatures. There also are examples of how propaganda can sway public opinion and the dangers of choosing sides before you have all the facts about an issue. These are heavier themes than generally exist in kids' entertainment, but they have a rightful place in this story and give it some added depth. Ultimately, though, it's Kong and his oversized heart that steal this likable show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sciences and how they improve our quality of life. Which recent inventions can you not imagine doing without? Are all scientific advancements positive? Which areas still need to be improved upon?
This story suggests that Kong has almost human qualities and a near human personality. In your experiences with animals, have you ever felt a similar way? Does the human impulse to protect animals extend to all species? How have humans threatened the survival of some animals? On the other hand, how have they helped preserved them?
Is this show particularly violent? If you've seen other productions starring King Kong, how does the content compare in terms of the skirmishes on-screen? Is violence less intense when it's presented in animation than when it is in live action?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love animated animals
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