Noble, sympathetic Kong reimagined for 'Kong: Skull Island'

March 9 (Reuters) - King Kong is back again - not climbing

the Empire State Building clutching a distressed damsel in his

colossal clutches, but as the mighty protector of a remote

island in the 1970s.

"Kong: Skull Island" opens in movie theaters worldwide this

week as the 8th installment of the screen classic. It depicts a

group of explorers and Vietnam-era soldiers on a secret mission

to an unexplored Pacific Ocean island that turns out to be the

home of Kong and other man-eating creatures.

The new movie, starring British actor Tom Hiddleston as a

renegade adventurer and Oscar-winner Brie Larson as an anti-war

photographer, is a far cry from the original 1933 version.

But Hiddleston says the story retains it enduring appeal.

"He (Kong) represents the power of nature and its capacity

to inspire wonder and terror that's both somehow noble and

majestic, but also it can be destructive and scary," Hiddleston

told Reuters Television.

In the new film, Hiddleston said "there's something very

sympathetic about him."

"Kong is often always minding his own business doing his own

thing until the balance of his life is interrupted by mankind.

And it's as if he's a metaphor for the way human beings disturb

the balance of nature," the actor said.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts said he felt the pressure of

reimagining the King Kong story "every second of the day."

"You're playing with an icon of cinema and you're playing

with pop culture," he said.

"There's been so many retellings of the story. So to break

away from that, to not tell the beauty and the beast story, to

not tell the same Kong story that we've seen over and over again

and to do something new with it - that's an incredible amount

of freedom and yet it's a very scary thing," he added.

Special effects bring Kong to life not just as an

anatomically correct ape but "a capital-M movie monster who

stands on two feet (and) carries himself with a nobility like a

god," said Vogt-Roberts.

The movie ends up partly being a story of man versus nature,

where the humans, unlike superheroes, have no special powers.

"The real superpower in this film is human ingenuity, right?

So how are these humans going to engineer their way into taking

this god down? I loved the idea of man versus gods ... And men

versus nature," the director added.

(Reporting by Reuters Television, editing by G Crosse)