Thursday, August 5, 2010

King Kong (2005)

"Ladies and Gentlemen... I give you, KONG! EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD!"

If you don't know the story of "King Kong" then shame on you! After the classic 1933 original and two remakes any film aficionado should be well acquainted with the story of the most famous gorilla in movie history. "King Kong" is about Carl Denham (Jack Black) who has come into possession of an ancient map detailing the location of a mysterious island called 'Skull Island'. Denham is on the run from the studio who want to scrap his latest film atrocity and salvage what's left for stock footage. Denham is intent on making his picture and has already chartered a boat to get to the lost island. Of course the ships crew have no idea where it is Denham intends to go and he must keep it a secret from them until it will be to late to turn back. Along on this journey are Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody) and Anne Darrow (Naomi Watts), screenwriter and actress respectively. Jack has been swindled into coming along and Anne, a willing participant, is the girl Denham recruited at the last second to fill the voided part of his leading lady. The rest is history: the crew make it to the island, Anne is kidnapped at first by the island's inhabitants and secondly by King Kong and the boats crew must rescue her.

It must have been a daunting task for Peter Jackson to follow up his successful "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The expectations were probably ridiculously high to a point at which anything he put out would have been looked at with such scrutiny it would've made even the greatest of film subject to failure. Peter Jackson did what any artist should do and chose a project he genuinely wanted to work on and not something that every one expected. As it turns out, Jackson had already begun work on a "King Kong" remake in the late 90s which was scrapped when he began work on "Lord of the Rings". Jackson's film has everything that the 1933 version had even the time period but the biggest difference has to be the running time and of course the updated special effects. While stop-motion animation can still be very fun it doesn't create the feeling of realism that it did 70 years ago. Unfortunately, "King Kong" pretty much tanked at the box office and I can tell you why: the movie is over 3 hours long when the original clocked in at hardly over an hour and a half. Nobody expected they were going to have to sit through an epically long film especially one that's story has already been told two times before in half the time. Jackson's "King Kong" is a sight to see and if you have the patience you owe this one multiple viewings. King Kong as a character looks amazing and the acting here is top notch (even Jack Black tones his usual manic crack addict-like behavior down for the role of Denham). The detail at which WETA studios put into creating not only Skull Island but all the creatures who inhabit is breathtaking. The film isn't without its faults, however, as once again it really is SUPER long and Jack Black, though likable is still very annoying from time to time. Out of everything I enjoyed I do want to mention once again how much I liked Adrian Brody as reluctant hero Jack Driscoll. Keep an eye out for many homages to the original 1933 "King Kong" through out. 4.5/5 -andy

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