Thursday, October 15, 2009

#450: King Kong (2005)

Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black & Andy Serkis

A sleazy film producer finagles his way into getting an entire cast and crew onto a ship headed for a mysterious, uncharted island. When they arrive unexpectedly, they find an unwelcoming tribe of indigenous people living on the island. The crew is attacked, and actress Ann Darrow is kidnapped to be sacrificed to Kong. The giant ape snatches her from her perch, but both Kong and Ann are surprised to find themselves fast becoming friends. However, the crew continues their rescue mission to find Ann, intent on killing the beast.

This is the second remake of the original King Kong, released in 1933. The original, of course, is a classic in film history, and many film buffs will argue that a classic should never be touched. In a sense, I do agree, but Jackson did a really fine job with this remake.

Naomi Watts was a perfect fit for this role. She had a remarkable performance, demonstrating her extensive talents. The finale was truly heart-wrenching, while her action scenes were thrilling, and she even performed Chaplin-esque slapstick routines with gusto. Bravo, Ms. Watts! I hope to see more of your skill soon.

Being directed by Peter Jackson, you can't expect anything less than phenomenal special effects, and this holds true in this film. The action sequences will have your head reeling, particularly one in which Ann finds herself caught between Kong and a couple of dinosaurs.

There are two complaints I have about the film, and I'm sure these complaints are pretty common among the audience of this film. First of all, Jack Black? Really? Having such a huge face from the comedy universe just shouldn't ever be given this role, even if he had a tremendous audition. I was never sure how seriously I should take his character. Sure, he can play a sleazeball, but then he starts spouting out proverbs and classic lines (ahem, the finale), which simply doesn't even fit his sleazy, semi-comedic role. The second complaint: it's too damn long. Jackson loves getting his cinematographic groove on a little bit too much. He's got some great shots, but too many of them!

This is a perfect popcorn flick. Some very good performances, and a fun film overall.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):

  • The insects attacking Jack Driscoll at the canyon bottom are gigantic versions of the Weta, a species native to New Zealand and the namesake of Peter Jackson's production studio.
  • The "Ancient Proverb" cited by Carl at his premier served as the prologue in the original version of the film.
  • The score being played in the New York theatre when Kong is revealed is the same score from the original King Kong (1933). The same is true for the costumes being worn by the performers on stage-they are similar to the island inhabitants from the original King Kong.
The digitally-rendered 1933 NY is so detailed that it contained 90,000 separate buildings.

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