Movie Review: King Kong (2005)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

FROM IMDB: A film crew filming a movie on an uncharted island stumble upon many strange, dangerous creatures, including 'Kong', a giant ape who captures the lead actress.

CAST: Naomi Watts:  Ann Darrow, Jack Black: Carl Denham, Adrien Brody:  Jack Driscoll, Andy Serkis   King Kong/Lumpy the Cook, Jamie Bell:  Jimmy, Kyle Chandler: Bruce Baxter, Lobo Chan: Choy, Thomas Kretschmann: Captain Englehorn, Evan Parke: Hayes, Colin Hanks: Preston, John Sumner: Herb

My Rating: 4 out of 4

I have just returned home from venturing out with the masses to see King Kong. I have been anticipating this movie since before filming began. I heard of the actors chosen and the man behind bringing this latest version of the classic story to the big screen, Peter Jackson, and I knew I had to see it. With Peter Jackson, you know you'll have a great movie. I'm not a particular fan of hi Lord of the Rings trilogy, but what letter of the movies I did see was visually stunning and extremely well done. The same can be said here about King Kong.

The story of the giant ape has been told many times. Each version has its own twist that makes the movie its own entity. The twist with this telling of the story is that they make Kong more human. He is a beast with a heart. His emotional attachment to Ann Darrow is his downfall here, as it is in past versions, but none of the past tellings of the story really made the love King Kong had for Darrow a focus. This movie does.

We see the two interact and bond over the course of the film. Kong protects Darrow quiet a few times during the movie, and in the end by protecting her, Kong loses his own life. Naomi Watts is the woman behind this beast's beauty, Ann Darrow, and she is amazing in this role. Ann finds a way to connect with the giant ape, and that endears her to him. All Kong wants in this movie is the girl. Ann knows that as well, and when the crew sets on capturing the beast she does try to stop them.

This movie is a three-hour journey, but it really didn't feel like I sat there for three hours. We had action and romance enough to keep this movie going. The beginning of the movie is probably the slowest, but this gives a chance to learn our characters. Once they are on the ship, we see them interact in close quarters, and the action really gets going once the ship reaches Skull Island. A majority of our action sequences occur on the island. The special effects on the island also make this movie amazing to watch.

Let's talk a bit about the island itself. The setting was just amazing. Visually stunning is one way to describe it. The island was turned into the land time forgot. We not only have Kong, but also as many can tell from the teaser trailers, there are dinosaurs on the island. This movie felt a bit like Jurassic Park meets King Kong. However, the look to these dinosaurs just blew the look to the dinos on Jurassic Park away. You can see where improvements have been made when it comes to computer-generated graphics. We have several encounters with dinosaurs, both with Kong and the humans on the island.

The characters are what make this movie great. We have a few focal characters in addition to our main characters. One of my favorite characters is Hayes - the second in command on the ship. It was a more minor role, but quite important. It appears he is a bit of the heart and conscience of the men on the ship. I really enjoyed this character. I also enjoyed how they made Kong more of a character in this film. He was more human as I mentioned. We could see the emotions he felt shine through. We could see him as he laughed, in his own gorilla way. The love story in this movie isn't only between the actress Ann and the writer Jack, but the more central love story here is between Kong and Beauty, in this case Ann.

With any movie, you might have a few flaws, and while this movie was wonderful their are a few flaws to be found as well. The sequences in a few of the scenes just appeared a bit on the phony side. These sequences were few, so they didn't ruin the story being told. They were noticeable however. One such scene is near the beginning of the film when Kong has first captured Ann. There is a scene where he is holding her and shaking her much like a rag doll. It didn't appear real in the least, but the scene is short. The Times Square scene also had a few off instances, but just a few.

They extended the end sequence in this movie as well, so we're with Kong for a bit as the planes come at him. I say this part of the film lasted a good fifteen minutes, and I found myself cringing and wanting to hide, even though I know how the movie ends. It is still difficult to see the big ape fall.

Out of all the monster movies made in the last decade or so, this movie was probably the best in my opinion. Compared to the most recent Godzilla remake, this retelling of the classic giant ape story blows that one movie of the water. If you were looking for a movie to spend your money on this holiday season, I would definitely give King Kong a look. I didn't feel as if I sat three hours in a movie theatre. The movie sucked me in with its story, and it kept me captivated. I'm sure it will do the same for others.

To learn more about the movie, the story and its cast check out the website for this version of King Kong at Kong is


Leelayz said...

Dude ...i like you blog .....the layout is very neat ...and you have useful and interesting posts.....

The only thing lacking is pictures.....with every post ......

Neways I voting for it in blogwarz...

Gina said...

Thanks! I actually used to have pictures in every post, but it made the blog less dial-up friendly. I've just recently upgraded to high speed, so I definitely feel for the dial-up user.

Alden Bates said...

I saw that today... You can hardly tell it was filmed in New Zealand (I recognised a Kiwi actor or two doing cameos...) - Peter Jackson did a great job!

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