Rated PG-13 for frightening adventure violence and some disturbing images.
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Phillippa Boyens and Fran Walsh
Staring: Naomi Watts, Andy Serkis, Jack Black, Adrian Brody,Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell, and Lobo Chan
“God damn it, Preston, all you had to do was look her in the eye and lie!” -Carl Denham
Peter Jackson takes on this “monster” task of remaking the classic King Kong. As a follow-up to the amazing trilogy Lord Of The Rings Jackson had his work cut out for him. He once again recruited Andy Serkis to play Kong, so the creature would have a more life like movements, just as they did with Gollum. It was a success. The giant ape was not only life-like but was pegged against the phenomenal acting of Naomi Watts and he was just as charismatic. There was an actual chemistry between the two of them. Many other directors should take a cue from Peter Jackson, who thus far is the only directer to my knowledge that has created two characters entirely based on CGI that have the life-like and acting qualities of real actors. When the time is taken these amazing character’s are created solely from imagination. The amazing Kong was only the beginning of the stunning visuals created by Jackson and his team Weta again behind the creation. The world of Skull island is full beauty, but behind the beauty is a vicious savagery that leaves you with carnivorous dinosaurs and strange giant insects. It is some of the most exceptional CG work I’ve seen.
In the 1930’s a depression-era New York is where the lovely vaudeville actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) finds herself low on luck. Her theatre closes and she has no work and no place to stay. Fate interludes when she meets Carl Denham (Jack Black), an overzealous filmmaker who is desperate for a new lead actress in his feature film. In a completely illegal action Denham leaves on an expedition, accidentally on purpose trapping his writer Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody) on board to finish the script. Denham is on an ambitious mission and has fooled everyone on board the ship into taking him to a lost place called Skull Island. After a fury of events involving terror and a love stricken Driscoll, the group finds themselves on the ominous island, and are shocked to discover it’s nothing that they had expected, and danger and adventure take them into a world very different than the one they are used to.
The plot itself is similar to some of the other Kong movies, but it takes on it’s own life and own creation. Phillippa Boyens and Fran Walsh team up again (Lord Of The Rings) to create a story that’s riddled with action, violence, but mostly a fierce and intense love between both beauty and beast, and between Ann and Jack. It’s a creation of an extraordinarily rich cast, each character having their own back round and story pushing them along. They aren’t mindless actors in the back round created to help develop the main characters, they are part of the story, which makes it even more engaging.
Let’s be honest, what Peter Jackson really gave this movie was an incredible physical vision. Even when filming Lord Of The Rings he was mapping out New Zealand locations to shoot his dream remake of King Kong. The breathtaking visuals this film gives are staggering, and while they don’t elevate the story to higher emotional spectrum’s than the versions that have trekked before it, what it managed to do was create a similar story that could be appreciated a different way. While Fran and Phillippa giving a character driven tale behind the magnificent work of Weta, made an overall entertaining movie, that is enjoyable upon multiple viewings. The T-Rex battle alone was worth the price of theater admission.
The casting was curious but proved to be wise. Naomi Watts was perfectly delicate and naive, but lovely and driven at the same time. Jack Black, whom I generally loathe, played Denham’s near psychotic ambition with brashness, but it was never over the top. Adrian Brody whom I questioned as the handsome lead, was not only masculine and brave, but had an attractive intellect that made his character complicated and far more interesting. The supporting cast was just as compelling and were just as three dimensional. Everyone had their own realistic motivation, including the magnanimous Kong himself.
King Kong was a remake that felt unnecessary, but in turn became a wonderful and beautiful movie experience. Peter Jackson knew better than to take a beloved movie and remake it without putting his own personal mark on it. Jackson’s interpretation of this story was not only magnificent but enrapturing. Not a huge Jackson fan before Lord Of The Rings, he certainly has me sold in the fantasy adventure genre. Perhaps a bit lengthy, the studio agreed to Jackson’s cut, deeming it “perfect”, it was a bit long for myself, is one of only a few negative criticisms I have for Kong. Films are rarely made with this much depth and this much attention to detail on every end of creation. King Kong is the kind of movie that is most exciting and enjoyable movie to see on the big screen.
Do you agree with our rating? Let us know and you rate it!