King Kong (2005)

Review Date: January 04, 2006

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson

Producers: Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham, Jan Blenkin

Naomi Watts as Anne
Jack Black as Carl
Adrien Brody as Jack


A soon-to-be-washed-up director hires an unknown blonde to star in his latest film, which he’s going to be shooting on a creepy island, known to few people. Once there, the man, his cast and crew quickly discover that a giant ape resides on the island (along with a bunch of other scary non-humans) and that the macho primate has a thing for blondes. Kong smash!!! A romantic action flick ensues.


I didn’t think that anything other than this film’s awesome special effects and action sequences were going to rule my appreciation of what Peter Jackson accomplished within, but color my big-ape-ass surprised as it was nothing less than its “love story” between the beast from Skull Island and the babe from New York that ultimately won me over big-time. That’s right, you heard me…the love story between the monkey and the blonde. Kudos definitely go out on that front to the awesome special effects that created King Kong in this film, as he didn’t simply kick ass while thumping and pumping and jumping around, but also, during its more tender moments, vis-à-vis the lovely Naomi Watts. In fact, his facial expressions were amazing to the point that you didn’t even realize that you were watching a computer-generated animal anymore…you just saw emotions coming through. Further kudos go out to the human being in the romantic equation, the always-very-lovely Naomi Watts, perfectly cast as the sweet, innocent Ann Darrow who slowly but surely begins to fall for the big lug also known as double-K. The duo had a number of “romantic scenes” in the film which worked entirely without any dialogue spoken between them (how many guys would love that in their own relationships?) including a gorgeous top-of-the-mountain sunset sequence, as well as a fun-looking ride across an icy pond in Central Park. Potent stuff.

Okay, now that I got all of that gooey “love stuff” out of the way, allow me to downshift into the film’s other successful parts, like its non-stop action, which started during the film’s second act and ended about the time that I was walking out of the theater and audibly exhaling. That said, I have to admit that the film’s first hour was a little slow at times, and could have been cut by several scenes, in my opinion, especially since this was the second remake of the same story, so there wasn’t really any great need to get into all of the minor background details. That said, once things got going on Skull Island, I was perched atop the edge of my seat, with nachos in my mouth and bemusement all around. The film’s special effects were also stunning overall, with remarkable believability granted upon the many amazing creatures and places showcased on the big screen. The one area that lacked a little in that regard were the “running scenes”, some of which looked obviously shot on a green screen, and didn’t fully gel with the beasts running around the humans. But that’s a minor quip as the rest of the film was truly accomplished, starting from the many authentic New York set-ups to the stunningly dark and eerie Skull Island to the many fights between the big monsters to the film’s energetic conclusion in the big City.

But that doesn’t mean that this was a perfect film by any means. I already mentioned a couple of bits that bothered me above, but allow me to add the inane banter between the black dude seemingly co-captaining the ship and deckhand “Jimmy”, which was seriously corny and should’ve been excised altogether. I also didn’t care for the casting of either Jack Black or Adrien Brody, both of whom I respect and really dig as actors, but both of whom didn’t really seem to fit into their roles here. They weren’t terrible or anything, but I just think their “look” didn’t fit their respective parts. I was also rolling my eyes during a handful of action sequences on the island, like when a bunch of humans were literally being stampeded over by some massive dinosaurs, but getting away scot-free. After a while though, I learned to simply “go with it” and not nitpick that sort of shit in this film. It’s a friggin’ over-the-top blast of a spectacle movie, after all. This ain’t RAIN MAN, folks…it’s a huge monkey kickin’ ass and if you’re looking for that sort of entertainment value, you really can’t go wrong with this movie. Add to that, the brooding score, the authentic design, the awesome directing and the film’s surprisingly potent love story (yeah, I admit it…I teared up over a monkey, man!), and you’ve got yourself an ideal popcorn flick with an engaging story and tons of action all around. Oh, and I loved those freaky critters that were eating up all over Gollum in this movie…give those suckers their own movie! They were creepy, man.

(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian

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Jan 4 2006, 6:13:45 PM

This is one of those films that remind me of why I love movies so damn much.

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Jan 4 2006, 4:15:18 PM

A really great flick. I agree about the sentiment being the real winner in te movies story line. It didn't dredge any tears from me, but I was def sold on the connection.

I'll point out some things that I didn't like about the movie:

The NYC birds-eye shots were amazing, but a couple times, I could tell it was an AI simulation on the streets. Why else would traffic still be moving a block away from the building where a 25 foot ape is being shot at by airplanes???

The male leads - pretty much all except that dude playing the hero in the movie in a movie -- none of them seemed to fit their parts. They all did a good job, but I felt like they were weak compared to Watts and Kong. They seriously could have cut back some of the male roles.

The first act of the movie is simply too long. By the time they are on the boat headed to skull island, I turned to my wife and said, "They should have named this movie The Making of King Kong."

That being said, the effects were amazing - this is why the story between Watts and Kong works so well. You could actually look into Kong's eyes and see soul. This was remarkable and beautiful.

And the bugs got me all kinds of itchy...

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Jan 4 2006, 7:02:07 AM

Wow!! That's the word that was going through my mind when the credits started to roll. This movie has a little of everything to offer, from action, suspense, drama, romance, effects, close calls, good acting, symbolism, and . . . it just offers an all-around excellent movie. If you're going into this movie expecting a flick about a big ass monkey, you're going to walk out shocked as hell at how good this movie is.

This movie isn't about a big ass monkey, it's about the relationship that develops between a 25 ft. gorilla and a very hot woman - you really can't blame him for wanting to hang around her (no pun intended). You enjoy the moments these two spend together, whether it's enjoying the sunset, or having fun on ice - it's just really cool watching them enjoy time together, sensing the respect they have for one another.

Of course, this flick isn't all touchy feely. You've got these guys trying to rescue said maiden from the horrible beast; they got guns, and they mean to use them. Throw in some dinosaur chases, Kong wreaking havoc on these guys, and an awesome fight scene between our big ass title character and a few dinosaurs for good measure. The action really is heart pounding and fun to watch - don't see how you can look away.

The characters also added to the greatness that is King Kong. Naomi Watts' performance was topnotch as the subject of the ape's affection. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to act like you're alongside a 25-foot monkey, and have feelings for it (like a pet, I guess), but she pulled if off nicely - not to mention she's really nice to look at. While Adrien Brody's role really wasn't that big, or difficult - he still does a good job of playing Watts' love interest. But for me, it was Jack Black that topped 'em all. While he usually plays comedic roles and goofy characters, this time he captures an arrogant filmmaker who's all talk. Sure, he comes off as funny, but just hearing him talk through this movie, making promises and everything - you just know he's full of shit. His arrogance and actions are not only symbolic in the movie, but also strike a chord towards the end of the movie.

I had a blast watching this movie. Peter Jackson is a master in my mind now; what he was able to do in this movie is mindblowing. If you don't know that the original (1933) King Kong was his inspiration for becoming a filmmaker, it wouldn't be too hard to guess after watching it. There's even a little shout-out to the original's filmmakers and actress in this update. The fact that Jackson is able to deliver an equally impressive movie - with CGI, more action, and adding a little to the storylines - adds to this man's awesome ability as a filmmaker.

Jackson delivers in his version of King Kong with heart. This movie has a lot of heart. The heart comes in the form of emotions, relationships, even the action - because trust me: my heart was thumping with adrenaline as I watched Kong take on other monsters and beasts. But there's another side to King Kong that gives the ape more human qualities. This movie has everything a movie fanatic (like myself ) can really enjoy.

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