Face-Off: King Kong Vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

We had a dead heat with people's opinions on our last Face-Off. Though Mr. Boogie won the actual bout, he and Samara split the vote right down the center in terms of our fearless readers. This makes sense because like I said. both are very strong horror movie staples.

Now, it's time to start monkeying around with today's Face-Off which takes its cue from this Friday's release of DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. The sequel does look fantastic as was the first one. It's about time we got Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the Face-Off ring. And the only other ape-themed movie of recent memory worthy enough to be its opponent? Well, that would be Peter Jackson's King Kong. So start beating your chest because it's on!

Andy Serkis
The master of motion capture took on Kong right after the brilliant work he did with Gollum. How he was able to make a gigantic gorilla appear believable is beyond me. He just seems to have an innate understanding of animalistic behavior. Simple things like the bat of a head or the swing of an arm convey such feeling and emotion that King truly becomes a fully developed character.
Okay, by the time Mr. Serkis got to Caesar he had to have actually thought he was an ape. How else can you describe the way he made that character believable as both an ape and a human? It is uncanny watching Caesar's evolution from simple ape to intelligent leader. The performance is so great, that many were lobbying for Serkis to receive a Best Supporting Actor nod.
Adrien Brody definitely has a charismatic swagger as playwright, Jack Driscoll. He makes for a good enough 1930's male hero. Jack Black also lends some laughs as well as a fun, grandiose sense as filmmaker, Carl Denham. But it is the gorgeous Naomi Watts who completely captivates as Kong's lady love. Her innocence and sweet affection towards the titular star is just beautiful.
Ah, James Franco, the perennial punchline of many an acting joke. Well, I've got news for ya. Franco is actually quite good as the scientist who only wants to protect his friend, Caesar. It's a kind of subtle role, but I say he succeeds. Plus, it's tough to go wrong when you have the brilliant John Lithgow on board as Franco's sick father. His performance is tragically beautiful.
With Peter Jackson here as director, you can bet your ass we are treated to some epically awesome battles. Kong's fight with three Vastatosaurus Rex is good enough to be a finale and we get it in the middle. And yes, even though we know what's going to happen, the battle at the end between Kong and the armed forces is just an awesome spectacle.
Only minor battles occur throughout most of the time the Planet of the Apes takes to rise, however that can easily be forgiven because of the intense human vs apes war that is waged at the end. The fight is both incredible and alarmingly realistic. It's what we are waiting for the whole movie and you better damn well believe that we are richly rewarded.
This is friggin' King Kong. He's so damn huge, it gives new meaning to intimidation. Initially, any time he gets close to little Naomi Watts, you can't help but worry for her safety. Also, the other large beasts and plant life residing on Skull Island offer up some pretty intense shocks for the human folk. It's just nothing too intense because the creatures are clearly untrue to real life.
I think because we know that apes such as the ones in the film truly exist, it makes the proceedings that much scarier. From the initial ape, Bright Eyes, attempting to violently escape her lab to when Draco Malfoy gets killed, my heart was pounding. Once that human vs. apes war exploded and apes take over that corporate building, it's downright chilling.
Kong's escape through New York City is a glorious path of destruction. The effects are, of course, top notch and the creativity of the chaos is perfectly orchestrated by master, Peter Jackson. The airplane attacks at the Empire State Building are awesome and very realistic. The only real flaw is the fact that we already know what's going to happen. Beyond that, it's a very intense ride.
It's an all-out ape warfare with apes running around, unleashing biochemical weapons and standing up against their human oppressors. Modern suburbia is transformed into the jungle as Caesar leads his troops throughout San Francisco. It's complete chaos and ridiculously entertaining. And that after credits scene with the infected pilot going to the airport is one hell of a gut punch.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle (sorry)! Was this one close?! I suppose it only makes sense. These are two very well made and respected flicks. Perhaps Kong was a tad too long for its own good? Or is Rise of the Planet a tad overrated? What do you think? Definitely fire them bullets below and we can sort this whole thing out! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at [email protected].



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