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King Kong(2005)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Peter Jackson

Naomi Watts/Ann
Jack Black/Carl
Adrien Brody/Jack
Andy Serkis/King Kong
7 10
1933, an unscrupulous movie producer (Black) swindles his cast and crew to Skull Island, in the name of finishing his film and saving his failing career. There they encounter a giant ape (King Kong to you bub!) that imminently falls in love with the female lead (Watts). Their unusual “courtship” gets the giant ape trapped and brought back to New York where he proceeds to rip the town a new a-hole! KONG! KONG! KONG!

It wasn't the airplanes; it was beauty that killed the beast. - Carl Denham

Although I’ve seen and appreciated the original 1933 King Kong, I grew up with the much spat on Dino De Laurentis 70’s “Rick Baker in a baboon suit” version and I hold it close to my dead beat heart. Shite even the abysmal King Kong Lives is signed and sealed in my ticker as I saw it at an impressionable age and always gleefully go back to it (Its become so bad its good with time). So I had enough Kong love in me to last me a lifetime and didn’t really think there was room for more. I was wrong.

The three hour clock time, the familiarity of the tale and the CG heavy nature of the flick scared me off Jackson’s Kong for a while but I finally grabbed the ape by the ears and went to see it and all I can say is…nice. That’s it…end of review, I’m going to the Pub…just kidding. Word on the beaten down street is that the original KING KONG was Peter Jackson’s inspiration to become a filmmaker and you know what; it showed in his take on the tale, seeing that everything was handled with obvious love and care. The island and New York settings were rich with colors and details, the characters, no matter how slim were all given time to shine while the relationship between Kong and Ann was brought to an all new, full fledge level.

A word on the latter point if I may (you don’t really have a choice champs); the 1933 version of Kong had Ann afraid of the obsessive ape throughout, the 1976 one had a reciprocal affection between the two and this adaptation went the whole nine yards with it resulting in an odd love triangle of sorts (Ann, Kong and Jack). Pumping up the stakes of the Ann and Kong relationship gave the flick its heart and made for a powerful, mucho cute and touching driving force throughout (All about that Ice Rink scene…sniff sniff). It surely helped matters that the CG Kong (As played by Andy “Gollum” Serkis) in this update had the capacity of emoting far and beyond the 1933 stop motion puppet or the 1976 ape suit. Here Kong was a well rounded character who clearly displayed a wide range of emotions (anger, love, amusement, frustration) which made him a character to love, root and yes, cry like a man-bitch for.

Action wise let me put it this way: once the first hour and 20 minutes have passed (effortlessly at that) hold on to your polished jewels where it becomes “eye popping set pieces madness for all” with Jackson basically injecting a healthy dose of steroids into the money scenes from the original Kong. The T Rex (es) VS Kong bout: breathtaking and phenomenal. The Dinosaurs & humans stampede that ends in a pile up: maybe a tad too long but still incredible. The classic Kong on top of the Empire State Building smacking planes around bit: Utterly FANTASTIC! Shite, Jackson even went as far as adding a horror heavy scene that was cut out of the 1933 version for being to nasty (Sailors VS man eating bugs…brrr) and going the whole nine yards with it. All were kinetically and energetically directed, all mucho "big" and engaging! I LOVE excess!

On the smelly side of the Ape’s armpit; I had already seen this film before…twice. For me when I already know most of the key plot turns and the ending of a film even before it begins, well it takes away from the overall experience. Although I was dazzled and touched by the story throughout, I was rarely surprised by its turns of events…and that took away from it. The CG at hand also let me down in some instances; with the worse being the Dinosaurs who looked more like Video Game characters than actual, real life Dinos. I almost whipped my Xbox controller out of my pocket (yes I carry it around with me) to play a good game of Dino Attack! Somebody didn’t watch Jurassic Park to see how it’s done right!

Then there was the Jack (Brody) and Ann (Watts) relationship not being taken far enough for it to affect me one way or another. So they had one exchange of looks, love seeped in and then he ran after her, risking his life constantly, for like days…all because of that “one look”. Was I supposed to buy that? I didn’t. When they showed us the final frame as to their relationship, not only was it awful timing taking into account what had just transpired but I couldn’t give half of a shit as well. Lastly, many of the sailor characters which I got attached to during the Island scenes got sloppily dumped when the flick moved to New York. What happened to those lads! I spent half the film with them! Yes, I cared!

All in all King Kong 2005 was a GREAT looking (with 200 Million to play with, it better be), blown up, highly entertaining, often humorous and worthy update of an American classic with a solid cast to boot! Too bad that with 3 hours on his back, Jackson was still not able to fully cover all of his bases. KONG THIS!
We get a man speared to death, mucho ugly giant insects, some animal bites and some Kong induced damage to T-Rexes.
Naomi Watts (Ann) was phenomenal in the role as she gave a layered and emotionally resonant show acting against “nothing” (Kong was CG) most of the time. Furthermore she had the jaw dropping good looks to make every baboon in the audience fall in love with her, including this ape! Jack Black (Carl) was highly efficient as the selfish producer with constant “evil positionned” eyebrows. Yes that's how producers are even today...lol! Adrian Brody (Jack) underplayed it and it worked like a charm for the sensitive and quiet role. He gave us more than what was on the page. Andy Serkis (King Kong) gave the beast life via his many accurate facial expressions.
T & A
Naomi Watts was awe inspiring to gawk at in every form of “dressed” (You see those lips? Yum!) whilst the ladies get a furry King Kong showing off his Kong sized buttocks.
Peter Jackson gave me an eyeful and then some with a talented knack at capturing the momentum of powerful scenes, crazy shots that put me right there in the middle of the action (Those plane POVs were nuts) while delivering poetically striking imagery galore. NOTE: I wasn't too crazy of the "type" of slow motion he used though; looked cheapo to me and was a times ovderdone (Which led to some cornyness).
James Howard (Who replaced Howard Shore at the last minute and had only two months to do his score) delivered a serviceable and non intrusive score that could’ve been much better in terms of supporting the film and could’ve been much worse. Average.
King Kong 2005 was a visually vibrant, action packed, at times sweet and definitely moving piece of cinema. Clocking at 3 hours, it is a huge compliment when I say that I didn’t feel it one bit. The film had me hooked, line and sinker the whole time! Granted, the story was a tad too deja-vu for me which hurt my viewing experience, and so did the cruddy Dino CG and the occasional half cocked character development, but all in all Kong was worth the sit down and definitely came off as a BIG heartfelt love letter from Peter Jackson to the 1933 version. Anything that comes from the heart, can never be a bad thing. NOTE: I hope that this recent account sends people back to the video stores in search of KING KONG LIVES! Want cheese with your Kong? LOL!
The scene that Anne and Bruce do on the boat is actually a scene from the original 1933 King Kong..

The score playing in the New York theatre when Kong is shown to the public is the same that was used in the original Kong.

The billboards that appear in Times Square are the same that were found in the original version.

King Kong's roar is in fact a lion's roar that is played backwards at half speed.