The Bottom Line: "We do the King Kong song, gotta sing along Can't you hear the beating of the monkey tom-tom Listen to the rhythm of the King Kong song" ABBA
I went into this expecting to be disappointed. Fortunately I prepared myself in advance.
It seems like only a couple of years ago that they decided to resurrect the hairy beast known as King Kong. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was 1976. Good Heavens, almost 30 years ago. Im not surprised, then, that they decided to bring him back in all his glory. I was surprised they didnt hold off until after the first of the year, making it a 30-year anniversary, but you know how it goes - the bottom line - get it out before the holidays.
The most important fact immediately about this release is Kong is finally identified. Yes, folks, he is played by Andy Serkis, in a dual role. When not being a hairy beast, Serkis is also in the movie as Lumpy the Cook. Im keeping all comments to myself.
This particular release was directed by Peter Jackson. Writing credits go to the originals - Merian C. Cooper & Edgar Wallace for the story, screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson. Most of the filming was done in New Zealand, some jungle shots were in Thailand.
Starring in the lead roles are Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, Jack Black as Carl Denham, and Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll. Ive already mentioned the real star, Kong, played by Andy Serkis.
So sign on the dotted line kiddies and lets board the ship, taking us to Skull Island and the Mighty Kong.
King Kong 2005 Clearly they could have cut 1-½ hours out of this film and no one would have been upset. I know I wouldnt have because by the time we finally reach Skull Island, and finally meet Kong, I am bored. I am tired of the production, have no interest in the characters, could care less if any or all of them make it back to civilization.
The gratuitous 1-½ hours they spent in the film centered mainly around Carl Denham and some overdone and over extended dinosaur scenes. By the way, where was the snake? Kong always fights a huge snake. Now, since Jurassic Park, we are given T-Rexs and Raptors by the hand full.
Just as they did in Titanic, they took the story away from Kong and gave it to Ann Darrow and Jack Driscoll. It wasnt their love story that was being told, it was Kong and Ann. Pity they chose that route.
Opening scenes play too much on Denham and his inability to succeed in anything. It is easily 45 minutes into the movie before we even see the ship and start the trip to Skull Island. When we finally reach the island, the natives seem a bit more advanced than in previous movies. Sure, they are still heathens, living in caves and performing mindless dances, but they have rigged up one kickass stone wall and one outlandish scaffolding that ejects Ann out into the jungle to meet Kong. Ill give them credit for that.
In Kongs past the meeting between Kong and Darrow was a sight to behold. His approach before was more prolonged, adding to the fear and excitement. In this release, poof, no time at all he is there. Couple of trees bite the dust and he whips up Ann and starts on his trek.
As a side note, this trek Kong takes. He is, most of the time, carrying Darrow in his hand-paw or his foot-paw. The way she is being tossed around, if she were a real human, she would have been long dead. Broken neck, broken back, certainly brain damage. But that is just my take.
When they finally find, and attempt to capture, Kong. Come on - a couple of ropes, get real. It would be like jumping off the New River Bridge on a rubber band. Please. But capture him, they do, again thanks to Denham.
~~ Spoiler ~~If youve never seen the movie, then skip this part ~~ The balance of the story is fairly the same as the original. Kong goes to New York, gets mad, escapes, does damage, climbs the Empire State Building, planes, dead. ~~ End spoiler ~~
Lets talk about Kong Hes prettier in this release. Well, as pretty as he can be. And they have given him some battle scars, from prior scrapes with something. To me, that makes him more real. His fur is more matted and, frankly, he looks like he might smell.
Overall I liked this Kong better than the 1976 Kong, my favorite is still the original. His appearance is more apelike than in prior releases but he doesnt have the magic or charisma that the 1933 Kong had. Perhaps it is like the original Psycho, The Blob, Body Snatchers, etc. You can really only do that once. Anything else will never match up to our predetermined expectations.
This Kong carried almost no facial expressions. The 1976 Kong did have facial expressions. He interacted with Darrow. However this Kong had an attitude. Not in a Im a badass kind of way but in a pouting way. When he gets a little huffy with Darrow, he turns his back and basically ignores her, giving her sidelong glances as if to say You are not important to me.
Ann Darrow - Naomi Watts Too dang cutesy for me. In a weird way she often reminded me of Nicole Kidman with her expressions and eyes. Not as good as Kidman though. I didnt get the feeling that she gave to the part what it deserved, her attention for one. Sure, she bonded with Kong, she danced and did tricks, but still The only feeling I got from her was desperation and it had nothing to do with the part she was playing.
Carl Denham - Jack Black Could have done with about 1 hour less of Jack Black. A couple of cute one-liners, especially when they were searching for an actress for the part. A side mention of Fay and his assistant said, she is working on a film for RKO. Black/Denham says Oh, Cooper. Darn Cooper. Of course, youd have to be a Konghead to get it.
Jack Driscoll - Adrien Brody Didnt like him, didnt bond with him, couldnt picture him in this part. Poor casting, in my opinion, which really doesnt count for much.
CGI - the famed star of this movie Yep, plenty of it. Scads. More than you want or need. My opinion only. The work was good, Ill admit that, but I didnt go to see the CGI work. Of course, that is what will draw most and probably what will garner it any type of award.
Attention to detail Huge thumbs up on the attempt to recreate the 1930s New York. Outstanding job of staying in period. Where did they get all those old cars? Costumes were fine, scenery was fine, detail was pretty interesting.
Story line They stayed fairly close but swayed a bit for todays audience. It is what is expected these days. What movie goers clamor for.
Overall impression Disappointment. I wouldnt see it again, I wouldnt rent it, I wouldnt buy it.
Update I recently had the pleasure to view the 3 hour extra DVD included with my new 1933 King Kong DVD, which was done by Peter Jackson. I will admit I was impressed to discover the love, dedication, and forethought put into the making of the 2005 release of King Kong. Jackson, et al, strove to make their release in minute detail to the 1933 version.
They were so taken with the work of Cooper, et al, when the originally made, that they strived to follow his standards. All work was done in stop-motion, like Cooper had done. I was incorrect stating that it was filled with CGI, it was not. The work was done with small miniatures and countless hours and hours of stop-motion filming.
For that I give Peter Jackson and crew a standing ovation. However, that doesnt change the fact that it simply wasnt a better movie than the original. True, they could have resorted to CGI and everything that is commonly used today, but they are using their today knowledge to complete what Cooper did as ground-breaking work. All they are offering is a copy of an outstanding work, many years old.
Frankly I was more taken with the extra DVD commentary than I was with the King Kong that Jackson released. He is truly a man that loves the art of filmmaking and shows great respect and reverence to Cooper, et al. But, in the end, it was exactly the same thing, just now. Realizing the pressures and constraints that Cooper, et al, worked under makes the original 1933 production even more powerful.
**** out of **** After finishing his breathe-taking "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, Peter Jackson realized that he still had the rest of his entire career ahead of him; and he intended to use whatever time he had left. He has, since the "LOTR" films, made but two films; one of them great, one bad. And luckily for me and for you, we're talking about the better film; which is "King Kong". There's a name you may not; or at least, you should know it. It's the name that comes … more
Stephanie's Favourite Movies: King Kong If anyone can do grandeur, it's Peter Jackson. I mean, it's the mastermind behind the LOTR films. He is the one that can make a true monster epic for our time, and King Kong is definitely that. Great effects, great acting, great story, just general greatness. Some say that it was too long, I say that you need that much time to tell the story. Some say Adrien Brody isn't hero material. I say that he did just fine. … more
Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 King Kong is exactly how to do a remake. This movie keeps to the spirit of the original, whilst including state of the art special effects and exciting action scenes. Jackson didn't try to add any silly plot twists or change the setting to 2005, but rather set out to remake the original film as it stood. He deserves a lot of credit for resisting the urge to "improve" the basic plot structure and settings of the original King Kong. … more
KING KONG I remember watching the original Kong film back in the day and every one that followed and could not help but be entertained by every one although the first was the best. I have always enjoyed Kong films and have only rooted against him when he took on the greatest of all time in Godzilla. So after years of nothing new when this film was announced I was actually excited about it when normally I would be like "oh man they are going … more
Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 King Kong is exactly how to do a remake. This movie keeps to the spirit of the original, whilst including state of the art special effects and exciting action scenes. Jackson didn't try to add any silly plot twists or change the setting to 2005, but rather set out to remake the original film as it stood. He deserves a lot of credit for resisting the urge to "improve" the basic plot structure and settings of the original King Kong. The only … more
Right after Lord of the Rings became such a smash success at the Box Office and the Academy Awards, Peter Jackson set out to do a film he just about always wanted to do: King Kong. Peter Jackson talked about how much he enjoyed the film. And for the most part, King Kong really sounded like a movie Jackson should do. It could've been a huge epic! Yeah! And Peter Jackson does make it an epic. But when making such an epic where exactly does the line get drawn? … more
Peter Jackson's King King is an excellent film. I was surprised by how well it was made. The direction, photography, acting and special effects were just fantastic. I usually have negative opinions of big budget remakes but this one is excellent. Even Jack Black is good in this film (I an not a fan of his other work) and I'm impressed how Peter Jackson managed to get a very good performance out of him, Naomi Watts redefines the role of Fay Wray and Adrien Brody … more
It's the height of the Depression in New York City, and down-on-her-luck actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) accepts movie director Carl Denham's (Jack Black) offer to sail off for an adventure and make a movie. Playwright/screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) gets stuck on board and they all sail off for Skull Island, a mysterious place that just happens to be the home of bloodthirsty natives, prehistoric animals, and a 25-foot tall ape called Kong. When the natives kidnap Ann and sacrifice her … more
This movie was excellent. It borrows a lot from the original with incredible special effects and amazing recreations of 1931 New York! King Kong finally moves like a real gorilla and the destruction that gets wrecked throughout the movie is very convincing! The natives of this movie look like something out of the Exorcist although there was a tribute to the original natives during the scene where Kong is displayed to the New York public at the theater. There are a lot more … more
Pretty girl meets monster ape King Kong has got his charm In all the most romantic scenes The girl is on his arm Naomi's got the strongest arms She must be doing curls But Kong has got the safest paws For catching falling girls Packed to the brim with CGI This movie's much too long Stampeding dinos, "Tremors" worms Some parts just don't belong … more
The extended version of Peter Jackson'sKing Kongadds 13 minutes to the running time--fortunately those 13 minutes include two dynamic action scenes and no material has been added to the movie's belabored set-up, which tries to give depth to these quintessentially b-movie characters with a clumsy patchwork of melodrama and in-jokes. But once movie-maker Carl Denham (Jack Black,School of Rock) and his crew finally arrive at Skull Island, the movie kicks into gear with spectacular action, technical wizardry, and genuine feeling. ThoughKongseems crafted to dazzle the eye on the giant screen, the overlong structure improves when you can take an intermission at will. At home, each scene can be approached on its own terms, be it the insanely choreographed battle between Kong and three T. Rexes or the subtle and multi-layered interplay between Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts,Mulholland Drive) and Kong (played, through motion-capture technology, by Andy Serkis, who previously played the similarly animated Gollum in Jackson'sLord of the Rings). The addition of a rampaging ceratops and an underwater race with what the movie's crew dubbed a "piranhadon" not only add more eye candy, but provide some valuable moments of character development. But in the end, that's frosting on the cake; when the movie's weaknesses and strengths are weighed, the emotional power of the fantastical relationship between a woman and a giant ape is a real cinematic achievement.--Bret ...