Saturday, December 31, 2005

King Kong

We finally got to see Peter Jackson's King Kong the other night and, after all the hype and build-up, we still really enjoyed it!

This is essentially a remake of the 1933 original and Jackson has pretty much stuck to the same plot and, unlike the 1976 version, it hasn't been modernised...

It's the 1930s and the depression is having an effect on the entertainment business and when ambitious young actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) finds herself out of work when the theatre closes, she is desperate for another job. Times are hard and she's advised to use "what she has" to make sure she eats!

Meanwhile, almost famous, but not quite, movie producer Carl Denham (Jack Black) has come across a map to the undiscovered and reputedly mysterious Skull Island near Sumatra and plans to wow everyone by shooting his movie using it as a location. But Carl has problems with his investors and no leading lady so when he spots Ann outside a Vaudeville theatre, he reckons she'll do just nicely. Besides she's a size 4 and she'll fit the costumes.

So, on the run from his creditors, Denham gets Ann, script writer Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), and what film crew he can muster onto a ship and sets sail for the far east in search of his island. After searching for some time and with the crew ready to give up, they find the island but it is surrounded by an enormous wall and their initial meeting with the natives does not go well. When they kidnap Ann and offer her as a sacrifice to their god, a gigantic ape called Kong, then Carl, Jack and the crew venture beyond the wall to rescue her and that's when the adventure really gets going.

I was a bit worried about the casting of Jack Black as Denham as he's better known as a comic actor and, while the part is written with a slightly comic feel, Black pulls it off reasonably well. Naomi Watts does a good job competing with Fay Wray and her screaming is pretty convincing. I'm not sure Adrien Brody is exactly my idea of the hero and as a bookish looking scriptwriter, he's not really built like Arnie or Sly. Still the star of the piece has to be Kong, motion captured by Andy Serkis who played Gollum in Jackson's excellent The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and brought to life by the brilliant WETA Digital team.

The movie is excellent and, even though it's a bit slow starting, once the action gets going it's really good. The realization of Kong is seriously well done and the action sequences with him, Ann and the dinosaurs is phenominal. The island is also very well designed and, along with the sound, it really gives it the air of mystery and foreboding required to make a great film. Well worth seeing!

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
My Rating: 9/10

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