King Kong (2005)
Arguably one of the most influential movies of all time. A movie that jump started the special effects niche in film making. And good ole reliable Pete Jackson presents his remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong.
Right from the start, literally from the title card and the score alone, the impending epicness of this film is established. Some of the opening shots, though just shots of the city, capture the grandeur of the city. Jackson’s huge, grand cinematic style, established in his low-budget, barely seen independent Lord of the Rings trilogy, fits well with the story of Kong and matches the bravado of the character. The narrative in this version of the Kong story is vastly expanded by taking the time to set up the characters and their troubles before the main plot jumps in. The journey to Kong’s island is dramatically drawn out in an exceptional way. The tension built around the island reaches an awesome, explosive level when the characters run into the island (almost literally). Once on the island the action sequences are many and few between, if that makes sense. The background, and some of the well-developed secondary, characters are in seemingly constant peril. These action sequences are superbly engaging and intense and make Skull Island feel as dangerous as it should. The relationship established between Kong and Ann is simply beautiful. The connection between the two is believable and touching making for an ending that is quite touching.
Pete Jackson casts this epic well starting with character actors that fill out their roles brilliantly. The secondary characters are also cast well, adding to a well acted foundation. Jimmy, played by Jamie Bell, is an innocent character with a dark past bringing a naiveté to the story. Andy Serkis, not only playing Kong brilliantly, also brings a complete and interesting character with the ship cook Lumpy. Ann Darrow, played by Naomi Watts, is just lovely to watch. She gives a great believability and delicacy to the character. She carries the weight of the picture by making the connection between herself and Kong feel real, while being nice to look at.
Even for 2005, the effects for this flick are quite nice. Kong and his world are superbly rendered. The island looks lush and alive while Kong is a specimen of simian might, power, and majesty. A signature sequence of the picture is a battle between Kong and three t-Rex dinosaurs. The battle between them is exciting, epic in scale, and just Ridiculously Awesome. New York city, in 1933, is nicely recreated and looks authentic. And the climatic battle, atop the Empire State Building is pretty sensational. With an epic scale, great story (though a bit on the long side), and intense action,
- the Eighth Wonder of the World, King Kong, “the Force is strong with this one.”