King Kong

My friend, Steve, and I decided to go check out a movie tonight. We discussed the possibilities available and decided on King Kong (2005), directed and produced by Peter Jackson.

Naomi Watts heads an ensemble cast, playing a struggling actress during the great depression, who gets talked into joining an expedition lead by a film director (played by a convincing Jack Black) to find an undiscovered island. This movie is basically a remake of the 1933 film.

King Kong, the gigantic ape, is portrayed by the computer graphics team with startling realism. All of the creature effects on this film were completely jaw-dropping. The crew of the ship seemed much more numerous on the fabled island than they ever were at sea, which seemed to me a pathetic excuse to have more some people to kill off in an absurdly ridiculous dinosaur stampede. The endless barrage of attacks by the island’s wildlife and natives against the intrepid crew of discoverer’s is unrelenting and quite over-the-top. Once the great ape is brought to New York, the escape into the streets and wanton destruction of numerous cars, trolleys, and innocent women, seems excessively contrived.

This was an entertaining picture to see, particularly on the big screen, where the special effects pop out and really grab the viewer. The $207 million budget is evident in the grand scale of the picture. The action is so non-stop in this movie that the fact that it is almost twice as long as the 72-year-old original is almost unnoticeable. The acting is solid but predictable (how is it that everyone is perfectly coiffed after a heavy, adrenaline-pumping chase scene?) and it all feels like an old movie. Still, it seems that Peter Jackson was primarily interested in showing off the power of a metric ton of cash. This one doesn’t add much, other than visual effects and 87 extra minutes of footage. Fight scenes involving the ape juggling a fragile human woman while fighting off three Tyrannosaurs at the same time were beyond head-scratching. Many of the creature fights felt like filler material, although very well produced, and didn’t add much to the story.

My grade: C+.

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