CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

King Kong Rules

Let’s see, I was born in
New York, I am one of the last R.K.O. Radio employees,
I've met the late Fay Wray, and my name is in Issue #
105 of Famous Monsters of Filmland related to "Kong,”
Now how am I supposed to be
objective when I write my review of Peter Jackson's
rendition of "King Kong?" Fortunately I learned many
years ago that when it comes to movie reviews, there
is no such thing as objectivity.

While some mainstream critics have complained that it
takes over an hour for Kong's entrance, the
expeditionary scenes work as a screwball, romantic
and adventure comedy. During the depths of the
Depression, vaudevillian Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) loses her job.
Maverick movie producer Carl Denham (Jack Black) is
forced to steal his own documentary footage from his
employer. On his way to the cargo ship S.S. Venture,
Carl meets Ann and recruits her for his next movie
written by Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody).

The S.S. Venture sets sail and discovers the uncharted
land called Skull Island. After running afoul with
the natives, Ann Darrow is sacrificed to the island
god called Kong. Kong is a 50-foot gorilla that has
never encountered a blond beauty before. Carl Denham,
Jack Denham and the crew of the S.S. Venture attempt a
rescue mission on an island that has not evolved in 40
million years.

Like his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Peter Jackson is
a master of set pieces. To defend Ann Darrow, Kong
must battle a family of Tyrannosaurus Rexes that
demands their pound of flesh. It is the best cinematic fight
since Christopher Lee and Yoda dueled in "Star Wars:
Episode II Attack of the Clones." Brutal, inventive
and thrilling, Kong's battle with the carnivorous
dinosaurs strives and achieves a romantic notion of
primitive chivalry lost in modern movies since Errol
Flynn, Indiana Jones and John Wayne.

The quiet scenes between Kong and Ann Darrow also
work. At first Kong overwhelms Ann, but she
learns to adapt by asserting herself. Being a stage
ham, Ann manages to entertain Kong with pallor tricks
like juggling. While generating laughs, this scene effectively
demonstrates successful how nonverbal interpersonal
communication can form interspecies friendships. This
a great lesson for people afraid of big dogs.

The climax suffered from the same problems that
concluded "Lord of the Rings." The ending dragged a
bit for the emotional beats; sometimes half of art
knows where to stop. What do I know, people were
sobbing during the climax. In fact, I saw more tears
for "Kung Kong" than I did for "Brokeback Mountain."

The new “King Kong” is easily one of the best 10 films
of 2005. The attention to detail, the sincere
performances and the homage to the original film from
72 years ago, Peter Jackson’s version will not replace
the Ernest B. Schoedsack- Merrian Cooper masterpiece.
But there is no denying Jackson’s love of the
original, right down to the closing credit featuring a
dedication to Ernest B. Schoedsack, Merrian Cooper,
Robert Armstrong and the incomparable Fay Wray. This
one gesture alone sent chills down this cynical film
reviewer’s spine.
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