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KING KONG, 2005
Movie Reviews!

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KING KONG MOVIE POSTER
KING KONG, 2005
Classic Movie Review

Directed by Peter Jackson
Starring Jack Black, Adrian Brody, Naomi Watts
Review by Joey Ernand



SYNOPSIS:

Wild filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) leads an expedition to a mysterious island, where he is determined to shoot the movie of his career. Accompanying him is Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), his lead actress, and his writer, Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody). Upon reaching the island, Denham and his crew discover KONG, a giant prehistoric ape, and take him back to New York. This is a remake of the 1933 film of the same name.

REVIEW:

How deeply can I express my love for Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”?

This movie is visually, emotionally, and spiritually EPIC. You’ll see things you’ve never seen. You’ll feel things you only wish you could make someone else feel. From Depression-era New York to sunlight-speckled jungles to a final sunrise among the clouds, this movie is literally what dreams are made of. Yes, it is that good.

Upon my first viewing, I remember being truly surprised by the sense of destiny that dwelled over everything on screen. There were a few instances where we were shown a “Greek Chorus” within the film, i.e. a few side characters commented on the main action, and on what lay in store for them all. The lure of Fate and the machinations of Destiny are themes that no one but Peter Jackson would ever have thought to include in a movie about a giant ape...and that kind of insight is what separates the masters from the mediocre. I think everyone is more or less familiar with this story, but you’ve never seen it told this way before. That’s why it is worthwhile.

From the moment the ship reaches the rock wall of Skull Island till the end of the movie, the action, adventure, and sheer visual ingenuity of the piece explodes onto the screen and simply does not let up. One after another, you are bombarded with the greatest adventure scenes since the heyday of Steven Spielberg. These scenes are ethereal, thrilling, and leave you utterly exhausted from the sheer amount of awesomeness that you’ve just witnessed. Oh, and did I mention that it has a GIANT MONKEY FIGHTING THREE T-REXES AT THE SAME TIME? Well it does, and it's possibly the greatest movie fight of all time. The camera doesn’t sit still for one second during the entire sequence. It feels eternal, yet you don’t want it to stop. It builds and builds and builds. You’ve never seen anything like this sequence.

All this wouldn’t mean a thing if I didn’t care about the characters, and the writing and acting undoubtedly ensure that we bond with these people. The cast is great all around. I LOVED the main three (human) characters played by Jack Black, Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody. They are extremely well developed, and they each get their own character arcs to boot. Black’s manic energy and perpetually crazed expression are perfect for the role of obsessed filmmaker Carl Denham. He even looks like a young Orson Welles, whom this version of the character was patterned after. Adrien Brody is pitch-perfect as the strong and profound writer Jack Driscoll. His moment of revelation during a play was one of the best character moments in the entire film. And Naomi Watts is simply luminescent as Ann Darrow, which is symbolized perfectly during a scene on a darkened New York City street wherein we see her through Kong’s eyes.

As I said, all three of these people get their own character arcs. They each get their moment to shine. More importantly, what happens to them on the Island is a trial by fire that changes them forever, and fully dictates their actions for the remainder of the film.

King Kong Old

Naomi Watts is the single most important reason as to why we buy Kong. She believes he is real, and so do we. The rest was up to the animators, and they succeeded with flying colors. This film’s greatest strength is that it made me believe in Kong. It fully convinced me that this huge, ferocious, and noble character actually had a heart. You look into Kong's eyes, and you see a soul there. You watch him interact with his environment, you see him grow bored, you see him grow angry, you see him fight, you see him kill, you see him grow happy, and you see him grow sad. You see him live, and you see him die. You cry for him, and you love him. The character of Kong is the greatest special effect in film history, simply because you BELIEVE THAT HE IS REAL.

The bond between Ann and Kong is the best thing about the movie, hands down. Their relationship is firmly established and developed over the course of a few wordless scenes, and I never doubted it for a minute. These two beings, different as can be, forge a strong bond, and it’s told mostly through glances and physical movement. Kong recognizes Ann’s fiery spirit, Ann recognizes Kong’s noble nature, and thus they are linked forever. They connect over the simple, subconscious need of companionship, of protecting those you love, of sharing a few wonderful moments with your friends, of stopping and simply appreciating the beauty of a sunset. It’s a strong, primal connection, one that two kindred spirits like these forge over the course of a single encounter. It really is that simple, and the film doesn’t try to over-explain it. Ann doesn’t once say “We need to protect him because he is the last of his kind!” or “He has a soul!” We know these things, because we are shown them. We don’t need them to be further illustrated; they were conveyed beautiful in these amazingly constructed, near-silent passages.

King Kong has emotion, spectacle, adventure, horror, comedy, romance, amazing special effects, and a truly gripping story. Yes, it literally does have everything...everything you could possibly ever ask for in a film. “Kong” is without a doubt pure, soulful fantasy filmmaking. On the surface there is not one bit of the film that is in anyway realistic or believable. But the King Kong Picemotions and the direction make it work. Kong HIMSELF makes it work. It’s rare for lightning to be captured in a bottle like this, and I recognize that, and I will celebrate it with everything I have in me. “King Kong” is what movies are all about. “King Kong” is THE perfect, definitive example of why I go to the movies, why people like Peter Jackson are kindred to my spirit, and why movies are the love of my life.

This movie reminded me what film is all about. It reminded me of the boundless storytelling techniques that are available in this wonderful medium. It reminded me what you can do with the right cinematic ingredients. It appealed to every part of me that loves movies, my soul and my imagination...basically everything that makes me who I am. "King Kong" made me feel like a wide-eyed kid again, watching the epic fantasy adventure films of my youth.

This is how you’re supposed to film a remake. You build on what’s come before, you embellish it, you pour your love of the original into it, you make it the best film it can possibly be, and most importantly, you make it its own thing. What separates this version of “Kong” from the original is the unabashed emotion that Jackson injected into the piece. Emotion is the key to any film. The ones that last are the ones that make you cry, that make you appreciate your loved ones, that make you think, and that make you FEEL. “King Kong” is one of those films, and it has proudly taken its place amongst my very favorite movies of all time.

It sounds cliché, but you WILL laugh. You WILL be thrilled. You WILL cry. And most importantly, you WILL believe that two beings can form a strong bond of love due to the beauty that dwells in this world.

”KING KONG” is one for the history books. This film won Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for five other categories. The screenwriter was nominated, and rightly so. Taken from a short story that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933 by Maurice Walsh, Green Rushes, Frank Nugent was able to weave a story rich in subtext and conflict.

The collector’s edition of the DVD includes an interview with Maureen O’Hara where she reminisces about filming The Quiet Man, and is well worth watching.

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