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King Kong (2006) - Review

King Kong is, quite aptly put, a monster of a movie. It topped Titanic as the most expensive movie ever produced, and the running time comes in at just over three hours. I was worried that the long running time would destroy any film's entertaining scenes (The Deer Hunter anyone?), but I'm happy to report that King Kong was so good that I didn't even notice the excessive length. This even includes the exposition of the film, and I usually think of character set-up as tedious.

Although everyone knows the story, I'll do a quick summary anyways. An self-fufilling movie producer (Jack Black) leads a crew of sailors and actors to an uncharted island in the middle of the ocean in a last ditch effort to produce a blockbuster hit. Unpon setting foot on Skull Island, the leading actress Ann Darrow is taken prisoner by the natives to be sacrificed to Kong. See clip below:

Ann Darrow Sacrifice Clip

A team of rescuers, lead by her lover, Jack Driscoll, tracks her across the island, and eventually is able to save her. In the process Kong is captured and taken back to New York to be displayed as part of a show. By this time, the gorilla has fallen in love with Ann, however, and goes on a rampage throughout the city to find her.

I was totally taken away by King Kong. I thought that Peter Jackson did an excellent job of making the film believeable. As strange as it sounds, Kong and Ann were a good onscreen couple. I thought that Andy Serkis (Kong) actually did a better acting job than Watts in this relationship. You could tell that Kong cared for Darrow without it being over the top, while I thought that Naomi Watts overplayed her role and was over dramatic. I also thought that the "connection" between Darrow and Kong was much stronger that between Darrow and Driscoll, which is strange since they were supposed to be lovers.

Jack Black also did a good job of portraying film director Carl Denham. At he onset of the film you really root for him, but by the ending you see him as a shallow self serving person who cares more about making money than he does the lives of his good friends.

The monsters in the film were creative, and actually fairly scary. The one part that bothered me in the film was that if it were in real life, then the T-rex would have attacked Kong instead of fighting for a small morsal like Darrow, but then again, its only a movie. To see some of the insects in the film watch the clip below:

Bug Clip

I would have liked to have compared the original 1933 version of King Kong with Peter Jackson's film, but I saw the original many years ago, so I don't remember it very clearly. Obviously the plot of the two movies are fairly similar (expedition to undiscovered island, Kong steals girl, Kong falls in love with girl, Kong fights on the top of the Empire State building, etc.), but perhaps I'll rent the original again and put up another post comparing the smaller details.

Film Filter Rating: 9.5 / 10

Bonus Clip - Finale Lead-In

Kong is pursued by the army as he runs through New York with Ann in his hand. This scene leads into the Empire State building finale.

ridiculous comment about watts v. serkis. as the nytimes said after 21g, watts is the most eloquent sufferer in the history of sound film. she won the london critics award for best actress of 2005 & many critics like richard roeper insisted she should have been nominated for an oscar for the best blue screen performance ever.
serkis was good, but unlike watts, he had fx going for him. she had to pretend everything.

watch for watts oscar nomination this year for maugham's painted veil (woman in china during cholera epidemic) &/or next year for cronenberg's eastern promises (exposing the international sex trade). how about serkis?

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