December 19, 2005

Movie review: King Kong

With the children visiting their grandparents, my wife and I decided to spend some of our free time watching a movie: King Kong. Short review: I loved it. Here's the long version:

Kong, the creature, is tremendous. Instead of an odd, giant ape-like thing that you saw in the original, Peter Jackson creates a CGi masterpiece of a 25 foot tall gorilla. Kong's facial expressions were incredible; I almost thought that I was looking at an actual giant gorilla. However, I was more impressed at how realistic Kong's motions were. I should have known: Andy Serkis played Kong, pretty much the same way that he played Gollum. Peter Jackson stayed with what he knows and, to be fair, the director knows a good bit about making computer generated characters come to life. It's a lesson that George Lucas should have learned before foisting Jar-Jar Binks on the world. But I digress.

I thought that the set designs were superb. The whole shanty-town, soup kitchen realism from the 1930's made me think that I'd gone back in time. It was better than I'd imagined. You will be blown away.

The cast was superb. Naomi Watts was spectacular as Ann Darrow, giving new life to Fay Wray's role. Adrien Brody played her love interest, Jack Driscoll, with an understated eloquence. And Jack Black, who I admit that I don't find all that funny, was great as filmmaker Carl Denham, a man whose greatest passion is himself.

Do I have any negative comments? Sure. Director Jackson seemed stuck at times in his Lord of the Rings extended battle sequence mindset a few times. By that I mean that some of the pitched battles, which were designed to be exciting, grew a bit, um, lengthy for my taste. And I thought the beginning of the movie dragged a bit. Other than that, though, I thought that the movie was tremendous. I was actually drawn into the story. When Kong died, I actually felt sad, which surprised me a great deal, especially since I already knew how the movie ended. And I laughed out loud at the homage Peter Jackson paid to the original King Kong. Filmmaker Denham and his assistant were bemoaning the loss of their leading lady and trying to determine a replacement who they could get to play the part. They mentioned a couple of names and then this little exchange ensued:


Carl Denham: Fay! Fay! What about Fay? She would be perfect!
Preston: She's already filming something for RKO.

For those of you who aren't aware, RKO Radio Pictures produced the original King Kong, starring Fay(Wray).

Tremendous characters, amazing scenery, fantastic action sequences, realistic creatures with more personality than, let's be honest, some of your coworkers. If none of these things appeals to you, then you'll probably want to skip this movie. For the rest of you, though, King Kong will make three hours pass a little too quickly.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:00 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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