Wednesday, December 28, 2005

King Kong

Title: King Kong (2005)
Dir: Peter Jackson
Tagline: The eighth wonder of the world.
Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars

This movie pretty much gave me what I expect of Peter Jackson: beautiful images, interesting monsters, the ability to make me feel touched and disturbed interchangably, and those great special effects (though I do miss the old days of prosthetic gore and fake blood by the gallons).

Anyone who knows me knows why I like PJ, and it has nothing to do with hobbits. But I did enjoy King Kong. The big ape isn't my favorite Jacksonian primate (that title still goes to a certain Sumatran rat monkey) but Kong is pretty cool.

I'll start with the actors:

* Naomi Watts. I love this chick. She is great in Kong, and it comes as no surprise. Just looking at her, you entirely believe why Denham (Jack Black) wants her so badly for his movie. She's got that beautiful-and-vulnerable-and-yet-strong thing down perfect. And if the movie's emotional plot turns aren't enough to make you cry, Watts has the most infectious tears ever. Even if you hated The Ring with a passion (*cough* DJ *cough*), you can't deny that she is fantastic here.

* Adrien Brody. I'm not a big fan of this guy. He's pretty good in this one though, though I had a difficult time deciding how I felt about his character. I didn't especially want him and Ann to get together, even more so once Kong came into the picture. But I think Jackson understood that disconnection between the audience and the character, so he didn't push it. I think some of Brody's stuff in the first hour could've been trimmed, but he was good in his role.

* Jack Black. I like Jack Black (if only for High Fidelity alone). I wasn't sure he could do a more serious role like this, but he pulled it off. He has those manic eyes that suit a director with an insane vision. I would have liked a little more about his character in the end (like coming to grips with what he's done and the loss of his life's work), but I respect PJ's decision to stick to the outline of the original movie.

* Others: In summary, everyone was great. Colin Hanks and the other supporting cast were good, but notable mention goes to Andy Serkis, who not only played a very funny Popeye-esque chef, but gave Kong his great facial expressions! Huzzah for underappreciated character actors!

Okay, enough about the actors. Do I really need to talk further about Jackson? He's awesome. His passion for the original King Kong and filmmaking in general really shine through this movie. I think if anyone else made this remake, it would have been complete crap.

Kong is quite a character. PJ just wouldn't have done his job if he didn't make you love that ape! Despite his endearment for Ann and those heartwrenching sad faces (c/o Serkis), he is one brutal simian. He certainly is not afraid to get nasty, as some dinosaurs learn first-hand.

My only real complaint about King Kong is the length. I wouldn't mind it if I couldn't find anything trimmable, but I thought a few things could stand to be cut out. I did like the feel of watching three mini-movies in one but still, three-and-a-half hours is a tad excessive.

Other than that, kudos to Jackson, he's done well. And for any bitter classic movie fans still holding out - shut up and go see it already, haha. But seriously, give it a chance. Jackson is the closest thing we have to Spielberg's old movies (not that his new work isn't wonderful...but that is for another review. Stay tuned for Munich!).


Rick said...

"And for any bitter classic movie fans still holding out - shut up and go see it already"

now.. hmm... I wonder who that comment count be directed towards? ;)