King Kong (2005)
Starring:
Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody
Directed By:
Peter Jackson
Grade
A-

First, let me say this much: if you have children, young children, DON'T take them to see King Kong. It's not the kind of movie that you should be taking them to. It's violent, long and packed with sequences that are sure to scare them. And if you do take them, do us all a favor and call Children's Protective Services so that these children can be removed from your custody.

This remake of the classic monster movie, King Kong, is truly a labor of love for director Peter Jackson. Considering that the original was Peter's favorite film, getting the opportunity to film his own take on the tale must have been a pleasure for him. So much so that it's obvious he had a hard time editing some of the footage beyond the three hour length.

The story finds Carl Denham (Jack Black), a failing charlatan director, tricking his crew into a trip to Skull Island - a dark island that no one else has seen before. With him is Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), a Vaudevillian actress in dire need of a job, Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), a playwright tricked into remaining on the boat to finish his script, and an actor who's far more hero on screen than in person. When they reach the island, Ann is captured by the local tribe and offered as a sacrifice to the oversize ape. Jack takes a group of men with him to rescue Ann, but only manage to find dinosaurs, oversized bugs and death. When Ann is finally rescued, Kong is captured and brought back to New York City to be put on display.

A lot of effort has gone into establishing both the main characters and some of the secondary cast. Also, multiple dynamics between characters get fleshed out throughout the film. Because most of the first hour is spent in conversation and build up, once the action does take place, we aren't surprised by the actions of the characters and how the react to each other. We even get a glimpse as characters either grow or devolve as the events grow more and more intense.

Probably one of the more successful, and surprisingly so, relationships is the one between Ann and Kong. At first, there's an obvious monster/victim dynamic, but as the movie progresses, the relationship develops into one of kinship and love. Towards the end, one can really see concern and love in Ann's reactions.

When the action finally does get up and running, it's intense and shot with a wonderful eye. The scenes are played out with enough fluidity as to make them feel dynamic without being overly confusing. The sets and locations are superb and really draws the viewer into the mystical location that is Skull Island. Of course, one can not talk about this film without going on about how well Kong is done. The animation and details for the giant ape are excellent and he fits well within the world of the film. The scenes between Kong and Ann show a lot of effort to his that fact that Kong isn't real next to a live actress.

While I'll say that I enjoyed King Kong, I couldn't help but feel that a good thirty minutes could have been edited out of this bloated epic. Certain sequences are just overlong and others could have been dropped. The problem with editing this film is that certain character dynamics could have been lost on the editing room floor, but some characters really didn't need all the screen time they received.

If you enjoy the original Kong film or Peter Jackson's cinematographical eye, then King Kong is surely worth your money and time. It's a lengthy film that may drag on from time to time, but the overall experience is a good time and work the price of admission.

- - Kinderfeld

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