King Kong (DVD, 2006, Anamorphic Widescreen) Reviews
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King Kong (DVD, 2006, Anamorphic Widescreen)

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King Kong rules.

Dec 17, 2005 (Updated Dec 17, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Kong. Kong versus T-Rex. Watts, Black, and Brody. What a spectacle.

Cons:The first hour drags. Obvious blue screens.

The Bottom Line: You can't have a much better time at the movies.


As the follow-up to his epic Lord of the Rings Trilogy, director Peter Jackson chose one of the few stories that might be able to rival Tolkien's work in scope, a King Kong remake bigger and badder than either of its predecessors.

The story mainly mirrors that of the 1933 version, possessing a like spirit and containing several homages to the classic. Fast-talking movie producer Carl Denham (Jack Black) sets sail for the mysterious Skull Island in an effort to film things never before seen. Among those in tow are a motley crew along with his starlet (Naomi Watts) and screenwriter (Adrien Brody), who happen to fall in love during the during the trip. As the standard endangered female, Watts only has a few notes to hit (lonely, fearful, caring), and she drills them. Black and Brody both make for atypical but interesting hero types. Because neither naturally fits that bill, a little adjusting is required, but once you get accustomed to Black playing for show instead of comedy and Brody being less dour than usual, they prove to be very capable of filling their new roles, giving them more humanity than most heroes have.

Until the Venture reaches Skull Island an hour in, the movie drags. Some character forming is required of course, and the build-up isn't terrible, but it's like being a kid on Christmas. When there's one big present sitting in the corner, it doesn't matter how cool all of the preliminary presents are. Wading through those can be wearisome because you just want to get to the payoff, which you know will be spectacular. In this case, the title character is the reason you're at the film, and fidgeting through a third of the story without him is annoying. Once the island is found however, the movie catapults to life.

Does it ever.

Skull Island is literally crawling with all sorts of dangerous creatures, human and otherwise, that the voyagers confront. Although one of these encounters lasts too long, they are still exciting simply in scope. What all of these struggles do better than those in most movies is induce a reaction. Oversized beasts mean oversized action and violence, which demands oohs and aahs from the audience, sucking viewers in as it entertains.

The linchpin of the movie is the ultimate fight hinted at in the trailers, Tyrannosaurus Rex versus King Kong. With its combination of raw aggression and sheer brutality, this may be the greatest battle ever put on screen. That's not an exaggeration. It's the Ali and Frazier of monsters going toe-to-toe. When it was over I was simultaneously cheering, laughing, and crying with exhilaration. I would pay full admission just to see that battle again. Phenomenal.

More than just great action & adventure, King Kong is also a tragedy, due in large part to the stunning CGI title character. The team at Weta Workshop presents a Kong who generates more emotion than many actors. The remarkably rendered details permit him to emote with his eyes, facial expressions, and body language as though he were a human, creating a sympathetic gorilla that isn't all that different from the misunderstood lead in The Phantom of the Opera. The result is that you care more about Kong than you do about any other character, a key factor in carrying the movie's final hour, when Kong is brought to New York City, leading to a final showdown.

A mysterious island, dinosaurs, a giant gorilla, and the definitive damsel in distress. With these elements, King Kong appeals to something primal in all of us. Combine that with the elemental need of both Ann and Kong, which is to be loved, and the result is a well-rounded film that deeply entertains, almost enough to overshadow several blatant blue screens and a slow first hour.

Like King Kong himself, this movie is pure massive spectacle, not quite great to the extent that Lord of the Rings was great (although parts are), but great entertainment that Carl Denham himself would be proud of. The best parts are the pinnacle of the cinematic mountain and as good a time as you can have at the movies. A high 8 bananas of 10, rounded to five stars for sheer entertainment value.


Recommend this product? Yes

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