DVD Reviews | Apr 2nd, 2006
Starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis
Written By: Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Buy on Amazon.com link
One of the best movies I saw last year and now it’s finally out on DVD! I saw this in the movie theater and it was quite an experience. Talk about a long ass movie and getting stuck watching the things I hate the most: bugs, spiders, insects and dinosaurs. They all freak me out and Peter Jackson certainly knows how to scare the crap out of people. But Peter Jackson has made a film he put all his love into and it really shows.
King Kong is set in the 1930’s, when New York City was in the Great Depression. The story is about struggling actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) who has just lost her job, and is trying to find work. He runs into Carl Denham (Jack Black), a filmmaker who is just a little over-ambitious and wants to use her for his movie. She eventually agrees to do the movie after debating whether or not to do it. Carl is doing the movie behind the studio’s back and takes off to the mysterious Skull Island, a place that no one has been to or has return from. Jack Driscoll (Adrien Bordy), a popular playwright and screenwriter is attached to the movie and gets stuck on the boat while it’s launching to the sea. So Jack is stuck on the boat and has to tag along and finish the screenplay. Ann Darrow knows all about his work and wanted to work with him so it’s a dream come true to be with him on this trip. As they are filming stuff on the boat, Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) finds out there’s a warrant out for Carl’s arrest and starts to turn the boat around. But it’s too late since they start to notice fog and a giant wall. The boat crashes into the wall and they are stuck around all the rocks in the water. While the Captain is trying to prepare the boat, Denham made an ass out of himself by going onshore to film his precious movie only to be attacked by crazy natives. Holy crap were they scary. The Captain saves them and they are back on the boat again, but the natives of the island kidnapped Ann and put her in a ritual for Kong. Jack and the others decide to rescue her and end up getting caught up in all the jungles’ adventures and pretty much up end either dying or surviving the whole trip and go back to New York City. But leave it to Carl Denham to mess things up even more by capturing Kong to showcase in New York City. So you can imagine how things went from there.
King Kong was a truly an epic masterpiece that I thoroughly enjoyed. Even though I cringed through the entire thing. I guess the same can be said for Jurassic Park, which is somewhat similar when the movie takes place on Skull Island. I’m not really familiar with the other King Kong movies, I believe I saw the 1970’s version with Jeff Bridges but I never saw the original films. So when I first heard there were going to be dinosaurs on the island and all that stuff, I didn’t know what to expect. But after seeing the movie and watching the dinos on the island, I have to say that the King Kong vs Dinosaurs fights were freakin’ amazing! And let me tell you, Kong messes them up good! I think those scenes are worth the price of admission alone, but the other scenes on Skull Island are excellent as well. All the bug & insects scenes were absolutely horrifying to watch and I cringe and cried in the theater like a little baby. My friend in the theater put it best when Jack, Carl and Billy Elliott were stuck in the trench with all the insects..”WORST PLACE EVER” and I totally agree! Of course it was inevitable for the Captain to come save the day for a second time. I’m not sure who was gonna die or live in this movie. I thought the whole time some characters would go and then they didn’t. I was surprised by that and wished they kept alive the ones they killed. I think Peter Jackson just loves killing people off in fun & gruesome ways, and he definitely demonstrates that here.
As far as the story is concerned, I thought it was pretty good except some of the storylines that ended when they got off the island. The storyline with Jimmy and Hayes was kind of interesting and then it just ended and didn’t go anywhere. You don’t hear from the boat crew after the third part of the movie and I was kind of wondering why. I thought the captain would have popped up again with his money in his hands or appearing at the Kong premiere. Also, the chemistry between Ann and Jack dies down after they are off Skull Island. They could have fleshed that out more but I think it was more important for Kong & Ann to have more chemistry. I think the movie could have been trimmed down a half hour at least. Maybe in the beginning perhaps because the exciting part doesn’t start til they reach Skull Island. Though it was good in the beginning, just slower than the rest of the film. It was needed to show character depth and all that stuff. The acting for the movie was great and Naomi Watts definitely should have gotten nominated for acting with a CGI gorilla. I was skeptical of having Jack Black in this movie but he really does a good job with the role. You really want to hate him, but somewhat enjoy his antics on screen as well. I was also questioning the leading man role that went to Adrien Brody but the same thing with Jack Black, he did the role justice. And finally, Andy Serkis truly brought Kong to life like he did for Gollum. But PJ was cool enough to get him an actually role as Lumpy the cook as well. Serkis studied gorillas and did a lot of research, the man is just dedicated what can I say. Maybe one day the guy will be rewarded for his hard work.
Which leads me to the next part about the movie: Special effects. Since Andy Serkis took part in the making of King Kong, the effects for the big gorilla looked very realistic. At times I thought I was actually looking at a real gorilla. A good example of that would be when Ann was entertaining Kong. All his facial expressions, and mannerisms were dead on so that’s probably why I thought it looked real. It looked like they animated right over live gorilla footage for some scenes. Either way, they were amazing scenes and raised the bar for digital characters. I also I really like that scene a lot because it’s just cute the way Kong was reacting to what she was doing. I think if the effects were crappy, this movie wouldn’t have gotten the praise it got. But these effects are some of the best i’ve ever seen on film. But what’s good about Peter Jackson is he concentrates on the story and direction first, then worry about the special effects. He doesn’t make a movie just to showcase the latest gadgets like some other bushy bearded director.
There are two versions of the movie, one with extras and one without. I got sent the one without so I don’t really know what’s on the other one. Based on PJ’s previous DVD box sets, i’m sure he takes the time to show the viewers everything that went into the making of the film. If you liked the Lord of the Rings extras than you can expect something similar with King Kong. But if you just want the movie, than the cheaper single disc version is the way to go.
King Kong is almost a masterpiece in my mind, but still a fantastic movie. I think some of the storylines/characters could have been fleshed out more within the three hours. Plus I think the movie is a half hour too long. But I will still watch this movie over & over again and enjoy all the scary actions scenes. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cringe & scream like a girl, go get the 2 disc collector’s edition of King Kong now!
The Volkswagen Toureg & King Kong
Wish You Were Here
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: The dino chase scene, Kong vs The T-Rexes, the ice scene, the scene where Ann entertains Kong. The ending was sad but still liked it.
Running Time: 188 minutes