Sunday, December 18th, 2005

King Kong


$200 million and three hours later, King Kong has hit the big screen. So how is Peter Jackon’s follow up to the Lord of the Rings? Well….it’s definitely a decent film, but I don’t think it holds a candle to the Rings trilogy.

First the good stuff. Naomi Watts puts in an amazing performance. Being able to pull off the requisite screaming and running is a given, but Watts actually conveys a wealth of emotion while interacting with a giant ape, and really makes you buy into what is an inherently ridiculous story. The other actors put in good performances too, but Watts is the standout.

Except, of course, for the big furry guy himself. By using the same technology (and actor) as with Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson has managed to show a beast with heart and feelings. You can really see acting on Kong’s face, and it makes the inevitable tragedy that much stronger.

The showcase sequences, like Kong beating the living crap out of three dinosaurs and the Empire State building finale are all amazing to look at, as is the digitally created New York of the 1930’s, which is an eye-popper.

But there are negatives. For one thing, the movie is LONG. Way longer than it needs to be, at three hours. They could have easily cut a half hour’s worth of running around Skull Island getting attacked by bugs and dinos and creepy-crawlies. And at the end of the day, for all the razzle-dazzle..this movie has already been made. It’s fun to see, but it is a remake of a perfectly cool film.

But these are minor complaints…it’s the sort of film you should see on the big screen, in a really good theatre, and probably with a sizable crowd. Three out of four stars.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

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