King Kong (★★★☆☆)
So we finally got around to seeing Peter Jackson’s epic. Spoilers ahoy.
Apparently the 1933 original ‘Kong is Jackson’s favourite film and has been something he’s always wanted to make his own. True to his word, the 2005 version follows the original script very closely, to the point of including some scenes that never made it into the original.
I loved the opening and ending sequences, the recreation of 1930’s New York looked mighty impressive and I loved the scene where the ‘Venture’ enters the fog and starts hitting Skull Island. Jack Black put in a particularly brilliant performance as Carl Denham and Naomi Watts was excellent as Anne Darrow, with some very believable bonding scenes with Kong.
But how long was it? The battle scenes on Skull Island followed that old school ‘what could possibly be next?’ adventure/disaster/horror mantra with each near escape leading into another almighty battle/lucky escape. This ended up making a couple of the scenes a little superfluous to the main plot, case in point was the ‘insect valley’ scene which, while being pretty freaky and truly horrifying in parts, could have been left out without any major damage to the main storyline. Other scenes had us both laughing out loud, those T-Rexs just don’t know when to die do they? It was like that film-set scene in The Party where bugle-playing Hrundi/Sellers gets shot…
There were also a few parts that made us cringe. There’s one particularly bad transition where Darrow and Driscoll (Adrian Brody) fall into a rapid stream, then in the immediately next scene they’re running through the jungle - with dry clothes and hair. I also had an issue with those bat-things attacking Kong only after Driscoll shows up to save Anne. Kong was just asleep? Why wouldn’t they start attacking him when he was in this vulnerable state, why wait until he’s awake and alert. And how did Kong make it back to New York, surely he wouldn’t fit into the hold of the good ship ‘Venture’?
That said, this may have been Jackson’s intention. From what I understand he loves a good schlock horror film and this one’s (in parts) no exception. Don’t take it too seriously and it’s a good entertaining film with a heap of action and THE best CG sequences ever seen. I’m looking forward to the DVD release which, in LOTR-vein, I’m led to believe will include all the extra bits that weren’t able to be squeezed into the main epic, along with a few weeks worth of extras and commentaries from cast and crew.
Apparently the aforementioned insect/bug valley scene was made for the 1933 original but ended up being cut from the final release for being too gruesome.