Sunday, December 18, 2005

King Kong



A personal commentary by Peter Jackson on the social unliking of black males dating white women, if you're one of those people who reads too much into today's cinema that is. For starters we don't even know for certain if King Kong is male. He could be a she and the film could be a personal commentary by Peter Jackson on the social unliking of lesbianism.

Actually the film is a very good remake of what was a very bad 30s movie, but then what film made in that decade was? The film comes in at a bum-numbing 3 hours and for the first hour you'll be reciting that well known phrase from Jerry Maguire with the letter K added.

"Show me the mon(k)ey"

The story is of a failed director, played straight for once by Jack Black, who heads off to Skull Island (an island not on any map except his) with a poor actress played rather well by Naomi Watts and a screenwriter in a cage played by Adrien "the nose" Brody with the aim of making a film there. On the island they come across a bunch of savages, including a nice cameo of Walt from "Lost", who seem to do nothing but wait for people to arrive so they can sacrifice them to King Kong.

Considering this island was supposed to be unknown they clearly can't have much opportunity to do so. With all the spare time they had they were able to make lots of walls and bridges out of vines and wood. Clearly a lack of sacrifical lambs had meant their carpentry skills had become quite superb.

When Naomi turns up, she is taken captive and when offered to the monkey, King Kong falls in love with her juggling skills (so there is a reason for it after all) and rather than eat her, chooses instead to show her the sunset whilst avoiding lots of bugs, bats and a trifecture of T-Rexs.

The rest of the crew, led by Adrien "can smell her scent from 50 miles with that nose" Brody eventually rescue her and manage to capture the Gorilla to take back to New York as a spectacle, when the movie fails to materialise.

We then have the classic ending when the Gorilla escapes from the show and makes his way to the top of the Empire State Building to fight those aeroplanes where pilots can fire their machine guns without hitting the propellor at the front of the plane. Will Jackson stay true to the original or will some stupid executive insist on an alternative ending where everyone lives happily ever after? You'll have to wait and see.

Naomi's role is limited to running and screaming, and having run away screaming in both Ring and Ring 2, it wasn't much of a career step to do it here. This time however she's running from a CGI monkey, not a girl crawling through her TV set. I still think her role in Mulholland Drive is her best yet. With big blockbusters where there are tons and tons of CGI, great set designs and all the stops pulled out, you can get away with not having the best acting. Adrien is even worse, like Owen Wilson, you'll be distracted by his conk, well I was. Jack Black is perhaps the best of the actors, which is surprising given his background in comedy roles.

But of course the star of the show is Serkis as the Gorilla, it's just a shame it takes so long for him to appear. The mannerisms are perfect and the CGI so good that you really do believe that he's real. Lord of the Rings did suffer with some obvious blue screening, but the budget has clearly been spent hiding that this time round. The effects are really sharp. You're more sympathetic to Kong than anyone else. As with the Gollum role in Rings, Andy Serkis should get an Oscar nomination but it's not going to happen as he's not "on the screen" which is a shame.

The action sequences are great with a dinosaur chase that puts the same in Jurassic Park into a cocked hat. The fight between Kong and the T-Rexs is also great with a jaw breaking scene that almost rivals that in American History X. If you're scared of bugs then you will be cringing in this film as they feature abundantly and their big mothers too. Rentokill won't be able to shift this lot, that's for sure.

Is it a kid's movie? No! But the movie company has clearly managed to make the BBFC think so. Some families did leave the showing I was at, particularly around the bug scenes, but it is definitely worth seeing if you don't have kids.

I'll finish my review with a joke that came to me during watching the film.

Q: How do you shift a 25ft, unconscious and oversized gorilla that weighs several tonnes from a coastal inlet to a ship moored offshore using 8 men and a small rowing boat?
A: You'll have to ask Peter Jackson as he doesn't show us.

Oh, and check the cages in the ship. Looks like they're carrying some of those deadly Sumatran Rat Monkeys that Jackson featured in his Brain Dead movie :D
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