King Kong (2005)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Drama


King Kong (2005) Poster

In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.

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7.2/10
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  • Adrien Brody and Colin Hanks at an event for Total Request Live (1998)
  • Naomi Watts in King Kong (2005)
  • Adrien Brody at an event for Total Request Live (1998)
  • Adrien Brody at an event for Total Request Live (1998)
  • Jack Black and John Sumner in King Kong (2005)
  • Jack Black at an event for Total Request Live (1998)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


30 December 2005 | Krustallos
7
| Flawed Giant
Don't get me wrong here, I liked this film. It was spectacular, it had considerable emotional resonance, it wasn't a travesty.

Of course in reality a 25ft silverback gorilla would collapse under its own weight, and in many ways that's what has happened to the movie.

As others have noted, it is on the long side and would have benefited from resolute scissoring throughout. Just because you have the resources to show a 10-minute dinosaur stampede doesn't mean you actually have to do it, particularly when a 30-second scene would have told the story just as well. Throughout the movie, time is stretched in order to fit in all the effects - at one point several minutes pass between someone being struck by a spear and hitting the ground.

In addition I remain unconvinced by CGI generally. OK, this probably looks better than any other CGI movie so far, but I don't think we're in any danger of confusing it with reality yet. Rather, we have a spectacular and detailed cartoon.

It's ironic that while one of the central characters here is a combination of PT Barnum-style showman and Werner-Herzog-type visionary obsessive taking his cameras into the jungle, this "King Kong" itself is as far away from Herzogian 'realism' as it's possible to get. Not only do the CGI effects themselves (with the exception of Kong's facial expressions) fail to convince, the filmmakers also have people surviving unsurvivable falls, hanging onto logs and creepers in conditions where any human being would fall, etc. I know this is a Hollywood action movie staple, but it still jolts me out of any suspension of disbelief. OK, CGI is the only way we can have dinosaurs or giant gorillas, but keeping things as real as possible otherwise would help no end with the human side of the story.

Any time a film-maker puts a film-maker into his story it's necessary to consider the relationship between the two. On the one hand we have the studio-bound CGI-nerd making a movie about a seat-of-the-pants explorer-director. On the other we have the "showman" side of Carl Denham, as Driscoll points out, destroying that very "wonder" he sets out to capture by reducing it to vulgar spectacle. You have to ask yourself if that resonance wasn't at least in Jackson's mind when he wrote the theatre scene.

On the plus side, all the themes of the original are here and amplified, from the "we are the real monsters" (with added "Heart of Darkness" reference), through strong hints of ecological parable, to the genuinely tragic love of Kong for Darrow which leads directly to his capture and eventual downfall. The sadness in his eyes throughout is something to behold - as the last of his species he is doomed in any event, ironically it is his compassion which hastens his demise.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the ship "S.S. Venture", is the same as the one in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), used to transport the T-Rex between Isla Sorna and San Diego. Steven Spielberg named the ship in "Lost World" after the one in King Kong (1933).


Quotes

Manny: That's a funny one. Isn't that funnier?


Goofs

As Jack Driscoll flees Kong in a yellow cab through a narrow alley, the view through the (missing) windshield shows a pedestrian in light-color overcoat crossing leisurely at the other end. When the car eventually emerges in the immediate next shot viewed from the sidewalk, that particular pedestrian simply disappears.


Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits: "This film is dedicated with love and respect to the original adventurers of Skull Island: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Willis H. O'Brien, Max Steiner, Robert Armstrong and ... the incomparable Fay Wray. They continue to inspire all those who follow in their footsteps."


Alternate Versions

On November 14, 2006, an extended edition DVD was released, with 13 minutes of additional scenes edited back into the film. Denham's party is attacked by a Ceratops immediately upon entering the jungle to rescue Ann, and by a giant fish while on rafts on a river, after which they kill a giant bird while firing blindly into the jungle (the longest addition by far). Baxter's rescue of the party is extended, and finishes with Jimmy's farewell to Hayes. Kong's pursuit of the party on Skull Island and his pursuit of Driscoll in NYC are slightly extended, and there are two brief additional encounters between Kong and the military in NYC. A complete breakdown is at http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=3550.


Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blackbird
Written by
Mort Dixon, Ray Henderson
Performed by Peggy Lee
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Adventure | Drama | Romance

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