From Peter Jackson, director of the acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy, comes King Kong a remake of the 1933 classic by Merian Cooper. Something special happens in Jackson's Kong, and while I can't properly articulate it, I would say that if you pass up your chance to see it in theaters, you will have missed out on something special.
Set in 1933, Kong tells the story of Carl Denham (Jack Black), a filmmaker who's at the end of his rope and must make a successful picture. Denham comes into possession of a strange and mysterious map which seems to show the location of an "undiscovered" isle known as Skull Island.
The island is cloaked in mystery with tales of giant beasts and prehistoric creatures roaming its lands. Denham begins to weave a web of deceit in order to get the people he wants involved in the project. A beautiful, out-of-work vaudeville performer named Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) is lured in after learning that her idol, Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), is writing the screenplay for Denham's movie. Driscoll isn't exactly lured in; he's basically trapped by Denham and forced to go along on the expedition after the boat leaves shore with Driscoll still aboard.
Soon, the over-ambitious Denham and his crew arrive on Skull Island ready to shoot their picture. Little do they know of the danger that awaits them behind the walls that surround the island namely natives, prehistoric beasts protected from millions of years of evolution and of course one giant primate who has a soft spot for blondes.
Denham eventually brings the beast back to New York where the film's epic climax takes place. If you're not familiar with the story of Kong, I won't ruin it for you but realize that this film is quite emotional. It's almost beautiful, actually.
You must see this film. Although it is three hours long, which may discourage some people, it is completely worth it. The first hour plays like a textbook example in the art of building suspense. The story captivates you and draws you in - forcing you to pay crucial attention to every moment. This portion of the film also allows you to get acquainted with the quirky dialogue, which I loved; it puts you right back in the '30s.
The second hour is a nonstop thrill ride, to be cliché. My heart could not stop pounding even after the third viewing. If there is one thing I love - it is giant beasts fighting, and King Kong has plenty. Ever wanted to see an ape fight three Tyrannosaurs? Of course you want to see that, what a stupid question!
Anyway, after three hours you're completely exhausted... on both a physical and emotional level. It's a beautiful story and a great example of the power of film--how a story can take something as abstract as a giant ape and make you care about it and feel for it.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars, and I'll stand by the claim that it was the best film of 2005. I cannot honestly name you a better film I've seen this year. It was not only a great film, but also an immensely thrilling experience in theaters - a great time at the movies indeed.
Adam Frazier drives an El Camino and sports a vicious mullet.