the fresh films reviews

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King Kong (2005)

Peter Jackson
New Zealand/USA
King Kong
187 minutes
Jen Blenkin
Carolynne Cunningham
Peter Jackson
Fran Walsh
Fran Walsh
Philippa Boyens
Peter Jackson

Cast includes:

Ann Darrow Naomi Watts
Carl Denham Jack Black
Jack Driscoll Adrien Brody
Captain Englehorn Thomas Kretschmann
Preston Colin Hanks
Kong/Lumpy Andy Serkis
Hayes Evan Parke
Jimmy Jamie Bell
Choy Lobo Chan
Herb John Sumner
Bruce Baxter Kyle Chandler



I'm not normally a sucker for CGI elements being the stars of motion pictures, but from a stop-action piece of clay (1933) through a monkey Halloween suit (1976), King Kong was perhaps the single one of the great classics that could benefit the most from a remake. And under Peter Jackson's passionate helm, this little monkey looks and acts magnificent. And that's the real treat with this movie: the register of the ape, his relationship with Ann Darrow and the way the two are actually made able to play off each other. The range of emotions conveyed by Kong are impressive, and they work incredibly well on several layers.

As most people know, this relationship is the real essence of the story of King Kong. But the fact that Jackson uses almost the length of a regular feature film to even introduce us to the monkey indicates that he might have filled his spoon a bit too much. There's no doubt, however, that the introduction includes both interesting characters and a wonderful rendition of 1930s New York, but it is a bit too extensive. Still, it doesn't hold the film back to any extent. But that cannot be said of a couple of the action-sequences that Jackson finds room for during the stay on the island. A brontosaurus getaway scene is particularly annoying. It is both painfully exaggerated and totally uninteresting. It's as if the amount of work put into making it was weighed into the artistic process. That's rarely a wise move.

By the final third, however, the film picks itself up brilliantly, and the entire New York sequence is brilliant. It pinpoints all the essential themes about the King Kong saga: greed versus concern, love versus hate, and the very subtle understanding of what evil really is. More than any of its predecessors, Peter Jackson's King Kong underlines that this ape certainly isn't a representative for it. And the final scenes of Kong and Ann are beautifully moving - albeit a tad stupid of course.

Copyright 2.1.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang