In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.
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Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location; Skull Island. But he still needs to find a leading lady. This 'soon-to-be-unfortunate' soul is Ann Darrow. No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out. Living on this hidden island is a giant gorilla and this beast now has Ann is its grasps. Carl and Ann's new love, Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures and beasts. But Carl has another plan in mind. Written by
Peter Jackson was paid $20 million to direct this film, the highest salary ever paid to a film director in advance of production. See more »
When Driscoll enters the elevator at the Empire State Building during the film's climax, he reaches over to select a floor, revealing that the elevator features self-service. Elevator operators were still employed in the Empire State Building during the early 1930s. See more »
That's a funny one. Isn't that funnier?
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The end credits are set against an art deco backdrop rather than the traditional black screen. The backdrop is an exact replica, in Technicolor, of the same backdrop that was used for the opening credits in the 1933 version of "King Kong". See more »
If it had been announced that a remake of the classic "King Kong" was being made without the name Peter Jackson attached to it, there is no doubt audiences would have been outraged. But after the enormous success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it would seem that the general public has learned to trust director Peter Jackson. After watching his remake of King Kong, I would have to say that their trust was well placed.
Jackson now firmly cements his name as a master filmmaker, the kind that all aspiring directors want to be. The attention he pays to the most minute details, the sheer class he shows in terms of production and scale, the amount of skill he has in manipulating our fragile emotions... the man is clearly one of the most talented directors in film history. And Jackson certainly brings his considerable skill and flair to show here in 'Kong'. While a different director likely would have sped up the story to the crew's arrival on Skull Island, Jackson takes his time with a nice, leisurely build up to their arrival, giving us lots of time to really get to know these characters, and also providing time for a slow and genuine romance building between the characters of Anne and Jack. This romance does lead to the very few and seldom weaknesses of the film... the romance scenes can seem a bit cheesy and contrived at times. But when that's literally the only complain I can make, it's a pretty damn good sign for the movie!
The visual effects are an essential part of the movie, and they really needed to be done well here to properly sell the idea - safe to say that they were still good enough to surpass my already unrealistically high expectations! Safe to say, even in today's computer saturated film industry the special effects in King Kong will still succeed in blowing you away. And Jackson seems to have an almost uncanny skill in manipulating his audience's emotions - you will cheer, you will laugh, you will cry, you will really be on the edge of your seat and you will be truly and thoroughly disgusted in at least one part of the movie - watch out for a cave full of giant insects on Skull Island. It seemed only fair to post a warning considering how profoundly well done it is...
The cast is pitch perfect, right down to the most minuscule parts. (the natives on Skull Island are even more terrifying than any orcs or evil creatures in LOTR) Naomi Watts gives a heartwarming and wonderful performance as the innocent Ann Darrow, the "beauty who killed the beast". And indeed, performance aside, Watts hasn't looked this beautiful for quite a while! While everyone had their doubts about Jack Black's casting a while back, he proves to be just what his character needed to be truly believable. Black harnesses his trademark manic energy, and instead of playing it for laughs, expels it through Carl Denham's passion for the film industry, and his lust for providing a show for his audiences - sometimes at the cost of his morals. I must admit, I have never been a fan of Adrien Brody, but even he managed to win my sympathies, and proves surprisingly convincing as heroic screenwriter Jack Driscoll. And then there's Andy Serkis... the man is so underrated, since his best performances have been overshadowed by masks of admittably impressive CGI, but result in him losing credit he so desperately deserves. Serkis, while utterly convincing as an enormous silverback gorilla in terms of movement and vocalizations, still manages to bring a surprising humanity to Kong. I'm hard pressed to remember the last time an animal protagonist has managed to capture our hearts and emotional involvement as much as Kong does, and Serkis definitely deserves accolades for re-creating such an iconic character in a beautiful fashion only through movement and body language. He also takes a hilarious supporting role as the grizzled and trigger-happy Lumpy the cook.
Overall, I think it is safe to say that King Kong succeeds on a level completely lost to most productions these days. Rarely are our emotions manipulated with such ease, rarely do we find ourselves getting so engrossed in a story that a 3 hour running time seems to have gone by far too quickly and we yearn for more. King Kong is an odyssey of a movie, and the most genuine and compelling output seen since... well, the Lord of the Rings. This is classic storytelling at its peak - don't miss out on it!
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