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.
When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.
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 owns a number of props from the original King Kong (1933) and put some of the items from his collection into this film. These items include Skull Island spears and a brightly painted shield (seen in the cabins of the Venture) and some of the drums from the sacrifice scene (in use during the jig scene). 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?
See more »
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 »
Jackson's Soulful, Spunky, Spectacular Labor of Love
I was one of the lucky winners of the Kong is King.net World Premiere Ticket contest, so my husband and I had the pleasure of seeing KING KONG in Times Square's Loews E-Walk Theatre. I knew I'd like it the minute I saw the Art Deco opening credits, very reminiscent of RKO's style. The movie only got better from there, carrying us moviegoers on a roller-coaster ride of adventure, romance, and eye-popping special effects. What raises Jackson's take on KING KONG above other rock'em-sock'em action blockbusters is that it's so clearly a labor of love in every sense of the term, a spectacle with soul and spunk. It's not every rollicking adventure film that begins with scenes of life in 1933 New York City, when the Great Depression was at its worst. No wonder plucky but vulnerable actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts is at her most beautiful and winsome as a more proactive version of Fay Wray's star-making role) is willing to take a chance with fast-talking movie producer/director Carl Denham (Jack Black, a rascally delight) on his latest project, involving leaving for the South Seas that very night.
The characters are no mere genre archetypes; before their adventure begins, Jackson and his talented cast let us get to know and care about every one of them. When crewmen from the S.S. Venture get injured or killed by Skull Island's various fearsome natives and beasts, we mourn them. When Ann and playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody combines strength and sensitivity wonderfully as this unlikely hero. He gets my vote for Movie Mensch of the Year!) connect on screen, we're moved and rooting for them to get together, especially after they share one of this year's best screen kisses. Even the calculating Denham wins us over with his sheer force of will. A real Orson Welles type, the guy just loves making movies -- and money -- so much he'll go to insane lengths to make his project a reality, whether it involves outrunning his creditors, shanghaiing Driscoll on the Venture, or tricking his cast and crew onto uncharted Skull Island.
Most importantly, King Kong himself captivates us, thanks to a combination of WETA's amazing special effects and the range of emotion provided by a motion-captured Andy Serkis. If only one cast member gets an Oscar nomination, I say give it to Serkis for his wonderful performances as both Kong and Lumpy the cook! :-) Kong has never been just another scary big ape in any of the previous film versions of his story, but Jackson and Serkis make him particularly engaging, not just because he looks so convincingly weatherbeaten, but he moves like an ape (on all fours, thank you) and has the facial expressions of a human. As a result, we can see how Kong's terrifying side is influenced by his tender side. Yes, I said "tender." How else can you describe his protectiveness towards Ann on Skull Island after she wins him over by performing her lively vaudeville act? When Kong does go nutzoid, it's because either he or Ann are being threatened, whether by people, planes, or Skull Island's jaw-dropping, scream-inducing array of monsters and aborigine tribespeople. Jackson & Company give the big guy plenty of dizzying set pieces to show his stuff, involving everything from dinosaurs, toothy insects as long as your arm, and speeding taxicabs in New York City traffic (the scene where Brody did his own stunt driving; all those years of drag-racing on the streets of Woodhaven, Queens really paid off! :-), to say nothing of the dazzling Empire State Building climax. Moreover, Andrew Lesnie's cinematography is as gorgeous as it is kinetic; Adrien Brody should make sure Lesnie photographs every film he's in from now on, because he's never looked so handsome as he does here! :-) KING KONG is over 3 hours long, yet I never once thought to look at my watch. It's 3+ hours and the price of admission well-spent.
420 of 740 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?