9 out of 10
New remake of an all-time favourite
When I first saw advertisements for the new remake of Kong, I was both elated and worried. I have been a fan of monster movies since I was a small boy, and King Kong has always been an all time favourite. I knew that with todays special effects capabilities, the movie had potential to be as great as the original. But, having seen remakes that brought the story to modern (at the time) standards, it lost a lot of its appeal. Seeing that Kong is set in the original depression era of the 1920s, I was quite pleased that the ambiance would be there. It is my humble opinion that period pieces should remain as such. Modernization ruins the magic and credibility of the story. Kong is such a story.
Despite the long wait to enter the theatre due to an increase in security to avoid Piracy, a problem that is plaguing theatres world-wide, and being stuck in the third row, I was hyped to see Kong. The five friends who were with me were also excited, three of whom had never seen a King Kong movie. This was going to be a treat.
I have to say before I give the synopsis, this movie was awesome! Peter Jackson worked his usual magic, and turned this re-make into a masterpiece. For those of you who may wish to take your children to experience the film, be advised, there are some rather intense scenes that may frighten small children. Three of my friends were gripping each other and actually shrieked. The movie is that awesome!
The story of Kong takes place during the depression era New York. Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) is an out of work vaudeville actress looking to find work in order to keep herself afloat. Carl Denham (Jack Black) is a fading movie director who is trying to get funding for his newest film. Unscrupulous and scheming, he lies and manipulates the people around him, in order to achieve his goals, dreaming of becoming the most famous movie director at any cost. Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) is a famous writer, and long time friend of Carls. Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler) is the famous movie star that Carl has hired for the lead role in his movie.
Carl hires a boat to take him to an uncharted island known as Skull Island, in order to film never before seen creature from prehistoric times. He tells everyone that their destination is Singapore, but convinces Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) to take them to the island. Englehorns usual passengers/cargo are captured live animals for sale to zoos, circuses and private owners. He accepts this fare due to the large amount of money that Carl offers him. Eventually Skull Island is found, and the crew must work to dislodge the ship from rocks that it ground up upon, and the film crew heads to shore to do some filming. The film crew discover some ancient ruins, and then some native inhabitants. The natives attack, and a couple of the film crew are killed before the ships crew arrive to rescue them. That night, the natives sneak aboard the ship, and kidnap Ann, to be used as a sacrifice for Kong. Ann is discovered missing, and a rescue party heads to shore to rescue her. They arrive in time for Carl to see Ann taken by Kong. The chase is on.
The action and acting in this movie are superb. The effects are amazing. The beginning, however, is a little slow. Character development is done beautifully, and you feel as though you get to know everyone. The ships cook, Lumpy, is played by Andy Serkis, who played Golem in the LoTR series, and Serkis also did the motion capturing for Kong.
I found that Peter Jacksons Kong was an homage to the original 1933 classic version of King Kong. Keeping it a period piece instead of modernizing it like the 1976 remake, made the movie. It brought to life the story from the 1933 stop motion with CGI and brings us deeper into the movie, submerging us into the story as if we were there. .
Film Critic: Sean Migneault