If his “Lord of the Rings” is a magical classic in complete greatness, his “King Kong” is a monstrous adventure flick with mainstream feel.
Though the story’s logic is ludicrous, if the audience yields to what is seen on the screen, the movie creates a reality of its own. This time, the new Kong, along with the ferocious dinosaurs and other monstrous creatures in an unexplored, massive jungle in Asia, is created with sell-out special effects to make this version a visual wonder of its own.
“King Kong,” even after more than eight decades, still continues to inspire and live up to the legacy of high-end escapist cinema. It exemplifies a sort of personal expressiveness and cinematic mysticism. And having Jackson as the director gives fine detail for visual excellence and a whole new treatment – from the filmmaker behind the new classic the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. His group (also the one behind “LOTR”) makes this film a new beastly adventure both literally and figuratively. It is created to grip and thrill. And they keep that mark amidst its weaknesses.
Spearheaded by the overpassionate director/producer Carl Denham (Jack Black), a film crew journeys an unexplored island to investigate legends of a giant ape named Kong and make an opus out of it upon returning to New York. They stumble upon an unknown tribe and more dangers start pouring in as they search for Kong’s captive, their lead actress, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts). Their quest to save Ann puts them up against the habitat of massive creatures from prehistoric times that have been protected and hidden for millions of years.
The elaborate production design, well-lit sets, miniatures and backgrounds breathe new life for the story. From New York to Skull Island and back to New York, the visual aesthetics are a combination of the oldie and the glossy look. It maintains the feel of it being a period film while also projecting its being a technically impressive work.
Jackson really knows how to play with emotions and not just maintaining the high-end special effects in his films. This is a good trait that most filmmakers tend to overlook especially when they are too engrossed in making the film literally “look good.” In this film, the juxtaposition of shots capture the right reactions of the characters everytime.
Jack Black plays his role more like a caricature of a real-life movie producer. Adrian Brody gives depth to his screenwriter character who falls in love with Ann Darrow. As for Naomi Watts, she shows her versatility as an actress in such a big action role. Her historical “Ann Darrow scream” will surely leave a new mark. Andy Serkis has become comfortable in acting with sensors all over his face and body. From his Gollum/Smeagel role to now being the new Kong, he renders such a terrific performance to give heart to his character.
The plausibility of the touching relationship between Ann Darrow and Kong at some point gets a bit strained. But overall, their heart-filled interactions are mere touching. Though there are some minor violent fight and chase scenes (mostly with the monstrous creatures of the jungle), it promotes some good moral lessons about human-animal relationships for the children audience.
Made with painstaking detail and care, the beauty of this “King Kong” is that there’s more to it than just an oversized gorilla. It has impressive special effects. It is well-casted. And most of all, it has a heart. It is a beastly adventure with a heart.