05 January 2006

King Kong 2005

King Kong (2005)

Peter Jackson can do no wrong if you are to believe the slavish following he has amongst the cinema going public and the hordes of film magazines out at the moment.

He single handedly managed to allay the fears of the Lord of The Rings fans worldwide and at the same time broke box office records and walked home with more than a fistful of awards including several Oscars for his triumphant interpretation of the trilogy.

When it was announced several years ago that his next project was a remake of the classic King Kong you could feel the excitement building. Jackson had always wanted to remake the film that turned him onto films and eventually film making. It was always a project close to his heart and with the momentum of the rings behind him and a huge budget and studio backing it was obvious his dreams could be realised.

So what we have here was certainly the necessary elements to make a huge popcorn blockbusting movie-and has he succeeded?

Well yes and no is the answer to that one. Certainly KK works effectively on many levels. It has the big budget feel to it-but certainly lacks in other areas.

Its pace seems slightly odd with Jackson deliberately attempting to build the excitement with a long slow drawn out first hour which he does by padding out some of the characters in the movie-I found this totally unnecessary. What we have here is a movie where the hero is the monkey. Everything else plays second fiddle-and to pad out a lot of the characters many of which die seems a pointless exercise and one that doesn’t add a great deal to the film except give the film goer a sore arse.

By the time the extended Skull Island section arrives I felt my attention was starting to wane somewhat.

At this point however Jackson really flexes his muscles. The characters come face to face with the natives in what can only be described as a very scary and bloody sequence that seems to have come straight from the cutting room floor of LOTR-the passing resemblance to the Orcs certainly didn’t go unnoticed. From this point on the action becomes relentless-infact too relentless.

The slow initial pacing is completely thrown out of the window and we’re bombarded with CGI effect after CGI effect (some of which is slightly rough around the edges) with lots of death, screaming and close up shots of KK. After the first glimpse of KK-and when the amazement of the facial expressions along with other CGI effects had sunk in-once again I felt somewhat bored.

Herein lies the weakness. I just didn’t feel engaged enough with the movie-certainly not enough to warrant a 3hour and 15 minute sitting.

By the time the final sequence arrives (by far the best in terms of FX) I was wanting it to end. Just as I was waiting for the boat to sink in Titanic-the ape falling off the Empire State Building couldn’t have come quick enough.

Certainly the performances of the leads are excellent (particularly Jack Black)-the cinematography is breathtaking but that is of no consequence-what we have here is an exercise in blockbusting action with a CGI hammer wrapped around ones head several times.

If this is your cup of tea KK will certainly float your boat. Behind it all though is a flawed remake which doesn’t even match the original but beats the 70s remake well into second place (which lets face it that isn’t too hard).

Maybe if Jackson had trimmed off the excessive fat on the movie (by at least an hour) we would’ve had a more satisfying and lean rollercoaster of a ride action movie.