"King Kong" is a new classic


Dec. 20, 2005, midnight | By Payal Patnaik | 14 years, 10 months ago

Remake catches all the elements of old movie with new flair


The timeless tale of beauty and the beast is the sweet story of Ann Darrow and her devoted protector King Kong, which was rekindled last Wednesday in theaters nationwide. The original "King Kong," directed by Merian C. Cooper, who also shares writing credits, enamored audiences in 1933 and launched the story to celebrity status. After years of movies based on the King Kong legend, including the 1976 flop, this new release directed by Peter Jackson finally does justice to the original.

The film opens conveying the Depression-era hopelessness of New York City and its unemployment, soup kitchens and shacks. Ann Darrow's (Naomi Watts) vaudeville theatre company closes down after attracting a bare and scattered audience. Hungry and unemployed, Ann is discovered by Carl Denham (Jack Black), who intends to use her in his movie production. Ann accepts after she finds out that the playwright she worships, Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), is writing the script. Black takes Watts to a foreign place he names "Skull Island," where paint-covered natives and dinosaurs run wild.

Photo: King Kong, performed by Andy Serkis, and Ann (Naomi Watts) in Peter Jackson's "King Kong."


The film then capitalizes on the audience's imagination, offering dinosaurs and scorpions, as well as other figments of the Jackson's imagination. One after another, the sequences between Ann's encounters and the crew's escapades include gripping and suspenseful scenes that would satisfy any action aficionado.

The attempts to create an aura of mystery are clichéd and cheesy, especially with Black's explanations of the island in hushed tones. Instead of sounding like a dreamer, Black sounds stupid, overdramatic and insane. But Black tends to play these obnoxious characters anyway, so he fits the role of an insensitive self-promoting jerk almost perfectly.

Like the gripping scenes in his movie, Jackson also does a phenomenal job with "King Kong." Slightly changing character roles and altering the plot to better suit his interpretation of the original film, Jackson creates a new remake with new perspectives and better special effects than the 1933 version has. For example, Jack's (Brody) role as a mate on the ship changes to a playwright, which gives a romantic foil for Ann (Watts).

In addition, Jackson adds more depth to Ann, deleting her original characteristic as a helpless damsel in distress. Instead, Watts portrays a woman who is intelligent, angelic and beautiful. For once, a film director in today's movie industry does not capitalize on a pretty actress like the remake preceding it. The connection between Kong and Ann is important, and Jackson leaves us with a sense of controversial love and friendship. The scenes of connection between Watts and Kong are breathtaking, heartwarming moments, capturing the emotion they share filled with naivety and childishness.

"King Kong's" superb animation and graphics enhance the film's quality and action-packed allure. The film melds humor and drama together with dynamic clashes between beast and man, appealing to a wide range of audiences. Too many splotchy-eyed women and uncomfortable looking men looked nervously embarrassed as the theater lights went on. Nevertheless, the film drew also both laughs with its juxtaposition of emotion and funny situations to keep the plot moving.

Don't be deterred by the 187 minutes duration of the film. The actual plot may start off slowly, but Jackson skillfully keeps the film moving with sub-story lines that introduce the characters. "King Kong" is a movie one doesn't want to miss, for it has everything only for the price of an admission ticket.

"King Kong" (187 minutes) is rated PG-13 for frightening adventure violence and some disturbing images.




Payal Patnaik. Payal's bad habits include compulsive apologizing, and....sorry. More »

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