Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Great Grape Ape

Funny I would think of Hanna-Barbera when thinking about King Kong, but I do. I will say that I wasn't thinking about cartoons when I sat (riveted, I might add) watching the 3 hour Peter Jackson phenomenon this past weekend. I've had to think extensively about what I would write or I would have written it sooner. I had a great fear that I would be so positive about the movie that it would sound trite, but here goes nothing.

I have never (this is not just hyperbole) been so emotionally drawn into a film in all my life. There, I've said it! Don't make fun of me, just read on! This movie is not (dare I repeat myself), is not just some action adventure flick with lots of guns and high-kicks, a grunting evil doer, and a building full of C4. There is no real clear antagonist, as much as we want to pin Jack Black's Carl Dunham down. This film is about relationship. Ann Durrow's (Naomi Watts) relationship with Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody). Ann Durrow's relationship with King Kong. Carl Dunham's relationship with Jack Driscoll. Carl Dunham's relationship with Preston (Colin Hanks). Jimmy's (Jamie Bell) relationship with Hayes (Evan Parke). Each of these relationships go through tramatic changes that deepen friendships and love. This is not to say King Kong is without both action and adventure. The 3 hour film spends the first 40 minutes letting you get to know the characters before throwing the ship against the craggy rocks of Skull Island. There was one point as Ann Durrow is hanging from a breaking ladder from the Empire State building when I lost my stomach. King Kong is as engaging as movies come these days.

Peter Jackson's wide seeping camera shots capture the heart and soul of city and jungle (albeit CGI). Jackson pulled off the Art Deco New York in the 1930s transformation. The choice of shots and angles really pulled out the memory of the original King Kong film while giving just enough of the new to make Jackson's film as original as a remake could ever be. The choice of Jack Black as Carl Denham, while at first may sound like Mickey Rourke as St. Francis of Assisi (Francesco), Black pulls it off with room to spare. Naomi Watts' performance as Ann Durrow redeems her from The Ring 2's perfomance which nearly spoiled I Heart Huckabees for me. Overall, Peter Jackson's King Kong was a terribly fun and will surely be ranked one of the top 5 movies of 2005.

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