Saturday, February 04, 2006

King Kong (2005)



Dir. Peter Jackson
Writ. Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, and Peter Jackson; from the Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace story
w/ Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black, Andy Serkis


After having tackled Tolkien's landmark trilogy with such incredible thoroughness, it should be little surprise even to non-fans of the gnomish Kiwi that King Kong receives no less respect in this treatment. By expanding upon the story and fleshing out the three main characters, new dimensions are added to the original tale of the raging, hopelessly misunderstood beast who gets exported from his natural habitat and reinstalled in the Big Apple. Jackson doesn't flinch from showing New York the way it really is, a place where starving people fend for themselves in Hell's Kitchen and actors and other Vaudevillian types just try to get by from job to job. An old man pulling a half-eaten apple from a city trash can and eating it is precisely the kind of element that is neglected in the movies of the Depression era, and for good reason. It would have struck too close to home for so many that suicides, already at a high rate, may have escalated had people been forced to face their poverty rather than escape into a picture show. At any rate, it would've been hard to profit by such.

This is just the dichotomy that sculpts the trio comprised of Carl Denham, a man in need of money and support to finish his movie; Jack Driscoll, the writer; and Ann Darrow, the actress. Essentially, they're three independent filmmakers struggling to either secure the next meal, the next quiet moment for writing, or the next shooting location, which elevates each of them above the gray depression of the city and makes them heroes, whether they realize it or not. That's the epitome of the human side of Peter Jackson's Kong, which is why the mere fact that the titular star must stop thinking of Ann Darrow as food is so significant. The humans involved are able to dream of loftier things than the next meal, and pursue those goals, but what happens after that? Carl Denham and Jack Driscoll are still movie producer and writer, and they keep existing and working as such. It's Kong who evolves. He either falls in love so deeply with this one connection that he has through Darrow or is in fact so moved by her beauty that to mar it or allow her to be marred in any way is simply not an option. [1]

There are so many genuinely tense and frightening moments, so much suspense, that the story, although completely fantastic and overdramaticized by ounces if not pounds, is completely believeable. If anything tangential came to mind, it was that Jackson had put his "orc look" to good use for some of the more unwholesome-looking natives' makeup. [2] But it's the moments between Kong and Darrow that stand out as the best and the brightest. There's no substitute for quiet companionship, even when there is a huge language barrier, and Jackson makes the most of their simple understanding. It's often more exhilarating when they're just sitting together than when he's swinging from vine to vine and taking on three tyrannosauruses at once, all the while doing what he can to help Darrow stay alive.

Kong's a lonely beast, to be sure, but he has his pride. He doesn't force his beautiful co-star into being his sidekick, but lets her come to him on her own, thus yielding my favorite bit: when he takes off into a run and nonchalantly picks her up and puts her on his shoulder. That big lug.


[1] I think there's a joke in there somewhere about how you can take the ape out of the jungle, but not the jungle out of the ape.

[2] I also checked the clock on my phone a couple of times. If the theatre hadn't had so many kids in it being noisy, though, I have to question whether or not I would have done this.

Labels: ,

1 Comments:

Anonymous G.R. said...

Trivia:Considering the film's running time, it could have possibly been longer. According to the book The Making of King Kong, there was a scene written and filmed where Denham, Driscoll and the Venture crew build rafts to cross the swamp, only to be attacked by an aquatic creature (a "Piranhadon"). This scene ended up being included in the extended edition of the film. There was also mention of a scene where Lumpy the cook shoots a large flightless bird. On April Fools Day 2005, Peter Jackson posted an elaborate practical joke, which he posted on a web diary. He "revealed" that they were already starting production on "King Kong: Son Of Kong" and "King Kong: Into the Wolf's Lair". Both films, supposedly to be released in 2006, contained the principal characters riding Son of Kong, strapping machine guns to his back and fighting Hitler's genetically mutated creatures. The film was going to be produced under the banner of "Big Primate Productions".
On April Fools Day 2005, Peter Jackson posted an elaborate practical joke, which he posted on a web diary. He "revealed" that they were already starting production on "King Kong: Son Of Kong" and "King Kong: Into the Wolf's Lair". Both films, supposedly to be released in 2006, contained the principal characters riding Son of Kong, strapping machine guns to his back and fighting Hitler's genetically mutated creatures. The film was going to be produced under the banner of "Big Primate Productions".
On April Fools Day 2005, Peter Jackson posted an elaborate practical joke, which he posted on a web diary. He "revealed" that they were already starting production on "King Kong: Son Of Kong" and "King Kong: Into the Wolf's Lair". Both films, supposedly to be released in 2006, contained the principal characters riding Son of Kong, strapping machine guns to his back and fighting Hitler's genetically mutated creatures. The film was going to be produced under the banner of "Big Primate Productions".
On April Fools Day 2005, Peter Jackson posted an elaborate practical joke, which he posted on a web diary. He "revealed" that they were already starting production on "King Kong: Son Of Kong" and "King Kong: Into the Wolf's Lair". Both films, supposedly to be released in 2006, contained the principal characters riding Son of Kong, strapping machine guns to his back and fighting Hitler's genetically mutated creatures. The film was going to be produced under the banner of "Big Primate Productions".
Buy Discount DVD Movies, Cheap DVDs, Buy DVDs Online

March 25, 2010 1:34 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]