Posted to Movies at 06:09 PM on Dec 20, 2005
2005. Universal Pictures. Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, and Kyle Chandler
Long ago, when the trailer for King Kong first hit the internet, I pledged never to see it and began calling it "The Fellowship of the Monkey". It looked to much like theLord of the Rings movies, I said, and while I liked the those just fine, I really wasn't keen on seeing a fourth one in the guise of a cinematic classic.
But it started getting amazingly positive reviews when it debuted last week. I became very curious. Ryan and I left the kids with my mother-in-law and saw it. We don't see movies in theaters much anymore, so my moviegoing standards have become quite high. I need stuff blowing up. I need butt-kicking. I need Oscar bait.
In sheer mass, King Kong is a bargain. It's over three hours long and is beginning-to-end action. I can't imagine anyone walking out of it bored. There's just way too much going on.
Nearly everyone is perfectly cast. The moment Kyle Chandler appeared as vain, dumb movie star Bruce Baxter, I could only pine for the presence of Bruce Campbell (of the Evil Dead movies). Watts is radiant and Brody nails the nerdy-yet-smoldering-quiet-guy thing.
I really could have done without the much-discussed bug sequence. It's way, way over the top and disturbing in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time. There was apparently a bug sequence shot for the original 1933 classic but it was scrapped.
Jackson does stamp his signature style on the film. There are parts that will remind viewers of the Lord of the Rings films. Most of Kong was filmed in New Zealand, so comparisons are inevitable, but Jackson does a reasonably good job recreating New York City.
I agree that the bug sequence was disturbing. I looked over at my 10, 8 and 6-year-olds and even though I protect them from watching as much and as mature stuff as many families I know, they weren't phased. Made me think, "What is this world coming to, I woulda had nightmares if I'd seen this as a kid!"
Anyway, I liked the movie but thought kept expecting Jack Black to say something silly or crazy or funny. I can't complain about his acting in King Kong, but I've seen him so often (and so brilliantly play goofy charming cool regular guys, that I had a hard time seeing him in this straight role).
I just watched "High Fidelity with John Cusak and didn't even know Jack Black was gonna be in it. He was brilliant, crazy and all those things I mention above. He almost stole the movie. He "Rocks". School of Rock is one of my kids' fave films, and I approve completely!
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