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KING KONG by Peter Jackson

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king kong and ann darrow - naomi watts Megalomanic filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) is determined to film his movie on location – the unexplored Skull Island. On the run from his investors he hires struggling vaudeville starlet Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) as his lead actress in the last minute and practically shanghais his scriptwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), whose scripts Ann adores. On board of the VENTURE the first scenes of Denham’s movie with Ann Darrow and Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler), the male lead of the film, are being shot, and a tender relationship is developing between Ann and Jack Driscoll.
Just when Captain Englehorn is informed by radio that Carl Denham is to be handed over to the authorities, the VENTURE gets stranded at Skull Island’s cragged coast. The film-crew hijacks a boat and starts exploring Skull Island. They discover a gigantic wall and a seemingly abandoned village. But the village is anything but abandoned – the filmmakers are attacked by savages and barely rescued by the ship’s crew. They flee aboard the VENTURE, and just when they get the ship afloat, Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped by the islanders.
A heavily armed rescue party is dispatched to the island, but they are too late – the villagers have offered Ann as a sacrifice to a gigantic gorilla who lives in the jungles outside the wall – Kong! Kong (Andy Serkis) carries Ann through the jungle to a place where the bones of previous victims lie scattered. With a sample of her vaudeville comedy routine she can amuse the giant beast and avoid being torn apart, and after Kong rescues Ann from the predators of Skull Island (T-Rexes and other dinosaurs) and carries her to his resting place, Ann and Kong recognize they are related souls – lost and lonely, both of them.
The ship- and film-crews set out to rescue Ann – many of them die horrible deaths in the deadly jungle, but ultimately they can rescue Ann – mainly because of Driscoll’s dedication – and even anesthetize and capture Kong. Denham wants to take Kong to New York and display him there as the Eighth Wonder of the World for 25 cents a ticket.
Back in New York, Carl bathes in his new fame and presents Kong in chains to the masses. Ann refuses to be part of the show, so Carl introduces a fake Ann Darrow together with fake ‘hero’ Bruce Baxter for the show. Kong is furious not only because he’s been robbed of his freedom, but also because of his separation from Ann, and during the show he breaks free of his chains …

Peter Jackson wanted to do a remake of King Kong since he saw the original 1933 King Kong movie as a kid – he loved this movie so much it became his inspiration to be a director – and after his Lord Of The Rings triumph he had the freedom and money to finally fulfill his dream. And his love of the material shows – KING KONG is a CGI-action-romance extravaganza with a heart. He may love the material even a bit too much – 187 minutes running time feels a tad too much and some scenes would better have been saved for the DVD.
For the first hour, the characters are introduced, for the next hour (or more) a lot of them are killed off by savages, dinosaurs, giant spiders, or huge naked slug-like creatures with enormous teeth – but what the audience really wants to see is Naomi Watts interacting with Kong.
And some monsters, of course – and there are plenty – there’s more dinosaur action going on than in Jurassic Park, most notably the sequence where Kong battles three T-Rex’es single-handedly, protecting Naomi all the while in his other hand.
Danger lurks everywhere on Skull Island – which looks like a gigantic skeleton floating in the mist itself – and escapes are always so tight it needs a big amount of suspension of disbelief to swallow them – snapping teeth, stomping legs or falling rocks are generally avoided by a hair’s breath only, and just a bit less could have been more on Skull Island.
Contrasting to the action, there are the quiet romantic scenes between Naomi and Kong – a beautiful sunset on Skull Island (and then again in New York – already in the face of doom), and the scene on the frozen lake in New York (which will divide the audience into those who get all teary-eyed and those who smell kitsch) the most notable.

Naomi is exquisite and adorable as Ann Darrow – while she does a lot of action, jumping and running, the most important part of her performance is all in her eyes – and likewise excellent is Andy Serkis, who makes Kong a living, breathing creature with a soul, just as he did with Gollum in Lord Of The Rings. Also notably is Jack Black’s impersonation of the fervid Orson Welles-like filmmaker.

Looking deeper than the obvious monster-action-romance aspect, Peter Jackson puts a lot of criticism of showbusiness and the human state into KING KONG. Greed, lack of compassion for fellow humans and for the tormented creature (the chained Kong being used as a mere stage prop for a show in New York), the dishonesty of showbusiness; and disrespect for the life of civilians in war (the gunners in the plane barely hesitate to machine-gun Kong even with Ann next to him – this may or may not be an intended reference to the USA’s current wars).

KING KONG is an experience for everybody who loves dinosaur action, doomed romance, old monster-movies, or Naomi Watts – and who is able to sith through three hours of film!

One Response to “KING KONG by Peter Jackson”

  1. Naomi Watts - hot Australian Actress Says:

    […] Naomi Watts is almost never recognised in public because she looks so different in real life from her movie roles. Even after her starring role in KING KONG Watts insists she can still walk the streets in New York City unnoticed. […]

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