King Kong

Watched Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. I hadn’t seen the original, so the story was new to me. The movie is set in Depression era USA. Irked by his producers, Carl Denham, a filmmaker sets off to a secret island to make a movie. All he needs is a heroine, he convinces Ann Darrow who he meets on the street to take this role. They leave in a hurry with the steamer crew assuming they’re headed Far East to Singapore. Ann’s favorite playwright Driscoll is also on the ship. They’re attracted to each other and start to fall in love. Carl convinces the ship’s captain to head over to Skull Island, the secret place whose map he has possession of. The ship crashes into the rocks hidden by fog on the island. They discover that the island is filled with crazy natives and has a humongous wall surrounding it. The tribals steal away Ann and leave her as a sacrifice to the island’s beast.

Kong, a prehistoric 25 foot gorilla is the partaker of this sacrifice and he takes away Ann into the jungle just as the ship’s crew try to rescue her. The film-makers and the crew decide to scour the jungle for her. Meanwhile, Kong saves Ann from a group of carnivorous dinosaurs in a vicious battle. Kong is a lonely ape, the last of his species and starts to take a liking to Ann. She is also thankful for his help and they share a beautiful sunset on a high cliff on the island. That night, Driscoll saves her and is pursued by a very angry Kong. In the end, the ape is captured using chloroform. With his Skull Island footage lost, Carl sees the captured Kong as a chance to redeem his career. He takes him to NYC and shows him as a mega attraction in the city. In the first night’s show, Kong comes to his senses, breaks free of his chains and goes out on a rampage. The army is called in to kill him. Ann finds him and he flees with her to the top of the Empire State Building. As dawn breaks over NYC, Kong is attacked by biplanes. He fights the biplanes but is badly injured. He bids Ann an emotional farewell as he falls to his death below.

King Kong is almost 3 hours long. I was dreading the length, but it turned out to be surprisingly interesting. There are 3 different streams going on in the movie — relationship between Kong and Ann, love of Driscoll and Ann and finally Carl’s unstoppable passion to make his film at any cost. The Skull Island scenes remind me of LOTR. The prehistoric beasts of the island are done very well. The scenes between Kong and Ann are actually emotional (surprise!). The climactic scenes of a wounded Kong and Ann seeing the Sun rise over the skyscrapers of NYC is fantastic. Jack Black (as filmmaker Carl) and Adrien Brody (as Driscoll) are good. I loved the Eastman-like color that pervades the movie. This is easily one of the better movies of 2005. I rate it as better than Peter Jackson’s 3rd LOTR movie.

“And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty.
And it stayed its hand from killing.
And from that day, it was as one dead.”

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