Plot – A greedy film producer assembles a team of moviemakers and sets out for the infamous Skull Island, where they find more than just cannibalistic natives.
Director – Peter Jackson
Released – 2005
With Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson made a name for himself as the director who can successfully turn pieces of high fantasy literature into blockbuster cinema, but it was only when he took on King Kong, that he could eliminate any doubt that he may have been a one-hit-wonder.
When you have a story about a giant gorilla, a tropical island and turn of the century New York, the visual effects become an essential part of making the movie work. They need to be believable and done to properly sell the idea. Luckily the effects on offer here are still of the highest order, matching and sometimes surpassing those seen in LOTR, you’d never guess that this film was over 15 years old from the effects, with only the baby faced actors a giveaway.
Another of Jackson’s skills is finding a way of manipulating the audience’s emotions through not only the dialogue but also the music and the cinematography. No matter how many times you’ve seen the story of Kong, you’ll still laugh, cry and be on the edge of your seat when the film asks you too, this a film full of strong emotions and strong characters.
Each of these characters is backed up with pitch-perfect acting right through the cast, right down to the smallest supporting roles. First and foremost you have Naomi Watts giving exactly the tender and caring performance you’d expect of aspiring actress Ann Darrow the “beauty who killed the beast”. And while Jack Black’s acting career may be spotty at best, here he proves himself to be just what the film needed to make the character of Carl Denham truly believable, toning down his usual manic energy and comedic tendencies, he is able to fully encompass Denham’s passion for filmmaking and the spectacle. Adrien Brody may have been a controversial choice for a leading man, but he manages to win me round and fully embody the persona of reluctant hero Jack Driscoll.
Rounding off the main cast you have Andy Serkis, made famous for his character acting as Gollum in LOTR, here he is once again able to bring life to a CGI creature. He’s utterly convincing the giant gorilla with a surprising amount of humanity, his skill of providing emotion through just body language and facial expressions combined with the effects team have made this version of Kong the most endearing and likeable versions of this famous creature to date, not topped by the version seen in Kong: Skull Island.
Overall, King Kong remains a beautifully shot and wonderfully acted action-adventure that over the course of 3 hours you’ll find yourself getting completely lost in. Just like with Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson’s King Kong is storytelling at its peak. Just remember “It wasn’t the aeroplanes, it was beauty killed the beast” ★★★★★