All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Friday, 23 December 2005

Movie Review: King Kong

Let's start by taking the assumption that this is the first remake of one of the greatest films ever made. I know that there was the other version back in 1976, but I think we'll all do better to try and pretend it doesn't exist - or never did.

So here, in all it's glory is a full blooded remake of the 1933 Classic - but how does it fare?

Kong '05 is in some ways absolutely breathtaking. The special effects are second to none and the relationship between the Beast and his Beauty is just as touching as it was 72 years ago. The scenes with the dinosaurs and the creepy crawlies in particular, send shivers down your spine. The action scenes are, in short, amazing. I was very much reminded of the Indiana Jones movies.

This is a long film (over three hours) but you don't feel it, which is surely a good sign. The acting is Ok, although Kong definitely steals the honours with his bravado performance. It's a shame that he doesn't qualify for the best Male Gorilla Oscar, because I think he'd be a very strong contender and probable winner.

My main gripe with the movie is the under-developed role played by Naomi Watts. In my mind, her character just doesn't make any sense. One minute she's the quivering damsel in distress, caught in Kong's clutches, whilst within an instant, she becomes a clown, trying to please Kong. This tactic might have made sense in the screenplay, but in the film itself, her acting in the "comic" scenes comes over as clumsy and out of place. For example, in one scene, Kong is sitting there looking at an incredible sunset awed by the beauty of what he's witnessing, whilst there she is - trying to make him smile by performing a juggling act. Am I missing something here?

The final scene on top of the Empire State Building lives up to expectations and I for one, felt quite dizzy as those bi-planes made towards our hapless and quite vulnerable hero (I'm talking about the Gorilla, not Naomi the juggler).

The operatic finale works well and this movie definitely marks its place as the definitive remake of King Kong. However, despite the extra character and story layering as well as the cliff-hanging action scenes, the original still retains it's crown of glory. It may be over 70 years old, creaky and made in black and white but something special was created back in them thar days that could never be repeated or topped.

Fay Wray needn't be turning in her grave right now and Willis O'Brian, who created the original monster is still up there on top of the mountain. This is a good movie, worth seeing in the cinema - just don't go expecting it to change movie history, in the same way as it predecessor.

Recommended, but beware of some pretty gross bug scenes!

The Teacher's Rating

4 (out of 5)

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