Opening 15 Dec 2005
Writing credits: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Merian C. Cooper, Edgar Wallace
Principal actors: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks
The ape is back and more appealing than ever. Peter Jackson’s film does the impossible. It makes the love story between a huge ape and a lovely woman believable at a gut level. There are more touchingly romantic scenes between Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) and the agile King Kong than between her official love interest, the playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody). How can a kiss aboard a tramp steamer compare with ice sliding with KK in Central Park or making faces atop the Empire State Building? What greater love than that of someone, even an ape, willing to die for you? As Carl Denham, Jack Black is excellent as the obsessed film director, albeit one whom circumstances force to trade art for schlock and commercial success.
The story has lost none of the allure of the tried and true tale of an assorted bunch of seekers on a voyage into the fog despite the unnecessary references to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and some cliché characters like the noble and erudite first mate and the alcoholic and gay cook. Much of the second hour, due to the amount of footage dedicated to raptors, dinosaurs, and other creeping evils terrorizing our crew, adds nothing. The story of a filmmaker on a crusade for art, an unknown actress hoping for a break and the last of a dying breed is appealing enough. Giant worms and scorpions don’t add anything to the story and detract from the narrative. See the film but keep your eyes closed for the gooey, icky bug scenes. (Rita Pearson Schwandt)