I wrote this for my long gone column in G-Fan back in the day, and thought it would be fun to revisit. I'll be doing some of these here and there.
KING KONG (2005)
An ode to excess. There’s a good movie in this bloated beast, but Peter Jackson really needs to find out what an editor is for. It’s like he had to top every part of the original movie- it has one t rex, we have three! Instead of one pteranodan we have a swarm of bat things. And the added spider pit sequence proved that removing it from the original was the right idea. The constant video game like motion of the camera was very disturbing as well, and added to the overuse of slow motion really made parts of the movie hard to watch. Every scene with the “monsters” was too long.
There is a lot to like about the movie- the cast is good, even the usually disagreeable Jack Black (though he really needed to be about 20 years older to make the part completely his). The opening third, set in NYC works very well. However, after Ann becomes attached to Kong, she seems to be rather disturbed and in need of some psychiatric care, a strange case of “The Stockholm Syndrome” to be sure. It started to turn into a remake of the previous needless remake from '76.
Unlike the 76 film, this Kong comes off as this spoiled gorilla- and JUST a big ape, not the mythic monster god of Skull Island the original is. He looks more like Mighty Joe Young than King Kong. Not once in the movie is he ever referred to as “King” Kong, and barely referred to as Kong either. The effects are almost all well done, except for the first dinosaurs we see. There are some strange lapses in physics that jar the viewers out of the movie- Kong shaking Ann like a rag doll, snapping her head back and forth. Our eyes tell us she would at least have a broken neck. And this is the least of the physics problems!
All in all, the movie fails because of the many small things it got wrong. A shorter movie would have eliminated them, only to be released in the extended DVD version of the movie (of which there will still surely be). Remember when a movie was self contained, and didn’t need to add extra scenes BACK in to explain a plot point? One can say you have to forget logic in a movie about a giant gorilla, but when it tries so hard to LOOK realistic and then doesn’t, well, this is what you get. People have told me that this is just nitpicking, but when so many “nits” are swarming about, it gets hard to ignore them. It's death by a thousand cuts.
However, it’s slightly better than the 76 remake, and much like that ‘film’ and gino has provided us as fans with many cool things- the King Kong cartoon DVDs, the Toho Kong movies on DVD. So I am thankful Jackson did remake this movie, even though it proved once again that KING KONG did not ever need a remake.