Monday, December 19, 2005

King Kong

How many times have you come out of a movie feeling.. .. exhausted!? I bet not too many..
"King Kong" is likely to be one of those movies. Make no mistake, this is a movie of monumental proportions... it is a B-I-G movie... in every of the word. Yes, sometimes it does tend to border on the "too much" line... its a bit too long, too far-fetched at times, perhaps too ambitious(?). But the very fact that you're still trying to catch your breath when you come out of the movie speaks volumes of the intensity of the movie.

I really wanted to watch "King Kong". It had become one of those once-a-year movies that you just have to watch.. at any cost. The promos had blown me away.. and to top it all, almost every single review I read (about 25, I think!) went to the extent of labelling it as a modern day classic. I just had to watch it.

With these kind of expectations, I went into Vue cinemas on saturday night. I'm pretty sure that a few hundred others in the hall were carrying similar expectations. And this is why the initial portions of the movie gain so much importance. Almost an entire hour is spent building up the characters, and more importantly, setting up the stage for the big guy to arrive. It is done so masterfully, that you actually relish the first hour with eagerness rather than waiting with annoyance. The very first sequence, when the depression era is depicted with a classic song playing in the background, is pure class.
Jackson has done wonderfully well to keep an eerie feeling intact whilst he moves the story forward in its own pace into the skull island.

The hour that follows gives you some serious action. You've got dinasour stampedes(!!), flying dinasours, T-Rexes, human sized insects, and what not... (how did the natives survive in that island?). Kong does arrive with a bang, but its the scene when the first T-Rex is shown which really sends a shiver down the spine.

There is a 15 minute long sequence involving a fight between Kong and three T-Rexes(!) that is so incredible, that had it been a cinema in Bangalore, I'm sure the hoots and whistles at the end of it would've been deafening. ( I can still remember the 2 minute long whistle fest at Urvashi cinema at the end of the Neo-vs-100-Agent-Smiths fight in Matrix Reloaded!)
Special effects are flawless, breathtaking.. a perfect example of how Hollywood just keeps raising the bar every time. But the moments that actually make the movie are those little ones in between the action.. like the one where Ann realises that Kong actually enjoys her antics and performs some comedy in front of him for the first time... the one where they enjoy the sunset for the first time... the delightful little sequence on a frozen water pond in central park in NY, and of course the climax, which is tragically memorable.

Naomi Watts plays Ann Darrow, and the movie is essentially about Ann and the special bond that she shares with the mighty ape. And Naomi Watts is every bit of Ann Darrow that you want her to be. She somehow fits the "Beauty" as in "Beauty and the beast". She can not only scream with the best of'em... she can emote with the best too... as she has proved earlier in "The Ring" movies and "21 Grams". Jack Black and Adrian Brody also fit their roles quite well. Black, in particular, delivers superbly in a role that many thought he was miscast. Brody is typically unassuming and also manages to pull off a hero-isque shade of his character that was required for the middle part of the movie.
Andy Serkis must be the best CGI-actor in the world.. or is he the only one? His Kong is just terrific and shares a great non-erotic, sometimes-adorable-sometimes-possessive chemistry with Naomi Watts. This is what drives the movie.

Although the end is tragic, the last 15 minutes of the movie is pure magic.(I didn't intend that rhyme!) The world war fighter planes attacking the ape atop the Empire state building and a desperate Ann trying in vain to do something about it leaves a lasting impression. It takes some directorial skill to portray a sequence like this (which is mainly action) and yet show the different emotions that the ape goes through at those moments(confusion, anger, hurt, momentary bliss) successfully to the audience.

Peter Jackson has pulled out all stops to make this reportedly $220 Million movie... but most importantly he's given it the soul it required.. in the most subtle as well as in more obvious ways.


Christopher said...

Hey this is Chris from North Carolina on the other side of the pond and I just wanted to say AWESOME review!! If you can go see it a second time: I did and it seemed even better than the first. I wrote a review too, took me five days to finish it 'cuz King Kong is so much to try and comprehend... feel free to check it out if ya like :-) Anyway, just wanted to say I loved reading your two bits on it.

Anonymous said...

Great review dude ...
Now having read that I am just waiting for the weekend to grab a seat in one of those multiplexes..

Now having said that... i sure hope its not one of your usual EXAGERATIONS!! ..
Now thats a clue.. yeah I know you well!!

Guess who this is :P