“King Kong” proves to be an enduring part of cinema history and legacy. The franchise, even after more than eight decades, still continues to inspire and live up to the legacy of high-end escapist cinema.
For this Peter Jackson screen adaptation of the monstrous adventure flick, it exemplifies a sort of personal expressiveness and cinematic mysticism in its storytelling. It maintains itself among the ranks of the world’s charming adventure fantasy and monster films.
Although the story’s logic is ludicrous, this motion picture classic creates a reality of its own with the director’s treatment. This time, the new Kong, along with the ferocious dinosaurs and other monstrous creatures in an unexplored, massive jungle in Asia, turns out as a decent digital creation, making this “King Kong” reboot a visual wonder for its time.
Jackson provides fine details for visual flair. His team, which is the same group behind his opus franchise “Lord of the Rings” (LOTR), makes this picture a new beastly adventure that decently grips and thrills amidst the story’s weak parts.
Spearheaded by the overpassionate director/producer Carl Denham (Jack Black), a film crew journeys an unexplored island to investigate the legend of a giant ape named Kong and make a masterpiece out of it upon returning to New York. As they stumble upon an unknown tribe, more dangers start pouring in as they search for Kong’s captive, their lead actress, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts). Their quest to save Ann puts them up against the habitat of massive creatures from prehistoric times — monsters that have been protected and hidden from civilization for millions of years.
The elaborate production design, well-lit sets, miniatures, and backgrounds all breathe new life to the tale. From New York to Skull Island and back to New York, the visual aesthetics aptly features a combination of the oldie and the glossy looks. It maintains the feel of a period film while also projecting such a technically impressive presentation.
Jackson knows how to play with emotions and not just merely maintaining the high-end special effects in his works. This is a fine trait that a number of contemporary filmmakers tend to overlook, especially when becoming too engrossed in making the project look good. In this picture, the juxtaposition of shots consistently capture the fitting facial expressions of the characters.
Black plays his role more like a caricature of a real-life movie producer. Adrian Brody gives depth to his screenwriter character who falls in love with Ann Darrow. As for Watts, she shows her versatility as an actress in such a big iconic role that is also known for that historical “Ann Darrow scream.” Andy Serkis continues to leave a mark in acting while wearing sensors all over his face and body. From his Gollum/Smeagel role to now being the new Kong, he renders such terrific performances that genuinely give heart to his characters.
At some point, the plausibility of the touching relationship between Ann Darrow and Kong gets a bit strained. But overall, their heart-filled interactions still offer enough touching moments. Amidst some minor violent fight and chase scenes — mostly with the monstrous creatures of the jungle — the narrative promotes some good moral lessons about human-animal relationships.
Made with painstaking care and detail, the beauty of “King Kong” is that there is more to it than just capitalizing on an oversized gorilla story. It has notable special effects. It is well-casted. And most of all, it is a beastly adventure with a heart.