King Kong (2005)

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A film crew travel to a remote lost island to make an adventure movie only to find it contains a lost world inhabited by dinosaurs and a huge gorilla-like creature worshipped by the local tribe.

Remakes are invariably a bad idea and remaking a classic doubly so. In fact the only reason I even bothered with this was the fact that Peter Jackson was at the helm and I have to say he did not disappoint. Sticking closely to the original story this felt more like an affectionate and knowing update than anything else, even taking time out to mock some of the more dubious gender and racial politics of the original. As a whole it has elements of Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and even Titanic, Jackson handling all of these ingredients with consummate skill, creating a fantastically entertaining old school matinee style romantic adventure.

The only real bone of contention – aside from the film’s rather unnecessarily long running time – is the fact that Jackson gets far too carried away during what I assume was intended to be the show piece of the film; namely the lost world section. Given the keys to the toy shop, he loses all sense of restraint and subtlety goes flying out the window. It’s clearly not enough to have a herd of brontosaurus. No, it has to be a stampeding herd, chased by raptors off a cliff in the middle of a gun battle….and just one poxy Tyrannosaurus Rex fighting a giant ape?? Hell no! Let’s have three, all fighting at once, falling off a mountainside! This means that the sequences go beyond spectacle and into the realm of the absurd. Still, despite some of the green screening being a little obvious, it’s a great looking film with a vibrant use of colour and the Kong effects still work brilliantly; he feels more like an actual character than a special effect.

I also have to say the unspoken relationship of a girl and her computer generated ape has far more pathos than a hundred rom-coms and as a whole, this is one of those rarest of  beasts; a remake that actually works really well.

7.5/10

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