(Manufacturer # MHV61107690BR )
One of the greatest adventure stories in Hollywood history gets a new interpretation in this action drama from Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson. In the early 1930s, Carl Denham (Jack Black) is a daring filmmaker and adventurer who has gained a reputation for his pictures documenting wildlife in remote and dangerous jungle lands; despite the objections of his backers, Denham plans to film his next project aboard an ocean vessel en route to Skull Island, an uncharted island he discovered on a rare map. Correctly assuming his cast and crew would be wary of such a journey, Denham has told them they're traveling to Singapore, but before they set sail, his leading lady drops out of the project. Needing a beautiful actress willing to take a risk, Denham finds Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), a beautiful but down-on-her-luck vaudeville performer, and offers her the role; cautious but eager to work, Darrow takes the role, and onboard the ship she strikes up a romance with Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), a respected playwright hired by Denham to write the script for his latest epic.
When Denham and company arrive on Skull Island, the natives react with savage violence, but they happen to be the least of their worries. Skull Island is a sanctuary for prehistoric life, and lording it over the dinosaurs and other giant beasts is Kong, a 25-foot-tall gorilla who can outfight any creature on Earth. The natives kidnap Darrow, giving her to Kong as an offering to appease the giant beast; Denham and his men set out to find her, with Driscoll bravely determined to save the woman he loves. Eventually, Driscoll finds Darrow and Denham outwits Kong, intending to take the giant ape back to New York for display. But Kong has bonded with Darrow, and his attraction to her proves to be his undoing. Andy Serkis, who provided the body movements for Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings pictures, performed similar duties on King Kong, studying gorillas so he could mimic their actions, which were then used as the basis for the special-effects crew's digital animation of the great ape. ~ Mark Deming, RoviMovie TypeMovie Level Themes
Monkeys, Woman In Jeopardy, Lost Worlds, FilmmakingMovie Level Tones
Ominous, Rousing, Bittersweet, Fanciful, Sweeping, Atmospheric
- Includes both theatrical and extended versions of the film
- Extended feature commentary with director/co-writer Peter Jackson and co-writer/co-producer Philippa Boyens
- Blu-ray exclusive - U-Control
- Picture in picture: extended version only
- The Art Galleries:
- extrended version only
- BD Live
Peter Jackson's King Kong is a spectacle of big-budget adventurism that indulges in flashy childhood monster-movie fetishes while upping the original's sentimental quotient to new grandiose levels. Filled with furious action and exotic locales, the film gives Kong a much broader canvas to wreak havoc upon in this retooled version of the famed story. The big screen's largest primate has also been given more time to do so, with a three-hour-plus running time weighing heavily on the audience's shoulders as each act is expanded to mixed results. Needless backstories take center stage in the beginning, just as the middle tends to blur into one long chase sequence that is downright excessive in its scale and endless barrage of thrills. Viewers might find themselves caught up in the breathless imagery, but one senses that Jackson isn't flexing his storyteller muscles as much as he's fulfilling his own boyhood dreams of the prehistoric rock 'em, sock 'em material. In that way, the director momentarily ceases to involve his audience in the drama, opting instead to deliver fast-paced action with multiple icky, gooey, ferocious creatures filling the screen to dizzying degrees.
Ironically, the picture's strongest moments are its quietest, as Kong and Naomi Watts build a sincere and touching bond that goes far beyond the creepy unrequited love of the duo in the 1933 original. It's this relationship that fuels the bravura third-act opening with a lavish and witty recreation of the villagers from the original, as dancers cavort Broadway-style in front of the broken and battered giant ape. What follows is a miraculous recreation of one of the most famous scenes in movie history that is as heartbreaking an experience as any. Time will tell how the film will be viewed years down the road, but one thing is for sure -- this isn't the King Kong that Peter Jackson would have made before Lord of the Rings (which was originally the plan). The film might benefit from the sensitivity gleaned from Tolkien's trilogy, but on the flip side of Hollywood's cursed coin, his unlimited power and success no doubt bloated what was once a slim tale of beauty and the beast and turned it into a personal journey of obsessive boyhood dreams come true, not unlike the film's monomaniacal filmmaker Carl Denham. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
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