Film review by Colin Fraser


king kong
On Skull Island, a film crew discovers a giant gorilla who goes ape for their leading lady. score

moviereview rates films from
1 (unwatchable) to 5 (unmissable)
Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrian Brody

Peter Jackson

Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyen

New Zealand / USA

Rating / Running Time
M / 187 minutes

Australian Release
December 2005

Official Site

(c) moviereview 2005
ABN 72 775 390 361

Around 35 years ago, a young boy saw an old monster movie on television. The film was King Kong, the boy was Peter Jackson. It was a life changing moment which determined his future – if he couldn’t hunt gorillas, he would make a film about one instead. After commanding a Ring-laden Christmas box-office for three of the last four years, he’s back to wreak more havoc with a five metre gorilla of his own.

Jackson doesn’t stray far from the original 1933 version, reasoning that some stories are better left alone. Armed with a warehouse of digital trickery, he sticks to source and delivers a commanding version of King Kong that is about as good as a monster movies gets. Nor does he waste any time, preferring to spend most of his three hours deftly juggling comedy, emotion and soaring action pieces. Scenes of depression-era New York in which poor Anne Darrow (Naomi Watts) is seduced to work for director Carl Denham (Jack Black) are astonishingly good. And before anyone can scream ‘look out behind you!’, the titular chimp has gone ape and Anne’s got a new best friend; a relationship that climaxes in the iconic, vertigo-inducing battle atop the Empire State Building.

At one point Denham acknowledges that ‘monsters belong in B-movies’, conceding a problem that self-awareness can’t quite hide. Hairy apes, devilish dinosaurs and monstrous bugs, no matter how well executed, are now so common-place that their potential awe is all but extinguished. Alone, they are not enough and create a film that is entertaining but not particularly inspiring. Thus in a world of B-movies, this King Kong earns an B+.