King Kong (2005)

I don’t understand how most things work. Digital music for example. How does a beam of light shining on disk enable recorded sounds to be heard? Back in the days of vinyl records, I didn’t understand how a diamond tip needle rubbing on a vinyl groove could do it either (you could also do it with a ball-point pen. Remember?).

And what about Moving Visual Images? (is that where the word movie came from?) How does an invisible signal from a satellite tell a receiver in my house to project images that move, in color, with sound and millions of shades of color?

King Kong falls into this category. How did they do this? I know, CGI (Computer Generated Images). Ok, but how does the computer do that? That reminds me of a time a neighbor gave us some fish to eat, fresh out of the water, a whole fish. Still wearing it’s skin. How do I turn that into something edible? I called a friend, and avid fisherman, and asked him how do I clean a fish. He said, “I’d fillet it Mike.” No kidding. HOW DO YOU FILLET A FISH?

How do you make a 25 foot gorilla interact with people, fight dinosaurs, battle airplanes while atop the Empire State Building, and make it seem realistic?

I have no idea. But director Peter Jackson does. But this movie isn’t just about special effects. The opening montage of 1933 New York City while Al Jolson sings “I’m Sitting On Top of the World” shows us we’re getting ready to watch a work of art. The detail put into the scenes of city (90,000 separate buildings in these shots) is amazing.

Even more amazing is the fight sequence between Kong and three Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs as he protects Ann (Naomi Watts), while tossing her back and forth from his hands to feet. Forget the CGI, how does one even choreograph that?

Other notable sequences:

40 minutes and 20 seconds into the movie, a scene of Ann dancing with the crew of the ship. It only lasts fifteen seconds, but shows us the bond formed that makes the crew’s risking their lives to save her later more believable.

Ann finds herself between Kong and a T-Rex. Up until that moment she had viewed Kong as a threat. Now, she realizes Kong is her protector. She silently walks backwards away from the dinosaur and under Kong. The look in her and his eyes at this moment is terrific. Terrific because it’s so subtle.

Kong’s death scene as he slowly slides of the edge of the Empire State Building, and falls in slow motion while the remaining bi-planes circle from above, indelibly stamp this movie as art. (Did you not know Kong dies? Oh well, deal with it.)

The one weak link: Jack Black. It’s been reported that Peter Jackson originally wanted George Clooney or Robert De Niro for the Carl Denham part. Too bad either one of them didn’t work out. Sorry Jack, without a guitar, you’re just not believable.

That’s funny. A human actor not believable in a movie with a 25 foot CGI gorilla.

How did they do that?

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4 thoughts on “King Kong (2005)

  1. Great review 🙂

    I actually liked Jack Black in this role. You gotta cut him some slack, how many other goofy comedians could have pulled that off.

    P.S. I always thought “movies” came from “moving pictures”. Like in the olde days they used to call talking pictures “talkies”.

      1. And a limerick:

        I would never have guessed I would see
        Jack Black with a giant monkey
        He had his big chance
        I gave it a glance
        Entertaining I found it to be

        Enjoy the DR hi to all we love there. Be careful!

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