Empathy for the beast

December 20, 2005|by MATT NEWTON and STEPHANIE SNYDER

"King Kong," directed by Peter Jackson, opened last week in movie theaters across the United States. The movie is the third film version of the story of a giant ape who falls for a woman intended to be a sacrificial victim. The movie stars Jack Black as an adventurous filmmaker, Naomi Watts as an aspiring actress, and Andy Serkis as the man who creates the facial expressions and body language of Kong.

Matt: Peter Jackson's "King Kong" is an epic masterpiece, totaling 3 hours and 7 minutes of pure genius.

Stephanie: It's action packed and tear jerking. The cast not only keeps you interested, but they make you feel like one of the crew during this emotional roller coaster.

Matt: Jack Black's role is particularly interesting - different than what I'm used to from his usually crazy and comedic on-screen persona.

Stephanie: I agree. He plays a greedy filmmaker in the movie and does an excellent job of making you hate the character. You completely forget he's Jack Black, and know him only as Carl Denham.


Matt: It's just the same with the setting of the film; you become lost within that time period and forget all about the modern world. You actually believe it's the 1930s.

Stephanie: Yes, and you even believe everything's real when you arrive at Skull Island, regardless of how fantastic and scary it is. When the inhabitants of the island offer Ann Darrow (played by Naomi Watts) as a sacrifice, I was motionless in my seat, afraid to know what would happen next.

Matt: So was I. There are quite a few scary moments in Jackson's rendition of "Kong," which is a nice treat, because I don't recall being afraid during its predecessors.

Stephanie: Agreed. The scary moments are accompanied by a number of action scenes as well, including several "monster bashes" with T-Rexes that put "Jurassic Park" to shame.

Matt: Too true. And on the subject of monsters, I have to mention the King of Monsters himself, Kong. The computer effects that go into bringing this beast to life are excellent. Actually, Kong appears to be more human than beast at times. You can't help but empathize with whatever emotion Kong is feeling.

Stephanie: Yes, the expressions were done very well. They were performed by Andy Serkis, who plays a smaller role as one of the crew members aboard a seagoing ship in the movie. Serkis also is the actor who played Gollum in Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings."

.Matt: All in all, this film not only does the original "Kong" justice, but surpasses both it and the 1976 remake by far.

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