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  Category: Articles » Arts & Entertainment » Arts » Article

King Kong Goes Ape On DVD

By Richard Green

Unafraid of taking on a challenge, Peter Jackson has come a long way from his low-budget filmmaker origins with such cult classics as "Bad Taste" and "Braindead", through to the phenomenon that was the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. When his latest offering was announced, many thought that he might have bitten off more than he could chew, with the remake of the seminal 1933 classic black and white film by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, King Kong. When it was discovered that Jackson's version was to be over twice the length of the original film on which it was based, there was some trepidation concerning how the finished production would turn out.

This new version of King Kong is a sprawling, epic which is as large as the eponymous gorilla himself. There are few filmmakers who can conjure up a movie on this scale, and make it succeed, but while the length proved slightly excessive for some moviegoers, it appears perfectly suited to DVD.

Maintaining the simple plot line of a film crew travelling to the mysterious Skull Island, where they first encounter and then capture Kong, before returning to Depression-era New York City with the shackled titan and the inevitable chaos that ensues.

For Kong, Jackson pushed current special effects and computer graphics technology to the limit and fully drew upon all the skills of Andy Serkis' team of animators, who previously worked alongside Jackson on Lord of the Rings, to render Gollum. The resulting action sequences, especially the tense ten minute death match against three vicious and powerful dinosaurs, and the reintroduced giant spider scene which was cut from the original 1933 film following the first test screening, and was subsequently lost.

The purpose of Jackson's directing in recent years has been to bring back the sense of occasion and grand spectacle of cinema, which requires more than just a special effects extravaganza. King Kong, like Lord of the Rings, has had movie fans nervous with anticipation over whether the final production will live up to the hype and do the subject matter justice.

While the three-hour length may prove daunting to some, it is an effort that will be more than repaid in the end.

"A standout scene has Anne charming Kong with circus tricks, we watch him as you might do in a zoo, delighted at his reactions. Their relationship, complete with his abrupt mood swings and strange animal morality is the cornerstone of the film and key to its success." Moviemail film reviews.

The first two sections provide the audience with a fantastic lead up to the main event that everyone has been anxiously waiting for, the moment when Kong breaks free from his shackles and stampedes on his lovelorn trek through 1930s New York, before climbing up the Empire State Building with his modern day Faye Wray. It is this single image that lead to the original film gaining its iconic status and it is on this section of the new film that the harshest judgements would be made by critics and fans of the original. Thankfully it is in this final third of the movie where Jackson really delivers, making it impossible to not be carried away by the sheer beauty and poignant tragic sadness of the event.

A project like this could have been ruined if the directing was not perfect, or the effects did not match the grand scale required, but with such a splendidly realised incarnation of Kong, which looks and behaves as convincingly as this, and with a tragic ending that is at least as heartbreaking as in the original, it is impossible to not feel for the tragic oversized beast who ended up on the wrong side of love.

Useful resources:
Moviemail film reviews
About the Author
Richard lives in Edinburgh, occasionally writing for the personal finance blog - Cashzilla, and listens to music no one else likes.

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