Because Carlton went with friends to see this movie in the theater, it never made it onto our Netflix queue and I never saw it. By happy accident, it was playing on HBO and we caught all but the opening 10 minutes.
I’ve heard complaints that the beast isn’t even seen until the movie’s second hour. I had no such complaint. The first hour was well crafted and extremely interesting on its own. I liked the revelation of the motivation that led each person to go aboard a less-than-luxurious vessel in search of adventure, fame, or just a paycheck. Each character’s story was well told by the actor. Jack Black surprised me with his semi-serious role. He was the weakest acting-wise; he was having trouble not mugging for laughs on every take.
I was not convinced that Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) and Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) could be as in love as they claimed after a few days on a boat. Honestly, true attachment takes much longer, and most movies suffer from this malady. Heck, most people suffer from this malady…but I digress.
Once on the island with Kong discovered, the pace is very quick. There was one scene- the brontosaurus run- that was about a minute too long and totally implausible because everyone would have been trampled. In addition, there were a few spots where it was very obvious that actors were green-screening. Another scene- shooting insects off of people with a tommy gun- was impossible, even in fantasy movie terms. Nobody can sharpshoot that well with a tommy gun. And wouldn’t poor Miss Darrow have had a broken neck (or at least whiplash) from Kong holding her while fighting other creatures?
Imperfections aside, I was very impressed by the film. Peter Jackson produces some heart-pounding action-adventure, and does not fail to do so here. I was truly engaged with all of the characters. Kong was not a CGI terror, he was as multi-faceted as other characters; difficult to do without even speaking.
The scenes with Ann Darrow and Kong could have been intolerably boring. Instead, Watts and Serkis (and the CGI staff) deliver emotion-packed scenes that rivaled the spoken dialogue. In the dénouement, I was emotionally involved with both characters. Though I knew the ending, I was hoping that somehow it would be different.
The message I chose to pull from the movie is man’s inhumanity to animals. Kong was viewed as a commodity by Denham and everyone else. The message is as relevant now as it was when the first King Kong movie was filmed. Animals are not human. But they don’t deserve to suffer for our gain.