Big name, big film, three hours and twenty minutes to be precise phew! just completed the extended version of this remake (Jackson likes em big huh) and I must admit I did enjoy the film from start to finish. The original of course is still the real king if we are honest about it but Jackson certainly goes for broke here and does come up trumps with a rollicking boys own adventure full of everything you could need for excitement.
This new version reminded me of many classic old monster flicks like 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' and 'Clash of the Titans' rolled into one, everything from swamps beasties to giant bats to giant leech things manage to devour the hapless seafarers on their adventure into the unknown. Of course cgi is in extremely heavy use for this film with many creatures looking really good yet some maybe not so, sequences involving the cast amongst dinosaurs do tend to come off rather badly and obvious considering it was only made in 05, not just the creatures though as allot of vistas and scenes with cast in the foreground did look very fake from time to time with clear use of bluescreen.
Not quite up to the standards of Spielberg and his 'Jurassic Park' or recent monster flicks but this is easily forgiven as the film is such a fun ride. Starting in New York, with some of the best cgi of the film for sure, the film is grand in presentation and alive with colour and activity as 30's NY is amazingly reconstructed perfectly. We meet the cast and slowly get to known them alittle bit at a time which is unusual for a blockbuster frankly plus this makes up much of the three hour film time. To be honest all cast members are just about fine for their roles accept Jack Black who for me just isn't the right kind of actor for this type of film, he looked the part but came across as restrained and uncomfortable as he's more used to basically being unpredictably insane. Brody also didn't really impress me here with his odd mop of straightened hair and dull awkward performance, hardly a leading man in looks and not really overly effective as an action man either, bad choice in my opinion where as the original choice of Clooney I think would have fitted the bill and era much better.
The effects of course are the main talking point of the film with a mammoth amount of cgi being used and for the most part its all good. New York is a gem when viewed on Bluray, the sea sequences are decent but atad shaky here and there much like the dinosaurs but of course the main attraction is Kong himself who looks spot on and impressively fierce. Must admit I did keep thinking of 'Mighty Joe Young' whenever I saw him haha but Kong does look the business for sure, sequences where he fights the V Rex's are simply brilliant stuff and do the original proud by also managing to recreate move for move most of the old film.
Easily the best monster mash moments involve Kong fighting and roaring, motion capture is finely tuned to make Kong appear as a real gorilla should, his hair is dark and straight, hands and body move as they should in reality, his huffing and puffing is wonderfully done and most impressively they manage to give Kong a soul, a sparkle from within that makes you care for him, you want him to survive with his damsel and seeing him play with 'Darrow' as they build their friendship you really begin to love the big guy, more than you think you could ever do with a computer generated character.
The finale as we know would be impressive and it is right from the get go, Kong atop the Empire State Building is an awesome sight, it just looks damn good, the cam angles used as the bi-planes swarm around and swoop past make you feel the speed and do cause tension combining the height involved and the ever knowing outcome. I must admit I was sweating a touch as Kong leaps from his tiny perch so high up, at the same time you so want him to live and not get killed, the final moment with Darrow in the end is poignant as the score swells and what we all know happens, many kudos to the team for bringing so much to life in these moments.
There really is so much you could say about this film as so much happens and with tonnes of visual flare and panache. Its not totally perfect of course but to be honest the little problems tend to add to the charm of the film. The always handy monster chow that never seems to deplete....in the form of the scurvy sailors haha there's always one or two sailors around to be eaten by the latest monster to rear its head or if not eaten then get hurled against a huge rock, crushed underfoot or thrown into a deep ravine haha just like the films of old. As said the sequences with cast in the same shot as cgi elements can be dodgy, the Brontosaurus rampage is particularly iffy looking if truth be told.
Must add that some of the action sequences do get abit beyond the realms of acceptance if that's possible hehe the way Kong fights the Dino's and hurls Darrow around in his hands and feet is abit too crazy really, surely she would have been killed of a heart attack or broken limbs by the end of it hehe.
Could nitpick but I won't as the film is a highly enjoyable Indy, Harryhausen safari type romp with everything you could need for pure 100% escapism and adventure, the only thing missing is an erupting volcano.