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King Kong

The eighth wonder of the world 

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from King Kong

Director: Peter Jackson

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis

King Kong is an epic proposition: a remake of a 70-year-old classic, by a multi-award winning director who has said that this is the film he has always wanted to make. Amazingly, it manages to live up to all expectations, providing both a blockbusting action-adventure, and an intelligent and detailed re-imagining of the plot. The story follows director Carl Denham (Jack Black) and writer Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) in 1930s New York. Planning to film on a mysterious island he knows of through an old map, Denham persuades aspiring actress Ann Darrow (Watts) to be his leading lady and the crew set off. Once on the island they encounter strange natives, bizarre creatures and the giant ape Kong who takes more than a liking to Ann.

The use of CGI in films is always a contentious issue, and often works against a film’s realism, taking the viewer out of the world that the rest of the film has created. Not so here. Kong himself is almost flawless, a magnificent demonstration of technology creating a character that can carry real emotion with every facial movement or grunt. Kong is very clearly a gorilla - his movements are very realistic - and yet he interacts with the human characters on an emotional level brilliantly as well. While the rest of the computer-generated effects don't quite live up to the complexity of Kong himself, they are well produced, and only seem jarring in a couple of places.

Watts does a great job as the actress who comes to befriend the ape, taking the role far beyond the 'helpless, screaming woman' that it is often parodied as. The scenes between her and Kong are handled very well and the relationship between the two is a lot deeper than in the original film. At three hours, the film may seem a daunting proposition, but the variety of environments and inventive storytelling mean moments of screen-time are rarely wasted. If you allow yourself to be submerged in the beautifully created worlds on screen, the length of the story takes a back seat to its completeness, so get comfortable and enjoy a great modern epic.

Patrick Telford

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Screenings of this film:

2005/2006 Summer Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Summer Term (35mm)