For a change, the seating at Skyline is by the number on the ticket, ‘cause the turnout is in droves. And why does an Urdu- and Telugu-speaking community flock to a Hollywood movie? That’s ‘cause this King Kong speaks the universal language – of emotions and gestures – in its most primordial and boiled-down form.
Kong plays a ragingly territorial and tempestuous lover, a possessive courter who beats his chest when provoked, and a whimsical and moody …beast. Does it matter that he is a beast? Contrariwise, it just makes it easier to project the most extreme of caprices on him. In one way, King Kong is a catharsis.
Meanwhile, the night within the cinema hall swallows you, as the only thing that remain are the magnificent CGI effects and the brilliant screenplay of King Kong. It’s three hours of blissful abandon – knee-slapping comedy, and copious Cyclopean creatures that overpower your mind both by their size and their grisliness, and create an exquisite crucible of experiences that lock you in comfortably. For 3 hours, you really don’t want to leave. Like some exotic ball, it carries on, and you wait ‘cause what lies ahead always seems worth waiting for.
Staying true to the 1933 original, this blockbuster brings back Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), an unemployed stage artist and a conventional beauty with golden curls and blue eyes. She is picked up starving by an opportunistic movie producer Carl Denham (Jack Black), for a lead role in a movie to be shot on Skull Island, a mythical, undiscovered island that he wants to be the first to expose to mankind. Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) is the scriptwriter, typing away in the ramshackle hold of the ship S S Venture that is supposed to otherwise hold captive animals that it transports.
The first half of the movie is clean of Kong, but you are thankful because it is so humorous. Denham, Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) and others fit into their parts in a way they would, only if they have brought something novel of their own. In other words, they complete the characters with their own peculiarities.
Jack Black with his near reptilian eyes, cold yet shrewd, calculating yet frigid, goes about pushing everybody along his way. At the same time, there is the pudgy look, out to cut a comic effect on the whole. The affair between Ann and Driscoll that blossoms hurriedly is gently piquing and full of awkward sweetness. And natives on the Skull Island? Well, they are chilling and monstrous, yet the escape of the crew forces in some lighter moments. Like any epic worth its name, King Kong has equal parts of everything – horror, fear, love, humor and other emotions yet unnamed.
One can see shades of Predator, in the moments before Kong is revealed. The same shadowy, alarming hint of a presence. Only this Predator is a walloping whopper. When the beast first whisks away Ann, the moments as he bounds across the jungle, the close-ups of Ann as she is slammed up and down like in a mixer, are those of horror in its quintessence. There is an uncontrollable shiver of excitement when Kong appears to battle the dinosaurs to save Ann. A mallayuddha follows and it is hilarious and awesome at the same time. It ends with the giant ape ripping apart the jaws of the dinosaur.
Just as the ice-age refugee dinosaurs, there are primitive critters, varmints and roaches that attack with an unyielding frenzy. The scenes are hideous and grody, the kind that make you want to cover your face and then peep from between a pair of fingers.
The love affair between Ann and Kong is the sweetest, meltiest, chocolatey part of the whole shtick. You will love the scene when he first falls for her acrobatics and even lets out a near human guffaw. Or when they go ice-skating. An ape that loves like a human – that’s right, that’s the raison d’etre for this movie that is what exalts the whole show.
For a 3-hour film, it is definitely remarkable that most people will want to watch this one again. King Kong belongs in the library of classics. It is the stuff archetypes and idioms of a culture are made of. Skip this movie at your own risk. You will be answerable to your grandchildren.