King Kong (2005)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis, Colin Hanks, Thomas Kretschmann, Kyle Chandler
Director: Peter Jackson

U.S. Opening Date: December 14, 2005

After having probably made enough money with the three Lord of the Rings movies to save the Third World from disease and hunger, director Peter Jackson could have asked to make a remake of Ishtar or a Battlefield Earth sequel and the studio suits would have let him.

Instead he chose to do a remake of the 1933 Black & White classic King Kong for some reason.

Of course, this would be the second remake of the movie: Dino De Laurentiis produced a cheesy remake in 1976 (which incidentally marked the film debut of Jessica Lange – fortunately she went on to star in classier projects).

The original heralded a breakthrough in stop-motion effects: the method of using a scale model and moving and filming it at one frame at a time. The 1976 remake heralded a breakthrough in, uhm, stuntmen in monkey suits (it featured the legendary Rick Baker as the titular Kong).

Jackson’s Kong probably won’t be a step backwards: instead it will employ state-of-the-art CGI effects to bring the huge monkey to life.

The question remains: why remake King Kong? After all, is there anyone on this planet who doesn’t know how the story ends? Will people pay money to see something which they know how it will end? Studio bosses are betting they will (they paid Jackson a whopping record $20 million salary!) – after all, enough audiences flocked to see The Passion of the Christ to make it one of 2004’s biggest hit movies, and everyone knew how that one would end . . .

(One other question also remains: why the hell is Jack Black in this movie?)




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Plot Summary for King Kong (2005):

Set in the 1930s, this is the story of a group of explorers and documentary filmmakers who travel to the mysterious Skull Island (near Sumatra) to investigate legends of a giant gorilla named Kong. Once there, they discover that King Kong is a real creature, living in a massive jungle where creatures from prehistoric times have been protected and hidden for millions of years. As the explorers search for the great ape, their quest puts them up against both Kong and his dinosaur enemies. Ultimately, it is the attention of a beautiful human woman that soothes Kong long enough for him to be subdued by the explorers and shipped back to New York, where his bleak future involves being put on display in front of humans ... but how long can even the mightiest shackles of man hold back an ape 25 feet tall?

Some sources:

Trivia about King Kong:

  • Peter Jackson was paid $20 million to direct this film, the highest salary ever paid to a film director in advance of production.

  • Peter Jackson originally wanted to make this film immediately after The Frighteners (1996/I). When the rights got tied up, he moved on to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), using the ghost effects he developed for King Kong. After the tremendous success of the trilogy, Jackson was finally able to make the film.

  • Alex Norton was offered a role but had to pass because the dates clashed with a TV project.

  • Sylvester McCoy screen-tested for a role.

  • Fay Wray was in negotiations to appear in the film, before she died. Peter Jackson wanted her to deliver the legendary last line: "Oh no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast."

  • In at least one scene that takes place in a diner, Naomi Watts wears a hat that is Peter Jackson's tribute to Fay Wray's hat in the original King Kong.

  • The two original models of the carnivorous Brontosaurus from the original 1933 movie were used for reference in creating a creature for a similar dinosaur sequence in this movie.

Some sources:




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