The movies in this category are my favorite movies of all time. They are in no particular order. If you haven’t seen one of them, be sure to try to catch them on Netflix, TV, Redbox or any other way you can.
“King Kong” (2005)
Directed and Co-written by Peter Jackson
Starring: Naomi Watts, Andy Serkis, Adrien Brody, and Jack Black
One of the greatest adventure stories in Hollywood history gets a new interpretation in this action drama from Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson. In the early 1930s, Carl Denham (Jack Black) is a daring filmmaker and adventurer who has gained a reputation for his pictures documenting wildlife in remote and dangerous jungle lands; despite the objections of his backers, Denham plans to film his next project aboard an ocean vessel en route to Skull Island, an uncharted island he discovered on a rare map. Correctly assuming his
cast and crew would be wary of such a journey, Denham has told them they’re traveling to Singapore, but before they set sail, his leading lady drops out of the project. Needing a beautiful actress willing to take a risk, Denham finds Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), a beautiful but down-on-her-luck vaudeville performer, and offers her the role; cautious but eager to work, Darrow takes the role, and onboard the ship she strikes up a romance with Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), a respected playwright hired by Denham to write the script for his latest epic.When Denham and company arrive on Skull Island, the natives react with savage violence, but they happen to be the least of their worries. Skull Island is a sanctuary for prehistoric life, and lording it over the dinosaurs and other giant beasts is Kong, a 25-foot-tall gorilla who can outfight any creature on Earth. The natives kidnap Darrow, giving her to Kong as an offering to appease the giant beast; Denham and his men set out to find her, with Driscoll bravely determined to save the woman he loves. Eventually, Driscoll finds Darrow and Denham outwits Kong, intending to take the giant ape back to New York for display. But Kong has bonded with Darrow, and his attraction to her proves to be his undoing. Andy Serkis, who provided the body movements for Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings pictures, performed similar duties on King Kong, studying gorillas so he could mimic their actions, which were then used as the basis for the special-effects crew’s digital animation of the great ape. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Why I love it:
I was eleven years old the year “Kong” was came out. I had been waiting for it all year, and I remember everything about the day I saw this amazing film. On December 14th, the day of release, we were out of school, and my mom forced me and my brothers to come with her to a small get-together with her friends. She told us that afterwards we would go see King Kong, the movie that had been almost killing me with anticipation.
We didn’t get the theater soon enough to see the showing we were planning on seeing so we went and grabbed a slice of pizza. My mom then explained that since we had to go to my dad’s house in two hours, we would not be able to see the next showing. I actually had tears in my eyes. This was the most excited I had ever been for a movie (in other-words, excessively excited which is actually normal for me) and I was just told that I wouldn’t be able to see it. Seeing my pain my mom called my dad and told him that we would be an hour late and that he could come pick us up from the theater when the movie was over. Relief washed over me as we walked into the theater, purchased our tickets, and sat down to watch the movie I had been waiting for my entire life. Now let me explain why this movie is so great and completely lived up to my expectations as a child, and still holds up phenomenally six years later.
I’ve always loved Dinosaurs, and I’ve always thought Gorillas were awesome so this movie was like a dream come true action wise. Watching the terrifically choreographed fight-scene between the three V-rexes (yeah they’re called V-rexes, according the the Guide to Skull Island which was created by the folks who made this film), the left me smitten. The tremendous action and visuals are what won over my young mind, but now I realize that the true beauty of the film is not only in the wonderful cinematography and special effects, but in the script, acting, and of course the films portrayal of the title character, Kong.
Now I see that the only reason I could make it through this three hour and seven minute long journey as a child is because it just purely well made. Almost everything about the movie is wondrous. We love the right characters (Ann, Kong) and hate the right characters (Carl), which are the feelings that a well written movie should elicit from it’s audience. Kong in this movie is one of my favorite characters ever. Andy Serkis brought pure emotion to the twenty-five foot ape, and played him with such conviction in the gorilla’s dual personalities: the monster, and the lonely creature looking for something to love. WETA (the special effects company) also did an amazing job at making him possibly the most realistic CGI character ever created in a film. By the end of the movie, I care more about this giant ape, than I care for the main characters in almost any other film. When Kong falls off the Empire State Building, it always leaves me with a tear in my eye and I know for a fact I’m not the only one. Naomi Watts is also sublime as Ann Darrow. Her character shifted from the one dimensional screamaholic from the original 1933 film, to a multilayered protagonist who the audience completely understands. Through her we come to sympathize with the giant beast and learn his desire for someone to love. It’s no surprise that Adrien Brody is also great, but what is surprising is Jack Black’s convincingly dramatic and psychotic performance. He is truly believable as a character with a lust for fame and wealth, and will sacrifice anything and anyone to get it.
The connection between Ann and Kong is absolutely perfect. The way that she gradually goes from being completely petrified in fear of the huge creature to realizing his lonely situation, and eventually even loving him (not in a creepy way but in a pet-like way), is just great character development. I also like how the filmmakers made sure Kong’s obsession with Ann doesn’t come off as ridiculously weird, but instead makes it is actually somewhat cute yet eventually tragic. This relationship between the two main characters is what really fuels this movie.
The film isn’t flawless though. It suffers from a little too much CGI and a little over-indulgence on director Peter Jackson’s part. The stampede scene is a perfect example of this as it is pretty ridiculous, and also features the worst special effects in the movie. This scene almost takes me out of the movie in it’s unbelievability and is one that should have been edited out. Some people complain about the movies length, but other than the couple of minutes wasted in this scene, I really don’t think it needed to be any shorter.
Peter Jackson had already proved to me that he was one of the greatest directors of our time by directing The Lord of the Rings (my favorite movies of all time), and the fact that he directed this emotionally deep, and visually stunning film just further proves that point.