Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
King Kong might not have been an angst-riddled Southerner. But the great ape possessed enough identifiably human, and frighteningly animal, issues and power to emotionally upend deep-rooted foliage the way a Tennessee Williams character might furniture.
A computer-generated creation in Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic remake, Kong made for an exceptionally expressive effect that grabbed both the throat and the heart — the emotive standard he set unmatchable even within his own movie. A parade of other CGI characters simply paled in comparison — dinosaurs, massive beetles and nasty, slimy sharp-toothed worms that enjoyed sucking on their prey.
Running a protracted three hours, Jackson’s remake takes awhile to find its sea legs — attempting to drum up the same hardscrabble beats of Depression-era squalor as Cinderella Man. Not surprisingly, the movie feels more attuned to the mad, at-all-costs passion of filmmaking (embodied by Jack Black’s opportunistic director).
And giving Kong a Smackdown-style undercard of villains seems even more unnecessary given the film’s last act — the beast’s mind-blowing rampage through New York. Whether apocalyptically destroying a theater, discovering snow for the first time or making his perilous climb atop the Empire State Building, Kong’s final hour is also one of Jackson’s finest.T
he breathless spectacle of the finale offered reason enough to add King Kong to the list. Had Jackson and company focused squarely on their title character, it could have been an all-time great.