King Kong

A big gorilla tired of solitary island life sets his sights on a pretty girl (Naomi Watts) and seals his doom. Director Peter Jackson has made a movie that stands alongside his Rings trilogy as the best in modern-day fantasy-adventure films. Jackson’s interpretation of the story is stacked with incredible action and real emotion, making the heart race at one moment then break the next. Andy Serkis does tremendous work as Kong, providing computer motion-capture for the big ape (he also plays Lumpy the Cook, who dies a rather grisly big movie death). Watts deserved an Oscar nomination for her work as Ann Darrow. Her character’s progression from terror toward the ape to total affection is 100 percent convincing. Jack Black has some fun as Carl Denham, a wild-eyed film producer who’ll do anything for a good shot, and Adrien Brody does great in his first real action-hero role. The climax atop the Empire State Building is incredible. One of 2005’s best films.

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