Naomi Watts Weekend – King Kong (2005)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace (Story)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell

 

Plot: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.


Tagline – The eighth wonder of the world.

Runtime: 3 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic Remake

 

Story: King Kong starts when struggling actress Ann Darrow (Watts) loses her latest job in the packed city of New York, she gets lucky when she meets disgraced director Carl Denham (Black) who is rushing to find a leading lady, taking Ann for his latest film, with his screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody), the every man Ann wants to work with.

Escaping New York before Carl gets arrested, he sets out searching for the mysterious Skull Island, which he wants as his backdrop for his movie, a place nobody has ever set foot on. Once on the island the crew get attacked by a tribe who take Ann to feed to their feared leader King Kong.

With the crew going in search of Ann, they discover the island is crawling with animals they have never seen, with Carl continue to shoot his picture, the desire to hunt down Kong for display being the biggest attraction in New York.

 

 

Thoughts on King Kong

 

Characters – Ann Darrow is a stage actress who has ben performing in an unsuccessful show for years until her theatre gets closed down, she is getting desperate to work with famous play write, only to find herself meeting a film director working with him. Ann jumps at the chance to have a paid gig, only this becomes more than she ever bargained for, when she becomes the object of King Kong affections on Skull Island. Carl Denham is a film director whose latest film isn’t impressing his investors, he decides to run before having the whole projects plug pulled, taking his crew to an unknown island and even after the danger starts, he continues to film his evolving story. Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter that is trying to get back to his stage work, only to find that Carl has tricked him into remaining on the boat, forcing him to work on the screenplay, he starts to fall in love with Ann along the way too, willing to risk his own life to save hers. Kong is the feared ruler of Skull Island, he takes Ann as a sacrifice falling in love with the human on his island, he can fight any threat, including T-Rexes. He is the icon that we know from previous films bought to life once again.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the role made famous by Fay Wray, brings her own stamp to the role, handling the small comic moments very well through the film too. Jack Black might not have been many people’s first choice for the director role, but he proves a lot of people wrong with his performance, which still remains one of his best. Adrien Brody proves to be a great choice too because he gets to poke fun at the Hollywood stereotypes.

StoryThe story here follows an ambitious director who takes his crew including a desperate young actress to Skull Island, a mysterious uncharted location only to find a land filled with unseen monsters including the king of the island Kong, who becomes friends with Ann the actress. This is the remake of the one of the classic films of the 1930s, it does tell the same story, only builds on everything to new levels, because back then, nobody knew how big movies were going to be, so this time we can look back at the movie building era, showing more of the conflicts between movies and theatre. The island is also much larger in scale with plenty of creatures which add to the story. we do even have small side stories which do work to fill the films lengthy 3 hour plus run time. We do get to see just how destructive the human can be to new worlds too.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is massive, edge of the seat and most importantly brilliant to watch, be it the fights between creatures, monsters and humans, right down to the New York showdown with Kong. The adventure does take us to a new world, where we haven’t seen the creatures before, or at least not this size. It shows the most dangerous side of the explorer’s journeys in the world.

SettingsThe film does use two main settings, first New York which is re-created for the time period perfectly, the second is the island which is filled with the beauty and terror you would have come to expect from an unknown location

Special EffectsThe effects are one of the biggest talking points of this film, first of all Kong looks fantastic, large amounts of the film looks brilliant, but that one chase scene will drag this down because it is such a weak point for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Kong versus the T-Rex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The canyon chase the CGI looks awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the remakes that works because of the improvement in technology, it is epic in scale and manages to capture the true feeling behind what made the original such a memorable movie.

 

Overall: Stunning remake that lives up to the scale of the movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – The Lovely Bones (2009)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Alice Sebold (Novel)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan

 

Plot: Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Fantasy Elements Throughout

 

Story: The Lovely Bones starts as Susie (Ronan) introduces us to her family, father Jack (Wahlberg), mother Abigail (Weisz), sister Lindsey, brother Buckley and Grandma Lynn (Sarandon), Susie tells us about her memories, dreams and that she was murdered by George Harvey (Tucci).

Susie trapped in purgatory wants to show her family who the murderer was as she watches over her family, her family are dealing with her loss in different ways, Jack is trying to solve who would have done it, while Abigail is grieving silently.

As Susie watches her family she does see the healing happening but when Lindsey catches the eye of George, she makes it her mission to protect her sister from the same fate she suffered.

 

Thoughts on The Lovely Bones

 

Characters – Susie is our victim, she is also our narrator telling us her feels towards her family before and after she is murdered. She is the light in the darkest places, a teenager that never experienced those life moments she dreamt off. Jack is Susie’s father that never gives up on finder the person responsible but this only makes him crazy pushing Abigail away from him as she is parent that needs to get away from everything to recover. George Harvey is the man that killed Susie, he lives in the street waiting for his moment to take advantage of any of his victims. Grandma Lynn tries to help bring peace to the family and mostly the children.

PerformanceSaoirse Ronan showed us here once again that she was one of the best actresses of her generation, being able to tell the story for the eyes. Wahlberg gives us a solid performance through the film while Weisz does all she can with what she gets, she does have a couple of powerful moments though. Susan Sarandon enjoys the grandmother role but it Stanley Tucci that gives us the most haunting performance of his career to date.

StoryThe story brings a fresh spin on the idea of a murder in suburban neighbourhood, we have had the ones where it could be someone in the area, we have had the parent searching for the killer, we have had the ghost haunting but to have the spirit watching over the people they loved and the one that killed them brings a unique way of looking at the whole murder and solving it. For a story this may well be from a novel of the same name and it is good watch throughout.

Fantasy/ThrillerThe idea of the fantasy side of the film comes from the purgatory that Susie finds herself in, it is a visual treat at times in this world.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a small suburban neighbourhood where everyone believes they know everyone, where the sudden disappearance of Susie brings the family to start pointing fingers shows how a neighbourhood can come together to put this behind them.

Special EffectsThe effects for the purgatory looks fantastic throughout the film showing us the imagination of Susie at work.

Scene of the Movie – Bottle smashing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does come off longer than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a visual treat and good spin on the murder movie, it is well worth watching to see how the lives of the people effected by the disappearance.

 

Overall: Good fantasy crime movie.

Rating

 

 

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

logoDirector: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro (Screenplay) J.R.R. Tolkien (Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Scott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry

 

Plot: Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Shortest of the Saga but Still Too Long

 

Story: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies starts with the effects of the previous film with Smaug entering into the town destroying everything in its way. Bilbo (Freeman) and the rest of the dwarfs watch on helplessly while Bard (Evans) tries to be hero the town saving his family along the way. Bard manages to put the beast down saving what is left of the town but away from the destruction we see how Gandalf (McKellen) is still captured.

We see the aftermath of the attack with the towns people ready to turn on each other before the dwarfs going onto their next chapter with Thorin (Armitage) starting to become obsessed with the newly discovered gold. Bard taking control of the town’s people must lead them to safety while Legolas (Bloom) but find out who is going to be interested in the newly discovered gold. The mountain has become the target for all of the powers in middle earth and they all come together for one long battle for the gold.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is based on five pages of a children’s book and turns out to be well over 2 hours long, let’s face it there isn’t much of a story here, nothing happens except a battle that goes on, and on and almost decides to go Fuck it lets put this animal in it see what happens. The opening of the film is confusing because if you forgot what happened last time it doesn’t make any sense and to make things worse the characters are so easily forgettable you don’t care what happens to them. This is simply put a terrible conclusion to a saga that over stayed its welcome. (2/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Ian McKellen: Gandalf is the wizard who seems to have a calming influence on every side but even he can’t stop the battle from going on. Ian is in it but I don’t really know what he does, swings his stick a little and chats to Bilbo, could have had anyone do this really. (3/10)

 

Martin Freeman: Bilbo Baggins is on his biggest adventure and always tries to do the right thing even if it makes enemies of friends. Martin becomes the supporting character in a film about his own adventure but he does a solid job. (5/10)

bilbo

Richard Armitage: Thorin is the dwarf king who is losing control because of his hold over the gold, this is making him isolated from his friends and leaving him making rash decision. Richard does a solid job but is he happy or sad oh wait I don’t know. (5/10)

 rich

Orlando Bloom: Legolas is our returning hero who completes his appearances in all of the sagas with an investigation mission to who is preparing for battle for the mountain. Orlando clearly needed an extra pay day so he can go back to the shit movies he has been making here. (3/10)

 

Luke Evans: Bard is the warrior fighting for his city and saving it from the dragon Smaug before holding everything together trying to find a peaceful conclusion to the gold in the mountain. I personally thought Luke played the most interesting character of the whole film but that was because he got to kick ass at the start. (6/10)

bard

Support Cast: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has so many supporting characters I just didn’t remember the names of it is unbelievable really, none of the made an impact enough to make you care about them.

 

Director Review: Peter Jackson – Peter has finally slipped off the top of the mountain after the success of his first trilogy we get a very complete lacklustre one. (4/10)

 

Adventure: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t really have much adventure because no one seems to do any travelling in this one. (0/10)

Fantasy: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies puts us in a fantasy world where they seem to just put any creature they like on screen. (6/10)

Settings: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies have a very CGI world to battle in with location that make for assistance in battle. (5/10)
Special Effects
: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has very poor special effects for the budget the film has. (3/10)

Suggestion: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is one for only the fans to see and even then I think they will feel disappointed with the final product. (Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Opening Dragon attack.

Worst Part: The Rest

Action Scene Of The Film: The Battle looks epic but I don’t know who is who.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 1 Oscar

Box Office: $955 Million

Budget: $250 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

Tagline: Witness the defining chapter of the Middle-Earth saga

Trivia: In the book, the whole Battle Of The Five Armies takes place in just one chapter, and is described to the reader after the fact. While in the film, the battle takes up nearly half of the running time.

 

Overall: This has to go down as a bad, boring film that really doesn’t have any redeeming qualities.

Rating 30

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

logoDirector: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro (Screenplay) J.R.R. Tolkien (‘The Hobbit’ Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Lee Pace

 

Plot: The Hobbit Bilbo (Freeman), the Wizard Gandalf (McKellen) and 13 dwarfs led by Thorin (Armitage) continue their journey to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Along the way they encounter the skin changer Beorn; giant Spiders of Mirkwood; Wood-elves led by Legolas (Bloom), Tauriel (Lilly) and King Thranduil (Pace); and a mysterious Man named Bard (Evans); who smuggles them into Lake-town. Finally reaching the Lonely Mountain they face their greatest danger – the dragon Smaug (Cumberbatch).

 

Verdict: Adventure Continues

 

Story: The adventure carries on following the heroes as they quest to restore a rightful king. Mixing all the different races together to fight for one common good before darkness takes over the world. This is nothing new to the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and much like them it is way too long to tell what simple story is being told. (6/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Ian McKellen: Gandalf pledges to help the dwarfs on their quest only to go off on his own quest to get ready for battle in the next film. Good performance from McKellen but it is fair to say he isn’t involved as much as people will think. (8/10)

mckellen

Martin Freeman: Bilbo the Hobbit hired to be the gloried burglar for the dwarfs, battles the power of the ring while trying to complete his quest. Good from Martin adding some light hearted comedy to an overly serious film. (8/10)

 bilbo

Richard Armitage: Thorin the rightful dwarf king who is out to reclaim his kingdom. Good determined leader performance fills in very much for the Aragon role from the first trilogy. (9/10)

 kinf dwarf

Orlando Bloom: Legolas the elf archer who protects his people with his superior combat skills. Good for the fight scenes and timing but otherwise seems a bit pointless for the quest. (5/10)

 bloom

Evangeline Lilly: Tauriel elf warrior who has a connection to one of the dwarfs is also good for combat. Good performance with a character that offers more than Legolas. (7/10)

 lilly

Luke Evans: Bard/Girion mysterious stranger who helps the dwarfs get to their next part of their quest but and what cost? Good performance introducing a mystery character to the final chapter. (8/10)

 

Director Review: Peter Jackson – Doesn’t pull you in as much as previous instalments but this comes off more interesting than the first Hobbit. (7/10)

 

Adventure: The adventure the dwarfs go on is very good and you want to see how they get on the whole time. (9/10)

Fantasy: It is all pure fantasy. (10/10)

Settings: Each setting adds much to the overall story. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Some of the effects are brilliant, but too many are so clearly CGI it takes all what the first series had to make it special. (5/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the fans only, no casual fan will enjoy this too much as the characters are all too similar and hard to tell a part. (Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Smaug battle

Worst Part: So long.

Action Scene Of The Film: Smaug battle.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Final chapter out at the end of the year.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Awards

Box Office: $949,946,593

Runtime: 2 Hours 41Minutes

Tagline: Beyond darkness … beyond desolation…lies the greatest danger of all.

 

Overall: Fans Fantasy Adventure Only

Rating 70