Ed Driscoll

Going Ape Over Kong

As I said in my Tech Central Station piece, hopefully King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia will allow Hollywood to salvage its dreadful year–if they’re good films that ingratiate themselves with audiences and build-up positive word of mouth.

My friend Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News (whom Nina and I had dinner with while in New York the week of the Pajamas launch) goes crazy over Kong:

Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” is the most thrilling, soulful monster picture ever made. At last, it can be said without irony – I laughed, I cried.

Oh, how I cried. The sequence in which the 25-foot beast and Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), the blond actress he adores, slide together on a frozen pond in Central Park is one of the most innocently romantic moments ever put to film.

“King Kong” is also scary. And funny. It’s everything people have ever wanted from the movies – action, romance, surprise, plus every monster menace you can buy for a budget north of $200 million. In addition to a roaring, snorting Kong, there’s a stampede and deadly pileup of prehistoric dinosaurs, plus spiders and creepy-crawlies of every degree of bloodthirsty.

In short, it’s brilliant.

The gorilla of the original 1933 horror pic and its campy 1976 remake was occasionally to be pitied – poor thing, in love with a screeching blond! But this Kong is an awesome creature: magisterial, melancholy, tender. When he loves, he loves completely and selflessly. Ann Darrow is a lucky woman.

Kong turns in the most moving performance of the year, even if it’s against the rules to give an Oscar to something that’s equal parts CGI, movie wizardry and the facial expressions of Andy Serkis, the actor who made “Lord of the Rings'” Gollum so devilishly complex.

Jackson slips in clever, sneaky commentary on the nature and ethics of the entertainment biz, particularly the film industry – whose box-office “King Kong” is poised to conquer the minute he’s let loose in theaters next week.

Hopefully Narnia will do equally well.