Peter Jackson's King Kong II - Movie Review

Hollywood, CA December 12, 2006 -- From the opening scene in which King Kong breaks free from his underground cell in Area 51 to the closing scene when the 2008 Presidential election results are announced, Peter Jackson’s King Kong II: Mad Monkey Mayhem keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

A sequel of this magnitude is rare in that it not only lives up to the standard set by Mr. Jackson’s original King Kong movie, but this installment in the King Kong trilogy completely surpassed all expectations. Peter Jackson has taken Michael Moore’s modern day, politically-inspired King Kong script and adapted it into an instant classic of epic proportion.

This latest King Kong movie begins set in 2006 with King Kong waking up to another day of research and probing, not unlike any other day of the previous 73 years of his secret captivity in Area 51. All of a sudden, an earthquake rumbles and King Kong manages to extricate himself from the confines of his prison and escape from his military captors.

King Kong finds himself wandering aimlessly in the dry wilderness of America’s Southwest. Thirst drives him to a small town that just happens to be the set of a movie in which Betty, astutely played by Laura Dern, is attempting to revive her career as an actress. To make a long story short, Laura and King Kong become friends as he sees the inner beauty in her and she sees an opportunity for world domination in him.

After some time, we join our protagonists in San Francisco rummaging through the rubble that was once San Francisco (the earthquake that freed King Kong apparently destroyed San Francisco as well) until the US military begins to attack King Kong as he is attempting to help the suffering people that FEMA has left behind. King Kong, never one to back down from a fight, heroically stands his ground until he is ultimately captured and separated from Betty.

The beleaguered President Bush, played to comedic perfection by Tim Robbins, distraught that there is nobody to blame for the massive earthquake that destroyed much of the Western United States, is pleased to hear that King Kong has been captured. President Bush and his political henchpersons then set to work demonizing King Kong and attempt to rally the population behind the president in order to save his legacy. All they need is a confession from King Kong, but he will not participate, so President Bush is forced to send King Kong overseas to one of the numerous secret CIA prisons for "coerced interrogation". There is a problem, however. None of the European countries will let the CIA’s immense, unmarked C-5 Galaxy land in European territory due to the universal expectation that the Americans intend to torture King Kong.

After a long sequence of denials to land, during which the audience is introduced to the military’s sympathetic chief animal trainer (I was unaware that the U.S. had an animal trainer, but why not) Major Pingu, played by the ever nerdy Matthew Broderick, the only choice for the President is to order additional in-air refuelings and send the airplane to the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It’s at Guantanamo Bay where we meet Babu Khan, played by a jovial James Gandolfini, who was, prior to being wrongly accused by the Americans as a terrorist and detained for 5 years at Guantanamo Bay, a monkey trainer in Peshawar, Pakistan and capable of communicating in the universal ‘Monkeese’ language with any primate. King Kong shares with Babu how the U.S. military revived him from his injuries in 1933 and kept him as a large ‘lab monkey’ in order to assist the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. King Kong also relates his longing to see Betty again while Babu longs to see his son Ali who he is afraid will now become a terrorist since the U.S. government treats everyone from his land as a terrorist.

The next day Babu is moved to a different holding cell. A few days later King Kong goes into a rage and destroys the Guantanamo Bay holding facility after he sees torture pictures and a video on CNN with Babu stripped naked and rubbed with bacon by their mean sergeant, played by a skanky Paris Hilton. During the mayhem, Major Pingu commandeers the C-5 Galaxy (apparently this military animal trainer also can fly extremely large military transport planes), loads King Kong and the newly ‘porked’ Babu Kahn into the plane and they set off to find the two creatures on this planet that can help them: Davey Jones, played by himself, of 70’s rock group ‘The Monkees’, and Bobo, the thought-to-be-deceased talking gorilla. Conveniently, they both happened to be in Seattle, Washington at the time of the earthquake, with Davey Jones working at a Starbucks and Bobo on display at the Seattle Museum of History & Industry.

In the meantime Betty has continued to work her way up the Pacific coast assisting people in earthquake-ravaged areas that the federal government has written off as “poor minorities that may as well be dead anyway”. Betty, who by this time has a large following of people, hears a message on the radio calling for her help from King Kong, via Bobo (who was in a forced state of sleep until Babu remembered an ancient ritual to awaken dead monkeys) to Major Pingu. At this, Betty and her followers rush from Portland, Oregon to Seattle in order to meet up in a heartwarming reunion.

While King Kong and Bobo are catching up on what has taken place in the U.S. during the Bush Administration, a devious plan is hatched using Davey Jones’ ability to get Babu close to President Bush as a member of the President’s favorite rock band. Major Pingu utilizes his animal training abilities to get all the animals in the U.S. to develop an elaborate spy network to find out what those evil schemers surrounding President Bush are up to. Betty sends her followers out into the rest of America to live as sleeper cells until the moment arrives for Babu to chant another ancient monkey spell on national television to awaken the American people from the evil hypnotizing spell that had been cast upon 49.98% of them by the Supreme Court during President Bush’s first run for office in 2000.

Babu’s spell worked, but not without the loss of his life (at least his phone call to Ali made it through to Peshawar right before he popped out from behind the podium in the middle of President Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address). The other members of this close-knit cadre strive to fill the power vacuum that is left when the American people finally realize they have been tricked by this imposter President – not once, but twice. As all hell breaks loose, King Kong, Bobo and Betty call for new elections and more political parties that may better represent the views of 290 million people.

While I will not reveal the outcome, as that may spoil the closing 2 hours of this epic King Kong movie, I must say that the lengthy exchange between Bobo the talking gorilla and President Bush was incredibly well done, particularly as Bobo’s mastery of a more than 2,000 word vocabulary by far eclipsed the verbal fumblings of President Bush.

The visual effects employed by Mr. Jackson were fabulous, and the acting by all of those mentioned above was superb (yes, even Paris Hilton in the nude Babu bacon rubbing video).

My only hesitation in not giving this movie a full five stars was that some sections of the plot were tied together too loosely or forced together with no apparent reason. This is more of a jab at the movie's writer, Michael Moore, who seemed to have so many points to make about the Bush Administration that sometimes the viewer loses the flow. I cannot really fault Mr. Moore, however, as he had far too much material to deal with and the movie is only five hours long.

Additionally, there are many unbelievable moments of coincidence/convenience coupled with the astounding skills each of the characters possess, but that’s Hollywood for you.

Finally, I must admit I had some reservations about seeing a fictional movie about a sitting President of the United States of America. I thought that it may be a bit uncomfortable to see King Kong kicking a horse while he was down, especially this horse as President Bush’s job approval rating is hovering around 12%. This movie, however, had the opposite effect. President Bush and all of his associates deserve every kick they are currently receiving from the press, the American people and, most of all, from that one mother of a mad monkey... King Kong.

By Pierre van Bruschi, Avant News Movie Reviewer

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