Lina Mayfleet ( Saoirse Ronan ) and Doon are the teenage protagonists, who discover that there may be an emergency exit from the dying city. The Mayor (Bill Murray - Ghostbusters ) does not want anything to upset his grasp on power, so he tries to stop them. Tim Robbins ( Shawshank Redemption ) pops up briefly as Doon's dad.
Naturally there are a few plot holes, and it does feel as if bits have been left out (it is based on a book) ... but this is a good old-fashioned adventure. If you liked The Goonies , you should like this.
Fraser and his daughter hide out with Great Aunt Helen Mirren . Our heroes are pursued by the villainous Capricorn (Andy Serkis - Lord of the Rings ). They must seek out the original author (Jim Broadbent - Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ). It is never explained why so many English people are living in Italy!
This is a mildly entertaining adventure, although it is slightly over-long. Also it may have been over-aimed at the childrens' audience. There is no real sense of jeopardy for the protagonists, so there is no real link with the audience.
BFG's sidekick has become a published author, with a book of conspiracy theories. He is in trouble with the IRS, the tax-gathering arm of the US Federal government - the true legacy of Abe Lincoln!
The treasure pre-dates the arrival of Christopher Columbus, so the treasure-hunters have to call on the services of a translator. By strange coincidence, BFG's mother ( Helen Mirren ) is an expert in pre-Colombian languages.
Doug McClure, as in the other films, leads the slaves in revolt. He even gets the girl ( Caroline Munroe )!
The film was shot entirely on a sound stage - naturally enough, since there are no filming locations which resemble the Jurassic era in an enormous cavern. The dinosaurs are primitive animatronics rather than Ray Harryhausen -style stop-motion. The results? Certainly by today's standards the SPFX look a bit cheap ...
The expedition enter the Snaefels volcano in Iceland, and descend down the passages towards the centre of the Earth. They discover they are not alone down there. A foreign explorer, possibly a Russian, is also there.
This may have been made in 1976, but the special effects are from a much earlier era. Instead of Harryhausen-type stop motion, they use the old-fashioned man-in-a-suit method.
The story goes full circle. The twist is never fully fleshed out, but it is implied that the Russian they rescued later time-travels back to plant the journal in the bookstore. Just like in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey , a time loop is created.
The story starts in California in the Victorian era. Victoria Pratt hires a scientist (Ricky Shroeder - NYPD Blue) to help find her husband. Dr Shroeder finances his research by bareknuckle boxing, so he is more than happy to take her money. His nephew tags along as the party's scribe, although he could just have stayed home and married Elyse Levesque .
Our team of American adventurers set off to a Russian mineshaft in Alaska (as opposed to a volcano in Iceland). At the bottom they discover an enormous cavern with a phosphorescent ceiling. The flora is the same as in Alaska (or Canada, where this was probably filmed) but the fauna includes a CGI plesiosaur.
Of course, our protagonists discover the heroine's lost husband (Peter Fonda - Ghost Rider ). He is god-king to the natives (more American Indian than caveman), but this is a case of The Man Who Would Be King.
The film was intended to be shown in 3-D, but works very well in standard 2-D as well. It is an enjoyable adventure.
Brendan Fraser is much better-suited to play the bachelor uncle than the middle-aged father of a 20-something, as he does in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ! Anita Briem , the mountaineering guide, looks like an Icelandic Kirsten Dunst .
The teen and his stepdad travel to the island of Pelau in the Pacific ocean. They try to hire a boat to explore a storm-ridden area, but Branscome Richmond ( Tremors: The Series ) refuses to take the chance. Luckily Luis Guzman ( Count of Monte Cristo (2002) ) and his daughter Vanessa Hudgens offer them a ride in the family helicopter.
The adventurers arrive at the mysterious island. The good news is that they meet up with the teen's grandfather (Michael Caine - The Dark Knight Rises ). The bad news is that thanks to the evolutionary effects of island life, small animals have evolved to giant size. For example, the bees are big enough for humans to ride like pegasuses, although the humming birds are big enough to chase and eat them.
This is a nice good-hearted adventure romp. The characters all have an obvious motivation, and the one who risks everything to go after the gold only does it because of the best of intentions.
Naomi Watts is a hard-up Vaudeville performer in Depression-era NYC. Jack Black ( Be Kind, Rewind ) is a film producer making a film about a shipboard romance between characters played by her and Bruce (Kyle Chandler - Early Edition ). The result is reminiscent of 1930s romance films, or even of Titanic . The actress instead develops a romance with the writer (Adrien Brody - The Village ).
Black claims to be taking everyone to Singapore, though his true destination is a mysterious island somewhere in the Dutch East Indies.
The natives are living in a stone age society, but have developed technologies using wood and rope. Unfortunately they ire every bit as vicious as the Orcs in LOTR.
Bearing in mind that everybody who watches this must already know the story (the original is seventy years old and this is the second remake), pretty much every scene counts as foreshadowing of some kind.
Who is the real villain? The actor knows his own limitations and admits he is not like the characters he portrays. The writer is so obsessed with a woman who is probably dead that he will risk everyone else's life. The movie producer tags along in the hope of making his movie (and paying his debt to the others). Getting rich is portrayed as a bad thing, even though the characters all started out seriously in debt in the middle of the Great Depression!
Kong himself is a very angry individual. Perhaps it is a combination of loneliness and sexual frustration, since there are no other gorillas (giant or otherwise) in sight. His only company is the neighbourhood bullies, a gang of T-Rexes. The actress's Vaudeville skills come in useful, keeping him entertained.
The climax, back home in NYC, is a lot more emotion-packed. The Authorities send in the Biplanes in the insane hope that small-arms fire (even if it is belt-fed) will actually be any use against a fifty-ton ape!
The resulting movie is about twice as long as the original. There is much more character development, and some very touching relationships.
The story starts with the climax of the original film. We see stock footage of Kong falling to his apparent demise. Then we fast forward half a dozen years. Kong is in a coma, but otherwise almost entirely unharmed by his fall. However, he is in desperate need of a heart transplant. Since there are no compatible donors, lady scientist ( Linda Hamilton ) has constructed a massive artificial heart. Now she just needs to install it.
A white hunter (Brian Kerwin - ) stumbles across another giant ape somewhere in South America. He sells the ape to the University that owns Kong, and somehow the blood is an exact match. This is in spite of the creatures coming from different continents. The lady scientist is the only one who thinks it is risky, because the new ape is a female.
Kong makes a full recovery. However, the female ape must be in heat because he can sense her when she is literally a mile away. Naturally, he busts out of confinement and pays her a visit. He carries her off in his arms, like a groom carrying a bride over the threshold, and takes her to a place called honeymooners' ridge.
The lady scientist and the great white hunter follow the apes, and since romance is in the air the humans hook up too. This is actually the most unrealistic part of the whole movie; the automatic hook-up between the male and female leads who really do not have much in common.
The US Military sends in Colonel Nevin (John Ashton - Beverly Hills Cop). Naturally, he goes full Ahab and becomes obsessed with killing Kong. What would the sympathetic monster's story be without a villainous human antagonist? As a side note, Linda Hamilton's career peaked with The Terminator (1984) and this failed as her follow-up movie. In a strange coincidence, the film's biggest break-out star is the villain who went on to be a comedy sidekick in an Eddie Murphy series.
Kong disappears into the wilderness. This film was shot on location in Tennessee and North Carolina, so that must be where he is supposed to have hidden out. Luckily the uninhabited swamps of Dixie-land contain many alligators, so an enormous ape can eat all the protein he needs. Eventually he gets spotted, and hunted by rednecks led by Leon Rippy ( Alcatraz ).
Kong's female is held in a disused nuclear missile silo. He comes looking to save her, but he has to get past the US Army first. This leads up to an impressive climax.
A former warlord, the last Akkadian (Zach Magowan - Black Sails ), is sucked into the quest. He must find the mythical Book of Souls before the villains can.
The film starts out with a flashback to ancient China. Yes, it is a typical Hollywood bastardisation of Chinese culture, but to be fair it is also quite reminiscent of the Chinese blockbuster Hero . The greedy Emperor (Jet Li - The Expendables ) hires a powerful witch ( Michelle Yeoh ) to give him immortality. She is smart enough not to trust him, and he ends up mummified.
Thousands of years later, the story takes up in 1946. Rick (Brendan Fraser - Journey to the Centre of the Earth ) has apparently aged a decade since the last movie, though the actor is only a few years older. Edie is now Maria Bello , a completely different actress! The pair have retired to a life of boredom, and take the first opportunity to visit Shanghai. Edie's brother (John Hannah - Spartacus: Blood And Sand ) owns a nightclub there, and her son by Rick is now a twenty-something archaeologist excavating the Dragon Emperor's tomb!
Luckily for the plot, at least two of these coincidences are explained by the fact that the ChiComs are plotting to revive the Emperor. And once he is out and about, the heroes have to stop him from gaining immortality. The climax, as glimpsed in the trailer, involves two undead armies fighting each other. This much CGI has not been seen since the Star Wars prequels, but in this film it actually looks good!