Few pictures have been so greatly anticipated though the story has been remade several times. This script retains many exact phrases from the original 1933 release. It must have been a real challenge for director Peter Jackson to contrive a work that compares with the stunning success of his 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.
At 187 minutes (and with 20 minutes of previews) this is a very full afternoon. Chances are the entire story could have been accomplished in 90 minutes. We already know the tale and the ending. People leaving the cinema could be heard to remark: "Gee, it's too bad this wasn't 20 or 30 minutes longer!". A production this lengthy is going to discourage repeat attendance. The sound is deafening with vibrating bass to rattle your seat.
There are many close up pauses in this film. Naomi Watts has so many close up shots that her lovely blue eyes will remain emblazoned on your vision for days. Jack Black as Carl Denham is a far more devious and manipulative character than he of the original film. However he does have the greatest line in the movie: "I'm someone you can trust, I'm a movie producer.".
This is also a far more brutal 'Kong' than other productions. The disfigured natives seem cannibalistic and bludgeon party members to death. Kong seizes and tosses so many blonde New Yorkers that we lose track. When the log bridge topples into a ravine in the original film, there were huge spiders. Producers cut the scene because the test audience found it to be too gruesome. Our 'Kong' features a grotesque array of giant leaches, spiders and grasshoppers that had the entire cinema squirming. A great deal more prehistoric life includes a stampede of dinosaurs (spooked by a few raptors). In fact, there seem to be a number of shots lifted from the Jurassic Park series. 'Kong' even battles three Tyrannosaurs... and with one arm free! Naomi Watts is ferried about the island in hand without a single line comedic or otherwise.
I was very impressed with the look of the production.1930's New York is very realistic and complete including 'Hoovervilles'. There is a certain grittiness to it all... soiled doorways, scum, filthy ship cabins etc. I wonder why Adrien Brody is even in this film... his presence is wasted. The love story between 'Kong' and Ann Darrow is far better documented.
Such wonderment. Given the emboldened way that 'Kong' exits the theater one can only suppose how they ever managed to chain him onstage! One experiences a true feeling of trepidation peering down from the Empire State Building. They didn't have Google Earth in the 30's! Much of the film appears to exist because the director wanted to see it. Though the production spurts along between pregnant close ups and over the top action it's still a fun ride.