(out of 5)
Exciting, touching and exhausting adventure by Peter Jackson, following up his Lord Of The Rings trilogy with another critical and commercial success. A desperate filmmaker (Jack Black, painfully miscast) needs to finish filming his epic adventure on an uncharted island in the Pacific, so he steals his studio’s camera equipment, cons a crew onto a ship and plucks an unknown young woman (Naomi Watts) from obscurity for the lead role, setting sail for an adventure they will all never forget. When they reach their island destination, they are met by vicious natives and the presence of one mother of a monkey co-star: a giant gorilla named Kong. Watts is given as sacrifice to the beast, only to find herself his pet when he falls in love with her beauty, and she with his kindness. Taking Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s original eighty minute 1933 film and expanding it to three hours is something only Peter Jackson could do with such flair, though the film really doesn’t need to be quite so long. The visual effects are exceptionally impressive, particularly a dinosaur stampede that makes Jurassic Park look like The Land Before Time, but the simplicity of the original hit the romance home a lot deeper than all the unnecessary details that are endlessly emphasized here. Watts gives a performance that doesn’t seem at all like it was achieved in front of a green screen, but Black’s unconvincing turn threatens to kill the operation; Eddie Izzard would have been a better choice in the role. Also stars Adrien Brody, Billy Elliot‘s Jamie Bell and Thomas Kretschmann.
Directed by Peter Jackson
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Music by James Newton Howard
Production Design by Grant Major
Costume Design by Terry Ryan
Film Editing by Jamie Selkirk