King Kong

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 15, 2005

[Warning: there?s some spoilers in here.]

I don?t really know what to make of Peter Jackson?s King Kong. On the one hand, it?s a fantastic movie, a huge blockbuster, chock full of amazing special effects[1]. And not just that but an engaging plot, good acting, and a meaning beyond what?s happening on the screen. But Kong is also very cheesy, like Michael Bay-grade cheesy. Cheesy but not schlocky, which leads me to believe it?s intentional on Jackson?s part, an homage to the original Kong and other 30s swashbuckler romance adventure pics. In that respect, Kong is like Star Wars, a corny film that works because it?s supposed to be a space opera, not a serious dramatic film.

The other thing I was thinking of while watching the film was how easy it is to be cynical about this film. At its core, Kong is a love story between an ape and a woman?how can you not make fun of that? Some of the special effects sequences are probably over-long and implausible. The 30s-style moviemaking is ripe for snark. But judging from the reaction of the NYC audience I saw it with, Jackson made it work[2]. Just before Kong runs amok at the end of the film, a character remarks that Carl Denham (Jack Black) destroys the things he loves. There are many possible lessons contained in that statement, but perhaps the one Peter Jackson had most in mind was its application to the cynicsm of Hollywood filmmaking. His last four films have been hugely merchandised, expensive to make, and made him rich, but when you watch them it?s clear that Jackson really really loves 30s movies, fantasy, filmmaking, Tolkien?s books, and King Kong?and he celebrates the things he loves. As long as Jackson stays true to what he loves, I?m willing to cut him some slack and resist the contemporary urge to be cynical about everything and let him entertain me.

[1] The 30s New York scenery was awesome but a little disctacting for me?I was often too busy trying spot local landmarks to follow the human/ape action onscreen. And the Empire State Building; it?s amazing how much taller it was than all the other buildings in Midtown at the time.

[2] With a couple of exceptions. When the pond slugs (or whatever they were) and the giant insects were descending on our heros after a solid 1/2 hour of being chased by several other kinds of animals, I (and some others in the audience) just had to laugh?it was just so absurd.

Reader comments

LaneDec 15, 2005 at 1:31PM

I for one greatly appreciate Jackson’s resistance to the temptation to imbue King Kong with complicated social commentary. Letting a monster movie be a monster movie was exactly the right approach. That was one fun movie!

MattDec 15, 2005 at 1:58PM

Having read some reviews ahead of time, I was prepared for a good amount of hokey-ness. One review said that Peter Jackson made the film the same way he would have made it when he was 10-years-old. I felt throughout that what seemed over-the-top was intentional - put there to stay true to the imagination of the story in the first place. I think Jackson was tremendously successful. My adult side shrugged and smirked during many scenes, but the child in me was jumping up and down yelling “Awesome! Awesome!” the entire time. Those slugs were a good example of a moment where I said to myself…”Oh c’mon! He expects us to believe THAT? Wait….that’s so cool.”

MDiskinDec 15, 2005 at 2:03PM

Yes, but because Jackson incarnates the things he loves, he also destroys a part of his and our imaginations — once you’ve seen a screen version of LOTR, there is at least one new fish nibbling at the edges of your conscious imagination whenever you read or reread the books. Inevitable, and probably only a little death to what you saw before. But still….

Bruce ColeDec 15, 2005 at 2:28PM

The little man is sleeping in the chair in SF Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle review:
Girl meets gorilla in big, hairy mess of a movie. If only Peter Jackson hadn’t gotten lost in the jungle.

Dan DiemerDec 15, 2005 at 2:32PM

While that’s true, It is really a two edged sword. By having a visualisation of something via moviescreen, it helps to wrap your head around certain concepts. Without seeing the LOTR movies I wouldn’t have ever thought to picture Sauraman’s army as huge as it was. And it’d have been alot harder to see where Tolkien was coming from (with the war experiences he had).

jkottkeDec 15, 2005 at 2:35PM

Yes, but because Jackson incarnates the things he loves, he also destroys a part of his and our imaginations — once you’ve seen a screen version of LOTR, there is at least one new fish nibbling at the edges of your conscious imagination whenever you read or reread the books.

Good point.

MasonDec 15, 2005 at 2:38PM

Speaking of cheesy..

I read somewhere that on the boat ride to the Island Naomi Watts’ acting is really poor. But it was in the script - apparently Jackson called for it. It’s a nod to Faye Ray’s bad performance in the same scene in the original.

Jake of 8bitjoystick.comDec 15, 2005 at 2:38PM

Spoilers?!?! It is an remake of a 70 year old movie. There is a statute of limitations on that shit.

JohnODec 15, 2005 at 3:01PM

Jackson is turning into a very good storyteller. His aim is to entertain us. He doesn’t do (too much) social/insightful commentary. I think it is a success.

I wonder what he’ll do next, it will be very hard to top himself with another franchise. Also worth noting, him and his duo of writer/producers haven’t “created” (per se) an original movie. They used books for LOTR, and the previous Kong movie. Can they pull off something original?

jkottkeDec 15, 2005 at 3:23PM

Also worth noting, him and his duo of writer/producers haven’t “created” (per se) an original movie.

Have you seen Heavenly Creatures? Jackson and Rings/Kong screenwriting Fran Walsh) did the screenplay and he directed. It was based on a real-life occurrence in New Zealand, so it’s not exactly “original”, but what is these days?

KenDec 15, 2005 at 3:25PM

Can they pull off something original?

Ever seen Dead Alive?

MattDec 15, 2005 at 4:14PM

“I wonder what he’ll do next…”

He’s said that he’d like to go back to making smaller things, and is interested in maybe making a zombie movie.

Tom FlowersDec 15, 2005 at 5:02PM

According to Forbes, King Kong is reportedly the 6th most expensive ($207 million [USD]) film in Hollywood history. Approximately how many box office tickets will have to be sold for Peter Jackson to have a Very Merry Christmas? Rating: PG13 (for frightening long adventure violence and some disturbing editing). Running Time: 187 minutes.

Eric BostromDec 15, 2005 at 5:27PM

my wife and i loved it. i sure hope peter jackson does a lot more big monkey, dinosaur movies. when the brontosauri were all falling over one another it was just so exhilirating, even though he was only doing it because he could. this movie made me realize how much has changed since jurassic park, and made me wonder when they’d be remaking JP.

NunziaDec 15, 2005 at 5:33PM

I really loved the film. I thought the special effects (especially the T-Rex scene) were the best 15 minutes of footage I’ve ever seen.

AmbroseDec 15, 2005 at 6:06PM

Matt wrote:
>My adult side shrugged and smirked during many scenes, but the child in me was jumping up and down yelling “Awesome! Awesome!” the entire time.

Ha! Thanks for that. Can’t wait to see it.

joeDec 15, 2005 at 10:30PM

I have to say, I hated the movie intensely! And it’s too bad, because I thought what he did with LOTR was utter brilliance.

But this movie was too long, it was poorly and overly written, and it was too too pretty. The entire intro section was too much exposition—we really don’t care about how down & out Naomi is, we really don’t have to be beaten over the head with how broke & in trouble Jack Black is—instead, Jackson & Walsh should remember to show, not tell.

The slo-mo scenes were gratuitous, the battles with insects and raptors (or were they baby T-Rex’s?) seemed right out of LOTR, and the Enya-ish vocalese was just too LOTR.

It was all just too much. Sorry, Peter, but ya missed the mark this time.

Brooklyn BluesmanDec 16, 2005 at 12:17AM

Your review seems right in line with my perceptions based on coming attractions and what I’ve read about Peter Jackson. I too am a New Yorker, albeit expat, and sometimes struggle with being too “sophisticated” to be entertained. Can’t wait to see KK with my 11 year old son-he has no pre-conceived notions or stereotypes since he hasn’t seen original or remake.

Stephen ClancyDec 16, 2005 at 8:23AM

It’s funny you talk about Peter Jackson sort of making a movie about his own disillusionment with Hollywood. Some of the reviews said that they though Jack Black was supposed to be a Orson Welles-type character, but I didn’t really see that.

I think Jackson cast Black from day one because he reminded him of himself (at that pont both were beared, heavy-set guys). This would make more sense then if the story is supposed to be a commentary on his own rise in movie-making.

Ultimately though, I think this movie is really just about his love of this story. The guy owned some of the original stop-motion models before he ever got signed to make a Kong movie. All in all, I loved this movie.

Paul LivingstoneDec 16, 2005 at 8:45AM

I thought it was a fantastic film.. probably in my top 3. A complete adventure, push reality to the side and just sit back and enjoy.

The worms were disgusting… everyone in my cinema was writhing in their seats. It looked so real, and so gross.

Poor lumpy.

KongDec 16, 2005 at 10:42AM

Stop overthiking this one guys, as a previous poster noted — its a monster movie. Check your brains and your cynicism at the door and have fun. Sheesh!

TrentDec 16, 2005 at 1:51PM

I think the appeal of this remake comes down to whether you enjoy the pacing of an “old Hollywood” type of film, because that’s exactly what this reminded me of. The writing and pacing was very reminiscent of the 1933 original, and I think most of the negative reviews come out of this fact: they expected modern pacing.

KarlDec 16, 2005 at 2:14PM

If you have any doubt as to Jackson’s love of Kong, consider that the “spider pit” sequence was cut from the original film and lost to history. Jackson not only puts it in his picture, but also has a run at it using 1933 effects techniques on the “extras” disc for the “Special Edition” of the original Kong DVD. The extras also showcase items from Jackson’s extensive collection of Kong artifacts (as Mr. Clancy notes above). Indeed, a couple of original movie props from his collection are used as set dressing (on the boat) in this version.

The acting on the boat is meant to be poor — the “improvised dialog” that annoys Driscoll is straight from the 1933 version.

Jackson should show and not tell? That’s exactly what Jackson is doing in the first hour. And in Ann Darrow’s case, some of the backstory pays off in her scenes with Kong (I would be more specific, but don’t want to spoil anything that wasn’t in the original).

Finally, Kong was never a book — at least not before it was a movie. So whatever the validity of the general point about destroying imagination, it’s not really applicable in this case.

changstonDec 16, 2005 at 3:13PM

With regard to the absurdity of the insect sequence, do keep in mind that we’re working with a certain implausibility factor where the ceiling is “Giant Ape from Uncharted Dinosaur Island that runs amok in New York”. I think the spider pit (even the tommy gun bit) is well within the realm of acceptable given the environment.

DaldianusDec 17, 2005 at 8:01PM

I was disappointed.

Positive: Kong (the ape) really rocked, his facial expressions were absolutely awesome and his relationship with Ann touching. I also liked Kong on the ice … And the fight with the dinosaurs was bad-ass indeed.

Negative: more or less the whole rest. The movie is way too long. The characters were annoying and even detestable, full of dumb clichés etc. I couldn’t stand Jack Black nor Adrien Brody. The beginning of the movie was boring and slow. The part of the island was crap, mostly because of the bad CGI. Especially when mixed with real life actors (that dinosaur stampede was plain ludicrous). The script was bad: I know it’s fantasy but I’d like to have a minimum of realism anyway. Guys strolling around the island like they’ve got a built-in GPS or suddenly ropes hanging from cliffs annoy me a lot. And how did they get Kong back to New York on that little boat??

I’d give the movie a 4/10.

BlakeDec 17, 2005 at 11:28PM

The King Kong story hasn’t aged well. It was originally released in 1933, and it shows. The film has very little dialog, and the story seems as primitive as the movie’s protagonist. Director Peter Jackson is ambitious, and does a fine job with the presentation albeit a couple of hours too long, but he just didn’t have a story to work with. Shouldn’t the story be the foundation of a good movie? That being the case, it’s hard to score the production on any type of scale. “IN” for incomplete would better suite it. Jack Black did pull off a very convincing and greedy producer though.

Best part of the movie: Watching my little daughter’s eyes follow the big screen and sit quietly for mommy and daddy during the whole 3.5 hour ordeal. What a little trooper (she’s only 2.5 months old).

Fan of KongDec 18, 2005 at 11:01PM

Does watching vividly something on screen ‘nibble away’ our capacity for imagination - or , if done with passion and vision, stimulate it enormously?

The original King Kong was an attempt to bring the age of dinosaurs and monsters alive on the sccreen, and in doing so inspired the whole action, adventure and special effects field. Jackson himself was inspired by the original Kong to be come a director, resulting in his entire body of work up to and including his re-imagining of Kong itself.

Imagination isn’t ‘nibbled away’ by being exposed to something imaginative - it resonates with it. Blame passionless, unimaginative fodder like the Godzilla remake for any previous lack of imagination - and credit Jackson for reigniting this in every moviegoeer who lays eyes on his work.

Lets leave bad books in the same bin as bad films as non-starters of the imagination, so instead we can begin to give credit where credit is due for the cinematic geniuses of our time.

Fan of KongDec 18, 2005 at 11:03PM

(I was responding to this post, by the way):

MDiskin says:
Yes, but because Jackson incarnates the things he loves, he also destroys a part of his and our imaginations — once you’ve seen a screen version of LOTR, there is at least one new fish nibbling at the edges of your conscious imagination whenever you read or reread the books. Inevitable, and probably only a little death to what you saw before. But still….

MDiskinDec 19, 2005 at 10:08AM

I’m not saying Jackson, or even the incarnation of story in film, is the Great Destroyer — just that once a story (especially one like LOTR, or Narnia this year) with such emotional resonance becomes inscribed visually on film, it’s impossible to shake that visual from your head when you reread the books. It’s there — that’s the “nibble” that is just enough of a motion at the edge to distract what was your full reading imagination before you saw the film.

And I love the LOTR films, and I’m a special f/x junkie. Could be that the quality of the incarnation is in direct proportion to the imaginative loss — the worse the movie, the easier it is to keep your imagination from losing something, because that incarnation is much more easily dismissed.

As always, a moot point….

Fan of KongDec 19, 2005 at 11:05AM

Ah, I think we’ll just have to agree do disagree, ha ha.

In my opinion, following your logic, the better and more precise the writing, the less impact on the reader’s imagination. Whilst there may be a case that less well rendered material in any format, be it writing, film, art, music or anything else leaves more scope for input from the audience’s own imagination, this is but one approach, and I also firmly believe that imagination is STIMULATED by rich experience rather than diminished. Sometimes less is more, but again, often, less is less… in either school of thought, what matters less in the imagination-firing department is not the approach, but the skill of the creative mind in executing the thing.

The point is, the original of King Kong was, for it’s time, spectacularly well done to the extent that original audiences were absolutely terrified by what we now percieve as a bit on the hammy and, ahem, primitive side. There is no reason why Jackson should not inspire a younger generation of filmmakers with his works, to go beyond. The creative horizon is forever moving forward (though of late it seems in many a case to have been doing the reverse, which is why Jackson’s epics are so welcome).

And if it were true that Jackson’s take of LOTR had defined how the books should exist in the imagination of every reader irreversibly, then one could also assume that Shakespeare’s plays would have stopped being performed and reinterpreted afresh after each of their first great performances. It hasn’t happened for Shakespeare, nor will it for Tolkien.

scmDec 19, 2005 at 4:46PM

Is the over-the-top racism of the movie also intended as a kitschy wink to the original?

shemalesDec 19, 2005 at 10:26PM

I think movies are ungodly.

Kong IS KingDec 20, 2005 at 7:19PM

King Kong is the best movie of all time. Jackson did great with LOTR, he did even better with Kong. True fans should appreciate that.

MoseyDec 21, 2005 at 6:14AM

I am going to see the file this afternoon and have mixed feelings about seeing it. Initially wouldn’t even have dreamed about going to see it, but have been convinced by a few that it’s worth going to see it for the special effects (bigscreen/speakers etc.) However, one person I do know to be afairly good judge of movies turned around just yesterday to say that it was a VERY LONG film (literally’capitalised’) and he was bored to tears so I’m feeling distinctly doubtful again. I think I’ll post again later once I’ve seen it.

For those wondering about the ‘calibre’ of my ratings - I enjoyed Chronicles of Narnia and to a certain extent Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - although if ‘stars’ came into it, Chronicles would receive a 4-4.5 and Goblet 3 out of 5.

Kim NicoleDec 21, 2005 at 10:49AM

Personally, I would’ve liked it if Jackson could have done away with the racism. I mean, the first time around, you could argue that it was the product of an especially fucked up time. What excuse have we got now?

RickDec 21, 2005 at 8:34PM

What is the attention span of all who thought Kong was too long? The opening exposition added much to the movie, not only narratively, but visually. The slow set up also made the action sequences more breathtaking when they do arrive. This movie is a love-letter to so much that is lost in our cynical, post-modern era. With all the resources at his disposal, Jackson could have made every last bit of CGI perfect. I think the less-than-realistic looking bits of CGI and miniature work serve as an homage to the earlier films that Jackson so obviously loves, and give the movie a dreamlike quality. Jeesh, for all the complaining some have about “realism,” you would think this isn’t a movie about a 25 foot ape captured on an island lost to time. It’s a movie, and the heroes don’t need GPS in a movie. The parts I would cut probably amount to less than 2 minutes, mostly the slow-motion bits as the cast enters skull Island.
Nonetheless, I loved every minute of it.

thomasDec 22, 2005 at 6:29AM

I like “King Kong” much more than LOTR. I saw it yesterday and it was not boring but very passionated directed. I appreciate very much a guy taking so much money and creating something, that is so big and complex just for his own pleasure (and ours too).
Coming from Germany and seeing this movie in the original version, I think I didn’t understand a few parts. So, could anyone explain me the problematic racist part? As an example: one of the first comments of my companion was on the audience watching the beast in a theatre. How arrogant the people have been looking for entertainment: considering the savage (compare Huxley’s “Brave New World”), the animal as an object only existing for their fun.
So I think the existing racist metaphors could also be read as part of a critical discussion. I am glad, that we don’t live in these times anymore and I think, it is good talking about the colonialist and the racist aspects, that are in this story. Imagine not to have them in this movie, that sounds a bit scaring for me too.

GrahamDec 22, 2005 at 11:46AM

I agree with thomas on this one. I am seeing the film when I finish work in two hours time. But I think by Mr Jackson turning away from the racist elements of the story he would be cheapening the original story. The times the film is set in were heavily racist times that I am glad we don’t live in. But by not showing these elements it would display a certain element of brushing them under the carpet, trying to ignore that they ever happened. And this is truly a scary thing, we as humans are capable of truly monstrous things but if we learn from our mistakes then such mistakes although not validated in anyway at least serve a purpose for ours and future generations. But by ignoring that such issues ever existed we are denying that we ever made such a mistake. It would be truly arrogant and presumptions, trying to cut the ties that bind us to our past generations by presuming that we are better than them. It is the same process that germany went through for years and why I am actually glad to see modern german films that will broach the subject. We may not live in such times and we have moved on from such widespread blind discrimination but by not ignoring such issues we are at least showing that we have the wisdom to learn from our species prior mistakes.

Sorry about the rant, maybe not the kind of discussion that should strictly be linked to a monster film such as king kong but I think it is an important point to remember

Fan of KongDec 22, 2005 at 3:05PM

The racism issue: In herms of the natives, one must remember that this film is a FANTASY and Jackson is clearly presenting a pastiche of tribal witchcraft. Whilst we all now understand that Voodo is largely benign, and the ‘black magic’ aspect of it is a gross overexageration by the West, this view has largely come from the Christian viewpoint and Western ‘witches’ (i.e. practicioners of ancient Celtic and pagan practices) have been demonised and persecuted for centuries.

They also provide fodder for our horror tradition: are we going to say that every depiction of an evil old witch or wizard with WHITE skin is now racist, or ‘religionist’? Come on, guys, it’s allthe very stuff of horror! Pure fantasy, let’s not get silly here.

Zombies orcs, witchcraft: don’t get hung up on skin colour guys, it’s a bit pathetic if you ask me.

As for the Kong as black male metaphor, I mus be the only guy who takes it literally and thinks maybe, just maybe, he actualy IS a 30 foot gorilla and nothing more…

P.S. Did anyone hear about the recent discovery made in south east Asia of the giant ape skeletons, about 15 ft high? Apparently they co-existed with modern humans, so the story is not as far fetched as we might imagine!

RickDec 22, 2005 at 5:10PM

The person who made the comment about the racism is making an assumption that portraying racism is in itself racist. The scene at the Theater from which Kong escapes is, I’ll admit, at first disturbing with the “native” dancers, but that portrayal is an accurate representation of the kind of thing common in the thirties (this movie is not simply set in the thirties; in many ways it is ABOUT the thirties). Really, by showing what he did, Jackson decries racism by NOT glossing over it.

AlexDec 23, 2005 at 8:37AM

I saw it yesterday and… it was great. Just pure fun, nothing more, because nothing more was needed.
I’ve had enough of all these blockbuster movies that try to portray social or racial issues all the time. I mean, c’mon, I am not buying that anymore. King Kong brought me back the spectacle and the fun, the drama and the thrill. At one point, when they are in Central Park, I just didn’t want the movie to end. Kong is a real character. When he first appears he behaves like a brainless beast, but you get to know more and more of him as Ann Darrow does, so you get to like and love him too by the end of the movie.There was only one moment when I thought that it was a little too much, and that was the end of the stampeede.

Well done Mr. Jackson, you have done it again.

Donnie JeterDec 27, 2005 at 3:19PM

my wife and i loved it. i sure hope peter jackson does a lot more big monkey, dinosaur movies.
How many more big monkey movies can he do?

grigoriDec 28, 2005 at 1:50AM

The movie is amazing. It certinately kept you at the edge of the seat a few times :) You cannot deny that the movie is a masterpiece no matter how many times your twist and turn in your movie critic chair.

Great story relived once again. I predict few award nominations for Oscar including Peter Jackson for the Best Director! Strong Possiblity!! Great cast and talent from Weta Digital who definately deserve and applause for all the hard work they have put into this Film!!!

So how much of the budget went into feeding the monkey :)? hehe

victorDec 28, 2005 at 7:34AM

I too think the movie was awesome.

paulDec 28, 2005 at 7:42AM

This movie is our family favourite. My kids also liked it.

georgeDec 28, 2005 at 7:45AM

I loved the movie. I’m looking forward to watch it again someday for its fantastic cinematography and storyline.

JBDec 28, 2005 at 3:18PM

This was one fun ride for me. The original King Kong has always been one of my favorites, never failing to watch a rerun on TV to many times to count. I was very excited to see the 70’s remake and went on opening night. IT WAS AWFUL! I was even more excited to see Peter Jackson’s remake (loved LOTR). I WAS NOT disappointed. What I appreciated most was the way lines and scenes from the original were interwoven into the way wilder special effects scenes. GREAT GREAT GREAT.

cliffnotesDec 28, 2005 at 5:07PM

I can’t believe I’m the only guy on the face of this planet that understood what Peter Jackson was trying to do. The movie is spectacular and great fun when you understand it.

Here’s some clues so I give you a chance to redeem yourselves…

Thousands of yards of film end up on the cutting room floor, so if there’s something in a movie that stands out like a sore thumb, then it’s in there for a reason.

1. Anyone ever read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Hint Hint)?? You know the book they made into “Apocalypse Now”. The trip Kurtz takes into his darkest subconscious. Anyone, anyone. Gee makes a lot of sense that an illiterate shipmate just happens to steal that book out of the public library and procceds to read it just prior to…

2. A ship that loses all bearing and crosses through a fog to an island called “SKULL ISLAND” (Hint Hint). Where there just happens to be a bizarre totally irrational world where the most horrible nightmare exists behind a Giant Wall (Hint Hint). Freud why weren’t you in the audience?? Why Why?

3. Where the horrible creature that exists there exhibits all the urges of well, I’ve got to say it, the ID. You know, throwing baby tantrums, doing touchdown dances after extreme violence, playing with and abusing a blond bombshell. You know, standard subconscious male fantasies.

4. And then the nightmare is transported back to the concious level where all sorts of irrational behavior occurs like the Army totally destroying NYC. Didn’t anyone at this point start to think, “hey this is some kind of metaphor or fantasy or stream of consciousness or something.”

5. One scene is repeated twice and the second time it is followed with, “But why did he climb the tallest building in NY?” Which is followed closely by, “Beauty killed the Beast.” Which in this version, if you haven’t already figured out has NOTHING to do with Naomi Watts but has everything to do with the scene that was repeated twice for all those people that didn’t get it the first time.

Naomi Watts’ relationship with Kong is Mother to child or Mother to pet golden retriver, and the only love story in this version is between her and the writer which is another plotline completely. Naomi is our bridge between our primordial fantasies and our world of technology. This is a remake guys! This is not supposed to be the same movie as the original. This is Peter Jackson’s twist on what it should have been about, and I won’t even dignify the racists remarks with a response since if you understood the movie you’d know that those characters aren’t supposed to be real.

There you have it. Go see the movie again, only this time see it as it was meant to be seen. As a subtle glass of wine with several obvious (apparently only to me) wonderful messages.

ummesterDec 30, 2005 at 12:30AM

The above post may be astute but it doesn’t mean that PJs is a better film than the original.

You know whats fun about the original? It is racist, it is sexist, it is schlock and it makes no apologies for because the motives weren’t wrong when it was made.

Then along comes PJ’s version which is good but somehow boring compared to that. The blonde human keeps a big monkey as a pet and watches it die vs the big monkey undresses the blonde human because it can. The natives hide from the big monkey vs the big monkey eats the natives. Screw political correctness, if you are going to pay homage to a fun old film don’t try and fix it, pay homage to it by making it as OTT as possible. This film should have been remade by the guy who made Starship troopers, not PJ:)

Dusan Pavlicek, Czech RepublicDec 30, 2005 at 5:20AM

I never saw the 30s original, nor the 70s remake.
But I’ve seen PJ’s King Kong twice already and I liked it a lot. I think he and all the others who worked on the film did a great and amazing job.

I didn’t feel the movie was too long. I stopped thinking about time when I was watching it. Actually, I wouldn’t mind if it was even a bit LONGER :-)

I must say I didn’t get AT ALL what the people mentioning some “racist” issues were talking about! I haven’t noticed ANYTHING like that while watching the film. Such thoughts wouldn’t even come to my mind. Maybe it’s because I come from Europe, not America… I think that if somebody is offended by displaying the Skull Island natives as dark-skinned people or even pointing out that it is somewhat “disturbing” that a King Kong is a BLACK ape, then such comments are simply ridiculous and crazy.

I really enjoyed the movie, I never expected it to have a particularly strong story line - but on the other hand I was pleasantly surprised that it was very emotional and touching and it even brought tears to my eyes. And that does not happen too often.

SyntaxmaxDec 30, 2005 at 11:50AM

has anyone seen dead alive?!! There is alot of secrets in King Kong hinting to the movie. the scene when jack goes down to the hull of the boat you see cargo in the back ground labeled RAT MONKEY! and the scene with the dinosaurs running from the raptors is the same scene in dead alive when they are trying to escape from the island with the Rat Monkey! next time i want to watch it better to see if there is any more hints.

Mike in Swampeast MODec 30, 2005 at 4:30PM

I don’t really know what to make of Peter Jackson’s King Kong

Might I offer a suggestion why?

King Kong was the most fantastic thing I have seen at a theater. Not the best, mind you, but the most fantastic.

The line between reality and fantasy seems missing. I honestly do not know what was real and what was not. The Skull Island natives are a perfect example. Terrifyingly human yet somehow non-human.

The entire first act continually shifts between the “reality” of the day and the fantasy world of film. The arrival at Skull Island signals the beginning of the true fantasy, but it is so realistically depicted that even the jaded view finds a touch of wonderment regarding, “Does this place really exist?”

The third act brings us back to “reality” but is filmed with an almost etherial and dream-like quality. The “chorus line” of attractive natives and the almost cheesy skating scene again played with the fantasy vs. reality in a fantasy theme.

The length seems completely intentional. Just as I was beginning to think, “It’s time to see Kong,” I found myself enjoying the characterization. While part of me said, “enough” to the seemingly endless parade of oversized organisms, another wanted to see more and was a touch disappointed when Kong was subdued. Even the climb to the top of the Empire State Building, while draw-out, continued to proceed higher and higher and higher with Kong even jumping to destroy his attackers.

My impressions are also mixed. While mainly just something fun, it continues to make me think—rather unusual as my general idea of film is that it’s just supposed to be diversionary entertainment. King Kong is genuinely incomparable in my experience.

ummesterDec 30, 2005 at 9:55PM

I saw it for the second time last night and I got PJs Kong this time around.

PJs Kong isn’t interested in Anne Darrow at all, she is just a catalyst and then a kind of talisman for his own apish journey of discovery. PJ’s Kong is looking for something make his hated life worthwhile - symbolized by the sunset for the viewer.

Think about it, Kong is coverred in scars and his expression is a sour scowl for the most part. He sits outside a cave full of the bones of his relatives. He is grumpy, disheartened, depressed and sick of living in a kill or be killed world. He’s like shrek, he’s the toughest kid on the block but doesn’t like his lot. He has layers:)

Still, I thought the notion of trying to make an audience too empathetic towards a movie monster icon was a bit silly. He should have been left exactly as the 30’s Kong, with perhaps just the sunset appreciation to take the totally hard edge off him.

king kong fanJan 01, 2006 at 9:32AM

i really luved the film kk.

most of all i liked jimmy he is so hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OrianeJan 03, 2006 at 12:17AM

I thought the movie was well done on the whole, but the scenes on the island were ENTIRELY tooooooo looooooong. I didn’t enjoy the nonstop first-the-natives-attack-then-the-dinosaurs-attack-then-the-spiders-attack—then-the-worms-with-teeth-attack-then-the……if he could have picked TWO or THREE of those events then it would have been much better. I found myself looking at my watch and checking my cell phone wondering when they were going to get off the damned island and get it over with. At least 1/2 hour could have been trimmed from the island and another half-hour from the boat scenes, and it would have been a much tighter film.

ianJan 03, 2006 at 12:34AM

KONG CHONG LONG…way TOO long…3 hours of fake crap..The movie started out ok with at least a somewhat believable storyline…then oh boy here comes the middle of the movie where it seems more to be a battle in Hollywood with who can generate the goriest and freakiest scenes…c’mon man…this movie would have been a really GREAT movie had they just left most every scene (have to have at least one because of the original movie) that contained the dinosaurs. And the creepy oversized gory bugs and whatever those things in the swamp were. Take that sh_t out and I would even recommend the kids to see this. Poor judgement to use the gory scenes to wreck a great classic. The last 3rd of the movie was as good as the beginning, right through the end…too bad for the middle. I’d only give it a 2 beacuse of this.

the movie critic

king kong fanJan 04, 2006 at 2:35PM

who else thinks jimmy is fit

besteverJan 04, 2006 at 6:40PM

best movie ever. the end of patriarchy. ya’ll better recognize

pfongJan 05, 2006 at 12:35AM

Enjoyed your review, but I think you are wrong about one point. At it’s heart the movie is NOT a love story about an ape and a woman. Kong is in love with beauty, not with Ann Darrow. Ann is more a companion and toy to entertain Kong and something for Kong to protect and assert his dominance. Kong treats Ann like how you would treat a pet dog.

Notice how Kong brushes Ann aside at one point on Skull Island? She’s trying to do her vaudeville shtick again when he’s trying to watch the sunset. Kong climbs the empire state to see the sunrise, Ann is just along for the ride. When he does see it, Kong tells her that it’s beautiful. He never tells her she is beautiful.

When Jack Black’s character says, “twas beauty killed the beast”, he was right, it just wasn’t the beauty he was thinking of.

Son of KongJan 06, 2006 at 5:12PM

First…I loved the film…I am a huge fan of the original…so I liked some things better in this movie, and other things I think got too far away from the original and should have been left alone. That said, and I’m sorry to beat a dead horse, but this racist crap has got to stop. Note the following:

1. The natives offer up Ann to Kong and he digs her because she is white and blonde - she looks totally different than anything the natives or kong have ever seen before. If she were bright green with bright yellow hair, they would react the same way - maybe it’s reverse discrimination - ever think of that?

2. They traveled to some far-off island in the tropics…how many of you would expect a bunch of white dudes to greet you at the beach? Unless you trek to America, Eastern Europe or Canada - you can pretty much expect to run into people “of color” everywhere else in the world.

3. Kong himself? He’s a gorilla…a huge ape…nothing more should be implied.

4. It’s 1930something for cripe’s sake…this movie is pretty damn tame considering how racist America was back them.

Great movie…can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so I can pause and take a bathroom break halfway through it :)

mrs. jimmyJan 06, 2006 at 5:27PM

Jimmy was my fave character!

Soooo hot…MINE!!!!!!

JenJan 12, 2006 at 9:06PM

King Kong was wayyyyyyyyyyyy too long. If it had ended an hour earlier, I would have enjoyed it, but after three hours and ten minutes had passed, I was annoyed and wanted to leave. Great special effects, but needed some major editing.

TonyWenJan 14, 2006 at 12:50PM

非常棒的电影。只有Hollywood才能玩出这样的效果。Naomi Watts IS amazing!

9527Jan 15, 2006 at 11:31AM

i love king kong,not only what the picture has in it ,but because of what the loves which between animals and girl .it has nothing with money,so it’s turely love

EliJan 15, 2006 at 9:39PM

Loved all those scenes of sailing aboard ship. Too often

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.