King Kong (2005)

[rate 4.5]
Note to self: Never see a Peter Jackson movie on a full bladder, and never, under any circumstances, go to see one after 8pm or you may find yourself closing the theater/mall down with the security crew; as I ambled out of the theater brushing down my chair hair I asked an employee how long the movie was…. he answered “Three hours and twenty minutes”. A policeman on security detail replied with “But it was worth it, wasn’t it?”

Yes, it was absolutely, incredibly, heartbreakingly worth it.

Just desserts I suppose for those of us who were baffled at Peter Jackson for insisting on remaking King Kong despite our expectations that he give us a live action version of “The Hobbit” hot on the heels of the Rings trilogy. I mean [LAST MINUTE SPOILER ALERT], everybody in the world knows that Kong dies at the end (and for those of you who didn’t, now you do, sorry)… so what’s the big deal?

Why did Peter Jackson want to remake a dusty, tired, trite and seemingly unwanted film?

Because he never stopped loving Kong, something the rest of us may have done. No, that’s not it, we don’t forget… I think that we block it out because it hurts to watch the third act; I’m fairly sure that I’ve cried at the end of every version I’ve every seen. With Kong’s certain demise lurking in the back of my mind I was resolved to remain emotionally detached from WETA’s tricksy computer animated ape. I failed of course, but as I was sitting in front of everyone else in the theater there’s not a soul that can prove that I had tears streaming down my face as the credits rolled.

The special effects are magnificent, seemingly better than anything coming out of Lucasfilm these days. The action is intense. I was twitching and jerking and leaping in my seat, hissing and biting my finger during certain sections of the film. From all accounts this version of King Kong is truer to the intent of the original film than the original film itself, reintroducing excised portions of events on the island and building in a great deal of foreshadowing that wasn’t unappreciated. It’s to the film’s benefit that Peter Jackson wasn’t allowed to make his version of Kong any sooner than he did… thanks to the technology applied I think that the look and feel of this film will stand the test of time. I’d be surprised if another big budget version of King Kong was attempted within the next 30 years unless it’s some kind of “you are there” holographic thingy, and that will just suck. Hats off to Peter Jackson, his cast & his crew.

Don’t miss this film at the theater.
Don’t take kids.
Don’t drink a Big Gulp before you go.

And don’t mess around with Kong.

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