Time: 187 mins.
Won Academy Award for Best Sound, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects. Nominations for Best Art Direction.
SYNOPSIS: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow. The beauty and the beast meet their fate back in New York where the filmmaker displays the ape in quest of his own glory. His exploitation of Kong ultimately leads to catastrophe for everyone including a playwright in love with Ann who tries to save her from Kong and her destiny.
BOTTOM LINE: Being a fan of both Jackson and the original, I really wanted to like this movie...and sometimes I did. What kills the enjoyment of this version is not only the film's length, but the utter lack of character depth (except for Kong) and the endless, mindnumbing action sequences that add little value to the story and just elongate the torture. Visual effects are a wonderful thing, especially when they can create a living, breathing creature like Kong. Andy Serkis does it again as the man behind the giant ape's soul. If only Jackson pumped as much life into his human creations, he might have had a real winner here. Ann Darrow may be beautiful, charming and sweet, but frankly that wouldn't be enough to get my ass onto that island to save her. Her beauty is all we're given to work with and that just ain't enough. There are even fewer reasons to care about the crew, so their various deaths at the hands of giant bugs, vicious dinosaurs and an angry ape just become an endless parade of bloody, meaningless carnage, which takes away from the film's core story beauty taming the beast.
Given that she had nothing to act against, Watts turns in a brilliant performance as the terrified, yet fascinated leading lady. It could not have been easy and she truly makes you believe Kong is alive and well. Their scenes together are the only entertaining aspect of this venture. Why Brody would accept such a worthless and empty part, considering his resume, is a mystery. He has no chemistry with Watts and little to do but look befuddled, scared and horrified. Black has wonderful moments as the ruthless filmmaker out for fame at any cost, but even his character turns out to be a fairly one trick pony. KONG is gorgeously crafted, but it brings nothing new to the mystique of the tale. I normally love long movies, but there's not enough plot or chracter development to justify the length. By the time they reach New York I just didn't care anymore about anyone...even Kong. Clearly Jackson was blinded by his love of the original film and after his worldwide success there wasn't anyone who was going to go against his vision, which is a real shame. A firmer hand and better script could have really turned this into something special.