Like most of you, if not all, I am a big fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, so I was looking forward to seeing what he did with King Kong. Now, I’m only sort of familiar with the original, but due to its cultural saturation I know the basic story, and Jackson told that story... unfortunately it took him 3 hours to do it when it could have been done in probably half the time.
As you might expect, it was visually beautiful. He managed to capture the depression era best of times/worst of times aesthetic very well. Skull island was amazing. From the fantastic geology to the various monsters, it all looked amazing! The scenes with the giant bugs should be required viewing for D+D players and DMs. The brontosaurus stampede was a little silly, but it worked ok. The Kong vs T-Rex (x3) fight was equally impressive.
What didn’t work was the overabundance of time that was spent on the scenery and the action, and so little spent on either character development or story development. For all the spectacle, I couldn’t help but feel bored, I think in large part because of the overall length of the movie, during much of which there was so little dialogue.
Even Avatar was half an hour shorter than this!
Other things that bothered me:
For all the time the beauty character (Ann Darrow as played by Naomi Watts) spends barefoot in the jungle, sliding down muddy hills, being chased by T-Rexs, giant bats, carried around by Kong, etc. She manages to remain distractingly clean.
During the fight between Kong and the T-Rex’s, Kong gets bit and kicked numerous times, all without ANY blood. In fact, for all the violence in the movie, the level of gore remains notably low, making the suspension of disbelief rather difficult (if not impossible) to maintain.
The kid shooting giant locusts off of a guy with a machine gun (which he’s never used before), and never hitting the guy.
Jack Black’s character. His mindset was the most prototypical D+D adventurer I think I’ve ever seen on screen.
The Skull Island Natives worked really well. They were creepy, clearly murderous, and on screen just long enough to be interesting before moving on and not being seen again. Perfect!
Overall I’d give it a 2/5. If you want to see the good bits, the fast forward button is your friend.