King Kong

I had today off, and after enjoying lunch at P.F.Chang’s, I went to see the Peter Jackson version of King Kong

I’d seen the original King Kong again on TCM last weekend, and that definitely influenced my view of Peter Jackson’s epic.
Perhaps its the short tightness of the original Kong, but I found Peter Jackson’s version a tad too long for my taste. Don’t get me wrong. His vision of Depression era New York City is amazing. Skull Island is a place that will resonate in my imagination. Seeing the worlds collide with Kong in the Big Apple is memorable.
But I think the movie goes on too long. It takes too long for us to get onto the ship, and to Skull Island. Skull Island itself could have been tightened, trimmed, especially a too-long battle between Kong and T-Rexes (multiple!). Even back in New York, we don’t get down to brass tacks soon enough.
On the other hand, its a wild ride. The acting is top notch, especially Naomi Watts as the strong, vulnerable, sexy, sweet and compassionate Ann Darrow. I’ve decided to cast one of my longtime NPCs, Asteria, as Naomi Watts, based on Watts performance here. Black captures the feral madness of a movie producer with nothing to lose. Adrien Brody completes the love triangle between man, Kong and woman and sells us on it. And Kong is a revelation. Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame) brings Kong to the full level of a fully fleshed character.
I loved Skull Island, a lost world island brought to life in a way that stays with you. I’ve not been as impressed by dinosaurs on screen since the original Jurassic Park.
There are even a few floruishes that are homage to the original film–Denham even muses about casting Fay in his movie, only to be told that she is working on a film currently for RKO. (No coincidence I am sure, RKO produced the original Kong). In another scene, Denham films a movie scene between Darrow and Bruce Baxter, an actor who comes along on the trip. Baxter plays the first mate in the movie, and the filmed sequence and dialogue is actually a scene from the original Kong.
So, be prepared for a three hour movie experience, but even with the caveat that it could have been trimmed, go see Kong. Be amazed.