King Kong ★★★★½

I watched the original from 1933 in preparation for this movie. I appreciate the 1933 movie for its importance in movie history, and on the whole I thought it was a good movie but not a great one. If you ask me, a movie can be a classic and still not get a high rating. It is worth noting that I have not seen the 1976 version of "King Kong".

While on the subject of the 1933 movie, I noticed one pretty big difference between that movie and the 2005 version: in the former Ann Darrow appears in the theater together with the chained Kong, but in the latter she is not there. My guess is that this change was made to clearly show that Ann did not want anything to do with the exploitation of Kong and that she would have preferred that he be left on the island.

There were only a few seats left when Peter Jackson’s "King Kong" started, about 20 minutes later than announced due to the number of people who showed up. My little brother had seen this movie a couple of days earlier, and he did not think highly of it but said that I would love it. The time had come to see if he was right.

"King Kong" is a truly great movie and cinema at its best. It is visually beautiful and there is plenty of eye candy. I found myself smiling at the wonderful special effects, and it is difficult not to see Kong as a real ape and a character in his own right, just as was the case with Gollum in "The Two Towers". The length of the movie did not bother me; in fact, I think the movie benefitted from the longer running time as it allowed for more character and story development compared to the original. For one thing, I think the relationship between Ann and Kong was more obvious in this version than in the 1933 movie. Furthermore, I feared that the first part of the movie, before the characters arrive on Skull Island, would not be as interesting as the rest of the movie, but that was not the case.

Perhaps some of the dangers facing the characters on the island are overkill (I’m particularly thinking of a scene involving insects and some other weird creatures), but it works in the movie and that is the important thing. The score is okay but does not stand out in any way, something which might be a good thing in some cases, though not in this one in my opinion. Also, I cannot make up my mind if Jack Black was the best actor to play Carl Denham as it is at times difficult to see him in such a serious movie.

The scene in Central Park with the frozen lake is excellent and one of my favorite scenes in the movie, if not the favorite. There is something magical about it, and scenes like that one demonstrate that this movie is not only about special effects.

One question that surfaces is whether there will be an extended edition of the movie or not. Given what Peter Jackson did with the "Lord of the Rings" movies, I think I will hold off on buying the DVD immediately when it is released.

In summary, I highly recommend "King Kong". The central message of the story is the same as in the original, but in this version it stands stronger than ever.