A film director brings a crew to an uncharted island where
they encounter a colossal ape that kidnaps their leading lady.
King Kong (2005)
Directed by Peter Jackson
Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Starring Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black, Andy Serkis,
Colin Hanks, Thomas Kretschmann, Jamie Bell, Kyle Chandler
Remake of 1933's King Kong
Oscar Wins - Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing,
Best Sound Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Art Direction
There's a lot of love for this version of Kong, and I don't want to step on that. This version just misses a lot more than it hits for me. I'm more partial to the original 1933 film, and I also really like what they did with the character in 2017's Kong: Skull Island. And Jackson's Kong has a lot going for it. The visual effects for Kong still hold up, but they look sloppy everywhere else. The film's bloated, three-hour runtime is unacceptable. Cooper and Schoedsack proved you could tell this story in under two hours and it would still be epic. Add some serious miscasting to that, and it's no wonder I haven't felt the need to return to this one for nearly twenty years.
My biggest issue with the film is a bit of a paradox because I love the guy so much. Jack Black was horribly miscast as greedy film producer Carl Denham. Black is too likable to play a scumbag. That's really it. Also, Adrien Brody is bad at interacting with visual effects. He doesn't seem to be taking it seriously. Only Naomi Watts is doing a great job, apart from the GOAT himself Andy Serkis, pulling double duty as Kong and that poor chef that gets swallowed head-first by the big slug monster. That bug pit scene will always freak me out.
It takes an hour to get to the island and another hour to leave the island. And there's an extended cut of the film. I mean, how much Kong does one person really need in their life? I do appreciate Jackson fleshing out the side characters a bit more so that you care when they die. Plus, James Newton Howard's score is pure gold. I think Jackson had the opportunity to make this film the definitive version of Kong. But it got lost in a lot of self-indulgence that hasn't aged very well.