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King Kong (PG-13)

Release Date: December 14th, 2005 by Universal Pictures.
The Cast: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis, Jamie Bell, Kyle Chandler, Lobo Chan, Thomas Kretschmann, Evan Parke, Colin Hankds, John Sumner.
Directed by Peter Jackson.

BASIC PREMISE: Film producer Carl (Black) and his crew, including Ann (Watts), his lead actress, and Jack (Brody), his screenwriter, travel by ship to Skull Island, where they encounter King Kong and bring him back to New York City.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: For those looking for lots of action and amazing special effects, this is definitely the movie for you. The only part that drags is the first act when Carl and his crew of filmmakers get to know one another while they head out to sea. The second act kicks off when they reach the island and battle creepy, violent inhabitants. Peter Jackson’s visual magic explodes with the arrival of Kong Kong. The CGI effects make him look very much like an ape, but with human characteristics—he laughs and gets angry. Not surprisingly, he develops a strong bond with beautiful, blonde Ann when he snatches her away. She entertains him with somersaults while he cheers her on. In this version of King Kong , there are also dinosaurs and giant insects to fight off before the crew can head back. This action-packed second act never seems to end as Carl continues to runaway and battle the different creatures—big and small. The transition between the second and third act is too abrupt as Kong is captured and then, all-of-sudden, he’s on display in a Broadway show. Nevertheless, the CGI effects kick back into gear as Kong springs loose and wreaks havoc through New York City until his inevitable downfall on the Empire State Building. Naomi Watts is very well-cast and gives a decent performance, but Jack Black feels out-of-place. Also, the talented Adrien Brody doesn’t much to do other than join along for the ride. Sure, King Kong is loud with extravagant visual eye-candy, but it’s undeniably entertaining and easy to sit through—especially given the three-hour running time.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, the bond between King Kong and Ann doesn’t lead to as many tears as in the original. You feel slightly sad when the giant gorilla gets shot down the Empire State Building, but it’s not heartbreaking or moving in any way. The original showed Kong’s last breath as he lies on the street, but this version kills him right away. Peter Jackson has to learn to slow down a bit to let the emotions set in.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough moving scenes and a miscast Jack Black.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Very little romance and drama unlike the original, but undeniably entertaining with spectacular CGI effects and action sequences that will knock your socks off.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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