If it wasn't obvious after his successful adaptation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, director Peter Jackson has quickly established himself as the modern king of cinematic spectacle. Like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron before him, merely attaching his name to a project is now enough to draw millions into the movie theaters. So it seems only fitting that he attempt to remake the movie that inspired him to become a filmmaker, as throngs of people flock to the cineplex to see his vision of King Kong.
It's not as if the classic wasn't due for a remake. The original 1933 version was a spectacle for its time and remains a cinematic landmark to this day. The contemporized 1976 version was also a spectacle for its time, though it's become far less memorable thirty years later. If Jackson's goal was simply to reinvent Kong with revolutionary special effects for a new generation, then mission accomplished.
You probably already know the basic details of the story. Movie director meets actress. Crew finds island and meets natives. Actress meets giant monkey. Crew captures monkey with ambitions for Broadway. Monkey meets theater critics and renovates New York. Squadron of aircraft meet monkey on top of the Empire State Building. Monkey meets demise.
What's new is the level of detail, which almost doubles the original's 100-minute running time to more than 3 hours. The audience is introduced to a beautifully rendered Depression-era New York—not exactly the best time for a struggling vaudeville entertainer like Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts of The Ring) to find her big break as an actress. But a chance encounter leads her to struggling film director Carl Denham (Jack Black of School of Rock), who's desperate to find a ...1
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