A story about this — 5 years ago
You know the score: giant gorilla gets completely obsessed with the barbie doll-like actress he keeps clutched in his hand; ends up on top of Empire State building. Some stuff in between.
I think I got a bit more out of this from having just read Peter Jackson’s autobiography. Apparently the original KK was (one of?) the first movie(s) he ever saw (on tv!) and not only did it totally stir up the imagination of an 8-year boy, but set him on a path of movie-making and special effects obsession.
Jump forward, and the 40-year-old Oscar winner finally gets a chance to remake Kong – but you really do see the influence of that 8-year-old! Alas, the film seems to me to try to be too much at once: yes, there’s some really cool stuff that would have any kid wide-eyed – Kong versus T-rex, anyone? – but it’s also apparent that PJ has done a course on storytelling (the book told me so!) and there’s a huge dollop of that present, in the form of the bonding between Ann and Kong, and other… character progression? It just didn’t sit well together for me.
Worse, though, is having just made the three 3-hour-plus LotR movies, Jackson seems incapable of cutting the running time down: this is another epic, and there are just too many scenes allowed to creep on for a bit too long. I ended up watching it over three nights, an hour at a time, and it really does fit that pattern! Hour one is all build-up: basically, getting to the island, exploring the characters, setting up the relationship between Ann and Jack. Hour two is solid action, as we reach Skull Island and meet the monkey. I haven’t seen the original version, but I understand having so much of the movie on the island is a departure: really, it’s an excuse for lots of boys’ own adventure stuff, dinosaurs and nasty giant bugs, oodles of SFX.
That all works for me, and I even liked a lot of the New York action in the final hour. What I didn’t really get on with was the portrayal of the Ann/Kong ‘relationship’ – yes, I get it, but the minutes-long soulful looks were just… yawn.
Anyway. Could have been better. Overall, just needed to decide if it was an adventure with a soulful side, or a message movie with a bit of adventure – rather than the stuck in the middle it managed.