Friday, May 12, 2006

King Kong Revisited

We finally got around to renting Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong a few weekends ago. It took us three days to make it through the thing.

First, the good news: yes, it's bigger, louder, and longer than the original, and every single frame is a beautiful visual composition. Yes, the big ape is so well-done that for most of the movie you forget that he's just CGI. Yes, it's a far, far better effort than Kong's last screen outing, the spectacularly awful 1986 film, King Kong Lives! (There's one that Linda Hamilton doesn't usually list on her c.v.!) And yes, I am reluctantly becoming a fan of the acting skills of Jack Black, and Andy Sirkis clearly has a great future ahead of him as the next Al Leong.

Did I mention that it's long? Really long?

The Kid lost interest about an hour in, right after the "gorge full of giant bugs" scene. My Wife dropped out somewhere towards the end of the second hour. I made it all the way through to the end, but it was just sheer bloody-minded determination that kept me going.

The test of a remake has to be not whether it's technically superior to the original -- which Jackson's Kong clearly is -- but whether it's an improvement on the telling of the story, and in this regard, I think the new King Kong is clearly a bigger, louder, longer, and marvelously expensive failure.

But that's just my opinion. What do you think?