Speaking of New York, some of the film’s better scenes take place there. The first act actually works best, setting up the voyage of maniacal filmmaker Carl Denham (a woefully miscast Jack Black), his co-star Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) and screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody) as they go to the uncharted mysterious Skull Island. Once they get to Skull Island, unfortunately the film stalls, as it beleagueredly rambles to one bloated FX scene to another. The constant barrage of CGI for CGI sake is mind numbing not to mention Jackson’s over reliance on shaky-cam slo-mo shots which will leave you with a headache. Kong’s interaction with Ann basically maintains that they make puppy eyes endlessly at each other. The final act in which Kong is brought back to New York (though how Denham and his crew get him there remains a mystery) is much better than the Skull Island stuff but the carnage is abruptly halted for more Kong and Ann mushy stuff. The much touted Kong and Ann ice skating scene is pretty lame. (All I could think about is how come that giant ass ape doesn’t fall through the ice!) Finally Kong gets his ass up on The Empire State Building and beats his chest and blows up some planes before getting gunned down.
This big budget remake has none of the majesty of the 1933 original or none of the kitschy fun of the 1976 remake. Heck even King Kong Escapes was more entertaining than this mess! The best parts of the movie are direct lifts and homages to the original, as well as a wink at Jackson’s Dead-Alive. Co-star Colin Hanks also co-starred with Black in Orange County. Andy Serkis (who played Gollum in Jackson’s Rings Trilogy) was the performance model for Kong and also appears as the ship’s cook.