There have been several versions of the movie "King Kong", but Peter Jackson's is currently the most recent. To say that this film is a big budget Hollywood production is an understatement, and Peter Jackson alone was paid $20 million before filming. The final budget estimate was a shocking $207 million, making it one of the most expensive films ever made in history.
The film managed to bring together a pretty impressive cast. Playing the heroine, Ann Darrow, is Naomi Watts. The director of the fictitious film, Carl Denham, is played by Jack Black in one of his only serious roles. Lastly, there is Adrien Brody, playing the role of Jack Driscoll, the screenwriter for the fictitious film.
The film begins with Ann Darrow losing her job at the theater. While roaming the streets, she meets Carl Denham, who is also on the run from the movie studio that is trying to cancel his film's production to cut its losses. He convinces her to play the female lead role and they board a boat for mysterious "Skull Island", along with the camera crew and male lead, Bruce Baxter.
After reaching Skull Island, they go to shore only to find a tribe of very primitive and hostile natives. After escaping to the ship, Ann is kidnapped and given as a sacrifice to the monster on the island. The film and ship crews pursue her in an attempt to rescue her, only to meet the mighty King Kong.
The first thing that amazed me about this film was its incredible special effects. There is a massive amount of computer animation in this film, yet all of it looks perfect. The entire 1930s era New York is rendered, yet looks realistic. King Kong looks just like a real gorilla, albeit massive, and moves the way we would expect a gorilla to move. The movie managed to win the 2006 Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects and it is not difficult to see why.
The acting in this film is pretty good. Jack Black starts off in a very comedic role, but descends into a chilling darkness by the end of the film. Naomi Watts is very believable and shows her emotion for both Kong and Driscoll very well. I was also quite impressed by Adrien Brody, who plays an adventurous sort throughout the film.
The primary problem that I have with this movie is that it just feels too long. The island scenes, in particular, seem to drag on and it gets to the point where it seems like they are just doing a series of CGI demonstrations that don't add anything to the overall film. At three hours, the movie is certainly long and it could have used some more editing to shorten it. I also felt that the movie made some unnecessary character developments that are killed, including the young shipmate.
Overall, I thought this movie had a lot of potential, but could have used more editing. It is definitely a good movie, but not a great movie. It is worth seeing just for the amazing special effects alone, however, and I highly recommend it.