Peter Jackson’s King Kong has one of the most extended and impressive silent (non-dialogue) passages I’ve ever seen in a sound film — the love story between Anne Darrow and Kong. It’s a real love story, too, complex and moving — sort of like a little silent film nestled inside what is otherwise a bloated andself-indulgent mess.
I thought the overall script, and the dialogue especially, was dreadful
– veering between clumsy thought-balloon character exposition and
failed wit. The long build-up to the arrival at the island in the
original film is masterful by comparison — breezy, suspenseful, funny
and entertaining. The build-up in the new film is just tiresome. About
twenty minutes into it I seriously considered walking out and waiting
to see the rest of the film on DVD someday — but that would have been
a mistake. The film really takes off with the brontosaurus stampede –
and when Darrow and the ape hook up, the film elevates itself to a
higher plane (as it were.)
Naomi Watts and the CG ape give star performances, particularly when they interact, and the battle with the T-Rexes is not only thrilling visually but exciting emotionally, because it drives the relationship between Darrow and Kong.
Finally, in the stunning, breathtaking — almost nauseating — vertigo of the
climax on the Empire State Building, the Darrow character is given a
chance to repay Kong in kind for his earlier heroics in her behalf.
It’s a genuine dramatic climax to this wondrous silent film within a
It’s too much, I guess, to hope for an “audience cut” of the film on DVD
some day — one that eliminates most of the pre-island stuff and
concentrates on the real magical heart of the film, a brilliant new
take on an old theme . . . beauty and the beast.