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January 7, 2005

-- Movie review --

A colossal King Kong a little too big

By Teague Neal

King Kong, the colossal new movie, has its delights.

The fabled story has been painted afresh, with directorial flair, stunning scenery and a storyline that honors the tale that captured the hearts and minds of generations.

New Zealand director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings), along with his Oscar winning Kiwi team, has brought much more life to the ape than the beast had in the 1933 classic.

The stunning scenery of the New Zealand jungle also brings an extraordinary, ethereal feel to the island scenes that seems out of this world.

But the footage supposedly set on the Depression era streets of New York looks and feels artificial. It looks completely computerized or set too obviously on a studio lot. The heavy use of computer images detracts from the magic of the movie.

Scenic qualms set aside, the acting is topnotch.

The main character is Ann Darrow (Naiomi Watts), a Broadway actress out of a job after her theater closes its doors.

Carl Denham (Jack Black) plays a self-centered filmmaker who convinces his cohorts and actors that he’s setting sail to Singapore when in reality he has no clue where he’s going – and neither does the crew of the boat.

The story gets tiring at times as the movie surpasses the three-hour mark.

Scenes of the crew and actors running into trouble on the island are too frequent and last too long. I noticed clusters of people throughout the packed theater losing interest quickly.

Though King Kong will leave you in awe, it will not leave the lasting impression that Jackson wanted.

My advice is to continue to treasure the original. If you haven’t seen it, do.

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