I went to a 10:30am showing of "King Kong" today. I hope Mr. Peter Jackson gets to keep my $7.25 (the ticket price), because he deserves it (there is an in-joke here, but if you don't get it, that's okay). Incidentally, I am probably one of the 29 people in Southern California who have not seen "The Lord of the Rings" extravaganza, but after having seen "King Kong", if I had a hat, I would take it off to him -- yeah, he is that good.
The movie is three hours long and we were forced to watch 30 minutes worth of commercials, but once the THX sound kicked in, it was hell of a ride. Mr. Jackson is into details, and in a massive project such as this, details do help. For instance, he makes sure to show that Kong is vegetarian, so the worry that the giant ape might "eat" the screaming blonde is ridiculous. In another instance, Kong is shown to have such powerful arms that he rips a dinosaur's jaws open -- a subtle hint that the beast is only playing with the willowy blonde when he slaps her around a little, because if he wants to, he can kill her in a second. If nothing else, Peter Jackson should win an award for being "unpretentious", as in he does not pretend he is anywhere near the "Bergman" territory. The picture is a 200-million-dollar B movie and the best cornball flick Hollywood can offer.
It is not flawless, however. I spotted a couple of badly rendered CGI figures, and I thought the movie should end with Naomi Watts and Kong only, as the appearance of Adrien Brody seems intrusive. My research tells me that Peter Jackson is 15 years younger than Steven Spielberg. When "Raiders of the Lost Ark" came out in 1981, Mr. Jackson was 20 years old, so he must have been influenced by that "nonstop thrill ride" school of filmmaking, the torch of which we should be glad that someone is now carrying.