Let me be the first to admit that there's nothing wrong with a long movie, nothing at all. "Titanic" was a long movie that was as exactly as long as it needed to be. "Gone with the Wind" was a really long movie that was exactly as long as it needed to be. "Dances with Wolves" was a long movie that I wish had been even longer when I saw it in the theater. But "King Kong"? Phhewww...this sucker clocks in at least 30-60 minutes longer than it needs to be. While it played, I kept inadvertently thinking to myself, "Boy, we really should be out to sea by now...they haven't reached the island yet?...man, are they EVER gonna find Ann?...jeez, when are we gonna go back to Manhattan already?..." and so on. Hand to God--I actually yawned twice during the last third of this movie. I even closed my eyes for a second before I realized, 'hey...you can't just rewind this when you wake up!'
Sure, many scenes in "King Kong" were thrilling (e.g., LOVED the T-Rex sequence) and, yes, I even teared up a little a couple of times. And I must say, Kong himself was beautifully realized--he looked and acted like a REAL gorilla (albeit a tiny bit anthropomorphized)! But I gotta tell you...I was more relieved than exhilarated when this movie ended. (If I saw one more flyover of the native village, I was gonna scream!) Peter...baby...why spend so much time developing all these extraneous secondary characters if you don't really have much closure with them by the end. For example, the ship's captain and Jimmy...once we leave Skull Island...pfffftttt...we never them again. Why all the backstory scenes about them? As with the original version, Jackson should have concentrated simply on the four main characters throughout: Kong, Ann, Driscoll and Denham. Period.
The problem is Jackson tried to make an epic out of a thriller, when these two approaches are generally exclusive to each other. The original "Kong" MOVED because it was simply a thriller and content to be so, but Jackson's remake starts and stops, and starts and stops, and starts and stops, merely frustrating the thrillseeker in us that wants to keep going every time Jackson establishes some momentum. But instead Jackson pauses to "delve" or "explore" or "elaborate" a la David Lean or something like that. One can excuse Jackson for shooting so much material for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy--consider the rich source material . But how anyone could have taken the 100-minute original and nearly doubled it for a remake has far too much memory on his Mac. He should have saved all the extra footage (and I'm betting there's a LOT more we didn't see in the theatrical cut) for the DVD release as he did for LOTR. Mr. Jackson's first priority as a filmmaker (well, all filmmakers) is to present the most appropriate cut for THEATRICAL audiences during the film's initial exhibition in theaters. In this case, more WAS less. Much shorter movies in the past have had intermissions!
Honestly, though I certainly enjoyed "King Kong", I really have no desire to see this movie again--I just couldn't bring myself to sit through all the filler just to get to the good parts. How I wish Jackson and/or Universal would consider releasing a 2-hour DVD version. Hey, it's happened before, so what's the harm? Inside of a year there'll be 17 versions out on DVD anyway...what's one more? But having to sit through a 3-4 hour DVD version someday? I'll take a pass.
Do I recommend seeing "King Kong"? Of course. You'll probably enjoy it immensely, despite it's overlength. But if you do go, by all means lay off the Jumbo Coke until at least 90 minutes in! You'll thank me later.