Dec. 13, 2005 -- There's a lot of talk in Hollywood about a 6,000-pound gorilla. Well, they finally found one. The budget for "King Kong" weighs in at $200 million, but this three-hour film just might save Hollywood's entire year and lift box office receipts above last year's total.
"Kong" could be another "Titanic," and not because it sinks in the second act. It could become the second film ever to do $1 billion internationally at the box office. It's just so much fun, it's like being 9 years old at the movies all over again. This is one of those movies that's so exciting, you don't even mind when you drop your popcorn.
Director Peter Jackson didn't just remake "King Kong," he made it better. He added the Adrien Brody character, a love interest for Naomi Watts, who took on the Fay Wray part. He also re-created the spider pit sequence, a portion that was cut from the original -- too icky and scary. It's still icky and scary. The beetles are the size of Volkswagens.
Dinosaurs were in the 1933 original, and there are dinosaurs here. But now, it's King Kong to the rescue. The computer animation is so amazing, the wall between the screen and the seats disappears and you're part of the movie. But it's more than the action we see, it's the emotion we feel.
In the original, Fay Wray screams and tries to escape in every scene she has with Kong. But Peter Jackson adds compassion and tenderness. Andy Serkis -- who was Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" movies -- is now supplying Kong's expressions and emotions.
The ending? Peter Jackson wouldn't monkey around with that. But this time, the blonde wants to save Kong, and we want her to save him, too.
If the academy had guts, they'd nominate King Kong this year for best actor. He's going to make more people cheer and more people cry than any other movie star this year. Grade: A