There's no better way for Hollywood to excise itself of its racist past than by hiring a New Zealander to remake one of its most renowned films, 1933's "King Kong." Unless the big gorilla is meant to represent a large, threatening Maori, director Peter Jackson's remake is probably less a critique of white and black relations than it is an expression of Jackson's overwhelming need to give the CGI-friendly actor Andy Serkis a job.
This "Kong" doesn't revisit the original's racial undertones; it has a symbolism all its own. As anyone who's read a magazine lately knows, Jackson has evidently been on the Olsen twin's diet. He's gone from a weighty "Lord of the Rings" king to a bony auteur. Alas, the gorilla must represent the old, bigger Peter and the character Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) must be the new, little Peter. After all, Driscoll, the playwright who pens Carl Denham's (Jack Black) masterpiece movie and saves Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) from Kong, is an artist. Kong is the huge, persecuted beast. It's not hard to see the Peter Jackson metaphors in it all. King Kong is the poor, abused fatty. Driscoll is the sleek lover, waiting for his chance to steal away the beauty.
Unfortunately, at a daunting three hours, the drama in "King Kong" is drawn out even more than the analysis in this review. Jackson may be a master of action sequences and the use of CGI, but when it comes to convincing audiences of the authenticity of a dramatic sequence, he could take a lesson or two from the humps who direct greeting-card commercials. It takes Jackson a good 75 minutes before revealing the beast. The so-called touching sequences between Ann and Kong go on so long they begin to feel like donation commercials for an animal shelter. Ann performs a little vaudeville act for Kong to win his affection. In perhaps the film's most tortured, ridiculous sequence, Ann teaches Kong a bit of sign language. This is revisited in the film's climactic sequence, but is explained to the audience in voiceover by Ann just to make sure any actual primates watching don't miss the meaning.
As usual, the filmmakers swing and play with their computers, but when it comes to dialogue, they're throwing something stinky against that window.
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