2005 will surely go down in history as the Year of the Remake. Theatres saw rehashed television shows like Bewitched and The Dukes of Hazzard hit the big screen, while old movies ideas like War of the Worlds and The House of Wax were reused, usually given a big budget do-over.
Unless you have been living on a remote island with only a giant ape and some restless cannibals for company you must have heard that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has taken on the biggest recycling project of the year—a remake of the classic 1933 film King Kong. In doing so Jackson has created an epic three-hour movie that adds to the legacy of the original without overshadowing it.
As you might expect the effects are amazing. A T-Rex chase scene is thrilling; Kong’s home base of Skull Island makes Jurassic Park look like Central Park and the Spider pit scene, cut from the 1933 original has been restored in all its gruesome glory but the most amazing thing here is how Jackson (and actor Andy Serkis) make us actually feel something for a 25 foot tall computer animated ape by combining 21st century technological wizardry with old-fashioned heart. Kong Redux behaves more like a real ape than the original, but the emotional core that made the 1933 version so great is still there. This Kong seems as genuine as any of the real-life actors he is working opposite.
With this version of King Kong Peter Jackson confirms his post LOTR reputation as a virtuoso of the epic film, infusing big-picture storytelling with a human touch.