King Kong

Rated 3.0

Peter Jackson’s take on the 1933 classic isn’t nearly the fiasco that the 1976 remake was; in fact, he does the original considerable honor with some jaw-dropping special effects. But Jackson repeats the ’76 version’s biggest and dumbest mistake by having Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) fall in love with Kong as much as he does with her. It makes Kong more a pet than a menace, and it makes Ann look nutty: Where does she think this relationship is going? Jackson (and co-writers Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh) have a penchant for laborious literalism and extraneous characters that inflates the running time to over three hours; the second hour, on Kong’s island, is by far the best. By the time the action returns to New York, the pace has grown sluggish, as if Jackson can’t bear to bring things to an end.