Saw Peter Jackson's King Kong last week - a fantastic piece of cinema. Many of the negative criticisms have been over the extended running time. I remember reading that the studio bods were horrified when they heard the director's cut was three hours long, but after viewing it they decided it was fine as it was, and left it alone. Having said that, I think it was too long for what was essentially a simple (and well-known) story; but don't get me wrong - it wasn't too long in the Oh-God-when's-this-gonna-end? sense (I didn't glance at my watch once throughout the screening); I just think there was a lot of unnecessary character development with the secondary bods (i.e. Jamie Bell's character and the captain, etc.) It didn't make sense to build these characters up when they vanish completely from the storyline in the final third of the film. Still,it's an editorial quibble. Like I've already said, fantastic cinema! The realisation of Kong will go down as a milestone in VFX history. Oscars for VFX, surely. The Skull Island segment was just amazing. The fight with the dinos was easily the stand-out set-piece. (The brontasaurus stampede, however, was a bit chaotic, and not entirely successful). The scene with the bugs - if you've seen it, you'll know the bit I mean - has to be the most unsettling scene in the history of cinema. No discernible music, just endless shots of the lead characters being attacked by wave after wave of bigger and more outlandish-looking creatures. It was the relentlessness which was so unnerving. I thought at one point, "this is going to go on until the end of the movie!" And poor Andy Serkis! What a way to go!
Overall, a movie head and shoulders above most Hollywoood blockbuster fare. Peter Jackson is fast eclipsing the Spielbergs and the Camerons of mainstream cinema. I hear he's taking a break and then directing 'The Lovely Bones' - which will definitely be a change of pace for him! I've read the book and it's as far removed from his fantasy epics as you can get. Whatever he does in the future, I'll be there, sitting front and centre in the multiplex.