Box art for King Kong

King Kong

action & adventure, drama, thrillers


Oscar® winner Peter Jackson directs Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody in this cinematic vision filled with non-stop action, terrifying creatures and groundbreaking special effects.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    84%
  • Audience Score
    50%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 13
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
0 out of 5
Violence
5 out of 5

Boisterous, spectacular remake of 1933 classic.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie includes numerous violent scenes that may be frightening for younger viewers and some action pushing the PG-13 edge. Specifically, humans are attacked on the island by giant bugs, bats, and dinosaurs in sustained, pounding action scenes. Kong shifts from scary (chest-pounding and roaring) to sympathetic; he's attacked brutally by men in tanks and planes, shooting guns. Characters drink and smoke cigarettes; Ann wears a slip through most of her adventures on the island. Most troubling is the depiction of the black island natives, who appear as nightmarish, surreal images, chanting and shaking when they sacrifice Ann to Kong. The showbiz version of this scene (recreated in New York) uses blackface performers.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Ann and Kong. How does their mutual affection extend beyond person and pet, to something more complicated? How does Denham's exploitation of Kong parallel his exploitation of people? How do the military attacks make Kong increasingly sympathetic (even an underdog, out of place in the city), as he tries to protect Ann and then she tries to protect him? How do the blackface performers serve as commentary on mainstream fear of the "unknown"?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    84%
    reviews counted: 29
    see all King Kong reviews
  • Audience

    50%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Too big for its own good, too pure of heart to diminish, brawling, magnificent, heroic and flawed: That's King Kong, and that's King Kong.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Rotten: At three hours, Jackson's Kong is too bloated and digressive to match the pure adrenaline of the first film, perhaps the finest B-movie ever made.

- Bill Muller, Arizona Republic, Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fresh: It takes a while to get everybody to Skull Island, about 70 minutes, but it's time extremely well-spent.

- Bob Mondello, NPR.org, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Audience Reviews

4 stars

The film is visually, almost like a revolution. However, because of the length, most people won't appreciate this and worry about when the film ends. The film does have great performances from Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody and Jack Black. But the real focus should be Andy Serkis, who portrays as the cook and Kong. The infamous Insect pit is very intense and may most likely disturb children or those not comfortable with bugs.

- samoriley, Tuesday, August 7, 2012

4 stars

Peter Jackson's portrayal of the famed king of the jungle is an entertaining spectacle. The visual-effects and pulse-pounding action steers out of the fact that it is 3 hours. Fantastic is all i say. 4.5/5

- fb1442511448, Friday, July 27, 2012

3 stars

What everyone has been saying since 2005 is true - King Kong is too long. We get an almost absurd amount of setup before the titular monkey even comes into the picture almost halfway through. The film could have started with the crew finding Skull Island, but instead we have to wait for everyone to agree to the plan, get onboard, and sail for a while. All of this needless exposition isn't necessarily boring - Jackson makes sure everything looks like a perfect representation of the 1930s. But its still needless, especially since none of the setup means much when the focus shifts to King Kong once he's introduced. Not only this, but the three hours feels even longer given that everyone knows how the film will end from the beginning. For more than an hour, we have to wait for the human characters to reach the island and meet Kong, but since everyone already knows its going to happen, we're just left wondering how much longer until we get to the point. The bigger problem is that King Kong's most iconic scene is at the end. Everyone who thinks of King Kong thinks of the Empire State Building, so from the first second of the movie, we know exactly what will be in the last moments. Again, Jackson makes sure every minute is a spectacle worth seeing, but those minutes add up. The human cast is composed of unique and interesting characters, the best of them played by Adrian Brody, Kyle Chandler, and Jamie Bell, but Jackson really miscast the main lead. Jack Black does a good job in a mostly serious role, but its still hard to take him seriously when you automatically find yourself expecting a punchline from him every time he talks. Credit must also be given to motion capture actor Andy Serkis, who is probably the only man who could do justice to King Kong. Unfortunately, the monkey himself isn't a very compelling character. We're supposed to sympathise with him and recognize his human-like emotion, but his affection is shown through blank, unreadable glares. It doesn't work. The only thing keeping this slog from dipping into utter boredom are the character interactions, which disappear completely towards the end, and the action scenes. The action moments may already look dated less than a decade later (the green screens are hilariously obvious), but they're so huge, so epic, and so increasingly ridiculous that you can't help but appreciate them. What's better than one T-Rex? Ten. Now how about all of them fighting a giant gorilla. That's better. Most of these scenes are far too long, and just as unnecessary as the first hour. There is a scene with giant bugs that is probably the single most pointless fight scene I've ever seen in a movie. To recap, King Kong looks great. It has some talented cast members. It has memorable action moments. Its plot is also a mess. And the biggest obstacle is that its too long. Watch at your own peril, because it could possibly put you to sleep before its best moments even kick in. You'll also most likely be unsatisfied by its ending. But its also really well-done. That might be enough...

- fb791220692, Wednesday, May 30, 2012