As an impressionable child, I wallowed in gargantuan 1976. remake with Jessica Lange (with my brother crying his little heart out next to me, he was so absolutely engrossed in the movie) - next to "Superman" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" it was probably the most memorable movie of my childhood in the 1970s, before the puberty hit me and my attention went elsewhere. With time I discovered its rightfully revered 1933. predecessor with Fay Wray and perhaps not surprisingly (since I adore old black and white movies) I embraced it even more lovingly, finding in its ancient, old-fashioned core much more humanity. I thought the story could hardly be surpassed anymore, but as it turned out I was wrong.
At the top of the cinematic world after his "The Lord of the Rings" series, everybody held their breath to see what else director Peter Jackson could come up with to top this phenomenon. After all, he was known for sweeping, almost operatic extravaganzas, spectacular visual effects and productions that apparently had no limits when it came to budgets - with his Midas touch the sky was the limit for Jackson, who surprisingly decided to do remake of the famous Hollywood classic and I knew this must have been labour of love even before I saw it. Apparently this was his favourite childhood movie and the one that inspired him to become a movie director: you can tell this by every single, lovingly arranged detail trough every scene in this movie - from the beautiful street scenes of 1930s New York, to fantastic Skull Island and beyond, this is a wonder to behold. Clearly, this is a love letter to cinema, created with passion, inspiration and love.
The most interesting is how much Jackson differ from the famous predecessors without losing the original spirit, what he actually brings to the story: he takes his own sweet time to set everything and its quite a while before SS Venture eventually reaches the island, but the story is so well done and gripping that one almost don't notice this. Once on the islands, its inhabitants are so hauntingly scary that I would swear they came straight out of "Apocalypto" until I discovered that movie was actually made a year later. The wonders of special effects are pilled on top of each other in a way that Merian C. Cooper could never even dream of back in 1933, going so far to even re-construct the very effective spiders scene that was filmed but edited out of the original (it just shows how extremely devoted fan Jackson is, knowing even deleted scenes!). The only reservations I have came in the last part of the movie - once we are back in New York, it seems that Jackson just don't want this to finish and for the first time the movie starts to drag extremely slowly, like he cherishes every scene to its maximum, knowing this is his once in a lifetime chance to work on such project. So it came that angelic Naomi Watts eventually started to get to my nerves, because after all, her character can't do much else except to feel remorse for being the cause of all this. It is a wonderful piece of cinematic magic, but it might have been more effective with some cutting and editing, clocking over 3 hours. However, my personal opinion might be prejudiced, since I introduced this movie last night to my young friends unfamiliar with predecessors and they loved every minute of it, they were amazed how fast time flew without them noticing film's length.