Finally got around to seeing the new King Kong.
As usual, this won't be so much a review as a few assorted comments and notes.
My overall impression: fun, but long. I haven't seen the original, so I can't compare them. (But I was amused that just as I got in the car on the way home, an NPR piece about the making of the original movie came on.)
I liked the look of the movie a great deal. The opening and closing credits were in a lovely art deco style--anyone happen to know which typeface that is? (It's a common deco look, but I'm having a hard time finding an exact match at Identifont or fonts.com.) The scenes of old New York looked great (and I assume were meticulously researched and re-created). The creatures were vividly realistic; they all looked like they were alive, to me. There was some bad bluescreening here and there (or is it all greenscreening these days?), but not too much and not too awful.
It occurred to me that after having almost no black people in Lord of the Rings, Jackson put a lot of them in this movie--almost all of them savages. Except for the noble black crewmember, Hayes, whose role reminded me vaguely of the lone black character (iIrc) in Jurassic Park. I thought Evan Parke did a good job with the role, though (and it doesn't hurt that he's mighty attractive, as are several other members of the cast). (Hey! It turns out he had a recurring role in the first season of Alias, but I don't recognize him at all from that.) I'm not sure what to recommend that a white filmmaker trying to remake a classic 1930s film that featured savage black primitives ought to do, but it did seem to me Jackson could probably have handled this a little better, especially after there was so much discussion of this wrt LotR. Oh, and having your one civilized black character quote extensively from Heart of Darkness may also not be the best possible choice under the circumstances, though I guess it demonstrated that he was educated.
I also liked most of the other actors. Jack Black is in top form; I haven't seen anything of his since High Fidelity (except for Shark Tale, where he was wasted), 'cause most of it has looked pretty bad, but I really liked him in both High Fidelity and Kong. I liked Adrien Brody a lot more here than in The Pianist (and is it just me, or are we beginning to see more heroic writers as characters?). Naomi Watts does a good job, especially given how little dialogue she has. (The whole movie is remarkably short on dialogue, due to the combination of extremely extended action sequences and the fact that one of the main characters, being an ape, can't speak.) Andy Serkis does a great job with Kong's facial expressions (and body motions too? not sure)--how many people can say they've played both Gollum and Kong? And I found Thomas Kretschmann attractive and compelling as the captain, though I couldn't figure out why he kept giving in to what Denham wanted.
The movie did feel a little too long to me. The action sequences were really spectacular--but almost every one of them lasted two or three segments longer than I thought it needed to. Every time I thought one of those scenes was resolved, there would be more, and then more, and then more again. A little exhausting.
I think Ebert's review makes a very good point about the relationship between Ann and Kong, but I had read that before seeing the movie so I may've been looking for it. (And on a side note, although Ebert's one of my favorite reviewers, it bugs me that he seems to almost always get some little detail wrong in his reviews. Were there any elevated trains in this movie? And weren't those brontosaurs/apatasaurs rather than T. rexes? Not a big deal; just a little jarring.)
Anyway. Overall, I'd say the movie's worth seeing if you have any interest at all in this kind of thing, and it's definitely worth seeing on a big screen if you're going to see it. But hurry: I suspect it won't be in theatres too much longer.