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Rated PG-13 · 187 minutes · 2013
Peter Jackson's gripping 2005 remake rethinks the characters from the 1933 original, turning its stark Jungian fantasy into a soulless but skillful set of kinetic and emotional effects. Carl Denham (Jack Black)—originally a self-portrait of codirector Merian C. Cooper—is now a comic villain personifying, and thereby displacing, the movie's own cynical contrivances and hypocritical exploitation. Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) has lost most of her hysteria and gained an Electra complex; the putative hero (Adrien Brody) is now, improbably, a playwright; a black sailor (Evan Parke) has been added to offset the jungle stereotypes; and Kong is anthropomorphized to the point of becoming first an audience stand-in (for whom Watts performs a few vaudeville turns), then a Christ figure.

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