King Kong | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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It clocks in at over three hours, but Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 classic is gripping. For starters it's visually compelling, with its lush sets depicting Skull Island and period Manhattan. Jackson rethinks the characters, turning the original's 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. PG-13. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Chatham 14, City North 14, Crown Village 18, Davis, Ford City, Gardens 7-13, Golf Glen, Lawndale, Lincoln Village, Norridge, North Riverside, Pickwick, 600 N. Michigan, 62nd & Western, 3 Penny, Village, Village North.

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