Prayer Focus
Movie Review

King Kong

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for frightening adventure violence and some disturbing images

Reviewed by: Todd Patrick
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Action Adventure Romance Thriller Remake
Genre:
Length:
3 hr. 7 min.
Year of Release:
2005
USA Release:
December 14, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis, Thomas Kretschmann
Director: Peter Jackson
Producer: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Jan Blenkin
Distributor: Universal Pictures Distribution
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Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” is big-budget, blow-your-mind, blockbuster-style Hollywood entertainment at its best! No one makes movies that even approach his level of vision, style, and inventiveness. When Jackson announced, following his success with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that he would begin work on a remake of “King Kong”, my first thought was “why”? Did we really need a third version of the 1930’s B-movie? Is there anything more that Jackson could possibly add to the weak storyline that would justify its 200-plus million dollar budget? I am happy to say that the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes”.

Jackson’s “King Kong” takes the main elements of the original movie and pumps them up on steroids. Everything is heightened, intensified, and expanded to over three hours of theater-time. It is a masterwork of pop cinematic culture. One of modern cinema’s greatest strengths, in this digital age, is its ability to create larger-than-life fantasy worlds that are almost indistinguishable from reality. Kong raises the bar for this style of filmmaking. It is everything that George Lucas’s second “Star Wars” trilogy should have been, but wasn’t.

Kong’s story is similar to its predecessor’s, but varies in many interesting ways, with plenty of nods and winks to fans of the original. It is, essentially, a three-act opera: the first act introduces us to the main characters and includes their sea voyage to the mysterious “Skull Island,” the second act introduces the island, its inhabitants, and Kong to the ship’s crew, and the third act involves Kong’s New York exhibition and subsequent rampage.

“King Kong” begins with Carl Denham (Jack Black), a visionary filmmaker, looking to finish shooting his latest movie overseas. His producers back out of funding him, and he makes a break for it—attempting to get his ship out of New York harbor by nightfall. He discovers Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), a washed-up vaudeville performer who is starving from lack of work, and convinces her to join the cast of his movie. Once aboard the ship, Denham also tricks playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) into staying for the voyage by casting off without his knowledge.

Once the voyage begins, the crew soon finds out that “Skull Island” is their destination. The captain tries to turn the ship around, unfortunately making his decision too late, as they run into the rocky shoreline of the foreboding island. From that point on, the movie is a nonstop frenzy of action, suspense, and horror as the crew attempts to rescue Ann from the natives, then from Kong himself.

Jackson’s cast is nearly flawless. Jack Black is fantastic as the wild-eyed, barely-sane, obsessive director Denham. Naomi Watts is the perfect choice for Ann Darrow (she’s beautiful, with an innate intelligence and melancholy sadness that add depth to a character whose original function was to look pretty and scream). Adrien Brody plays the sharp, heroic playwright Driscoll quite well (he’s the “everyman” of the movie), and Kyle Chandler is also excellent as the vain, self-absorbed leading man Bruce Baxter. Jackson adds so much backstory and character development to the movie that Kong doesn’t even make his first appearance until the second hour of the movie! He lovingly adds that extra dimension to the characters that is often missing from big-budget bockbusters—the fleshing-out process that makes us actually care what happens to them.

Skull Island is a fantastic achievement of stunning cinematography combined with cutting-edge visual effects. Kong himself, whose movements are mapped off of the amazingly talented Andy Serkis (Gollum from “Lord of the Rings”), is incredibly lifelike and believable: his hair blows in the wind, every muscle of his face twitches with expression, and his body is lithe and muscular as he leaps through the forest, facing danger after danger, which includes fighting off three (!) Tyranasaurus Rexes and the crew of the ship, who come to rescue Ann.

The crew also has to deal with a stampede of Brontosauruses and a pit full of oversized, angry insects and wormlike creatures.

“Kong” is escapist entertainment. From the moment the ship lands on Skull Island, the movie is nonstop action and spectacle. I commented on this Web site a year ago that I hated Michael Bay’s The Island. That movie, in my opinion, was nothing but a giant advertisement with too much loud, over-the-top action that was filmed with a jittery camera, making it impossible to see everything that was going on (and making me motion-sick in the process). “Kong” is my idea of how to do action-adventure right. The action shots are wide and steady, allowing us to see every second of Kong’s fifteen minute battle with the three Tyranasaurs. There’s no shaky filmwork, either. Jackson is confident in his prowess as a director and in the amazing effects he is utilizing. He WANTS us to see how good they are. The effect is nothing less than amazing: I felt like a ten-year old kid again, seeing “Star Wars” for the first time. The final act re-creation of 1930’s New York, which Kong rampages through, destroying everthing in his path, is also incredibly well-done.

There’s plenty of violence, including more than a few deaths (by guns, spears, and being eaten by prehistoric beasts) and some grisly dinosaur jaw-snapping done by Kong. The oversized insects are disgusting, and the island natives could be very frightening to kids: they’re like cannibalistic zombies. The Lord’s name is also taken in vain a handful of times.

“Kong” is also a morality tale, as well. We see all the obsessive rantings of Denham as he attempts to make a worldwide name for himself, at the expense of everything and everyone else. His quest for notoriety and fame leads to the death of half of his crew on Skull Island and, eventually, to the death of “King Kong” himself, who is drugged, captured, and transported to New York to star in a Broadway stage show where he is the circus-freak attraction for thousands of spectators. Greed, vanity, and pride ultimately destroy this 20-foot ape, the last of his kind. Denham says at the end of the movie that it was “beauty who killed the beast,” but it was nothing more than his own lust for fame that killed Kong. (There are plenty of touching moments between Kong and Ann Darrow throughout the movie, showing the value of love, tenderness, and compassion.) Kong is a modern-day beauty and the beast fairytale—and a three-hour thrill-ride.

Is it a bit overindulgent? Yes, it is. It takes its time setting up and expanding on all its characters, then plunges us into two hours of nonstop action-adventure, reminiscent of the “Indiana Jones” trilogy or the first “Star Wars” trilogy. Jackson is, in my opinion, the undisputed king of the blockbuster, dethroning Spielberg and early Lucas, and kicking to the curb the shoddy work of Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer, John Woo, and all the other modern-day blockbuster posers out there who are all flash and no depth. Jackson doesn’t miss a trick in his efforts to create a fantasy world worthy of his 200-million dollar budget. I can’t wait to hear the plans for his next film. Hopefully, it will be “The Hobbit”!

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Peter Jackson has turned in something quite magical with KING KONG. True, KING KONG as a film is more than a little excessive, but truly, it’s one of the most sumptuous and exciting films to have been released in a long time.

Aside from the cast, which is all very good and well, the star of this movie truly is a special effect: Kong himself. Kong is so wonderfully animated that he’ll win your heart as the movie progresses. Never have I ever seen a special effect win so much emotion!

Now, parents, be warned. This film is at times extremely dark and frightening, and in others, fairly violent. This is definitely not one for little children, even though the trailers make it seem like just another Godzilla-style flick. Some of the moments in Jackson’s film are extremely terrifying, and others are extremely grotesque. Adding on top of that is the implicitly depressing nature and ending of the story. Kids were leaving crying after the movie ended. For all its spectacle, KING KONG is ultimately a tragedy and there’s no real uplift. It ends on a dark note.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Ryan Holt, age 19
Positive—Wow… Peter Jackon’s remake of “King Kong” delivers big time. I always knew it would be special as soon as I heard it was in production. Jackson has proven himself to be the decade’s greatest director. With every step he makes, Peter Jackson raises the standard for moviemaking across the board. I will say though, King Kong is not as good as “The Lord Of The Rings”, but that hardly matters. King Kong serves a different purpose, one that proves that childhood dreams can make awesome movies. Peter Jackson has done it again.

I rushed out to rent the original 1933 version as soon as it was released on DVD. Because I had seen the source material, I was amazed at how much Jackson brought the original into the remake. There are so many homage’s to the original film, I cannot even list them. Seeing the original made Jackson’s Kong all the more enjoyable.

I found it interesting that in the original, Anne does not ‘fall’ for Kong, or trust him. Kong is seen as a horror figure, not a hero. I must say, Jackson had much better ideas for this classic character. The acting in Kong was great, and with a cast like this, it is hard to imagine them not delivering. I’ll admit, I had visions of Orange County come to mind when I heard Jack Black would play one the principal characters, one who was not considered comical relief. Fear not, Jack Black pulled it off, and showed off a very interesting dramatic side.

Naomi Watts …was wonderful. For a character who doesn’t do much but scream and do wide-eyed stares during the whole movie, Watts did a good job revealing what she was thinking and feeling without words.

The effects were dazzling. Kong’s performance along side the human cast was as good as Gollum’s (and for good a good reason). The action kept me on the edge of my seat the entire movie long. While Kong runs about three hours, it seemed to go by in no time. Believe me, there’s plenty of fun and spectacle to go along with the deep dramatic undertones.

As for content, Jackson again pushes the PG-13 envelope so far, I have lost almost all faith in the MPAA’s judgment. The violence was a little too intense in some places which is unfortunate. I feel that they have alienated a younger audience that would appreciate this story. The most obvious reason why young (and some old) children should be cautioned is the natives on Skull Island. These people go beyond scary. I found them interesting and thrilling yes, but on some level, I will never live off the experience.

There is also much more filthy language then I expected, most of which consisted of using the Lord’s name in vain. There was also an unnecessary close up of some Burlesque posters. The posters are seen as degrading and tragic, but it’s still gratuitous.

The film shined both technologically and artistically in almost every aspect. The only element which left something to be desired was the music. Peter Jackson’s decision to let Howard Shore go was a big mistake. James Newton Howard did a stupendous job with the time he had, but history shows that the result is never as good as it could have been (“Troy” anyone?). I just wish the composer, whoever it ended up to be, had more time to shape Kong’s musical story.

With those discrepancies aside, the film was fantastic, and tugged hard at my emotions. I can’t begin to list the things that were good about Kong. Peter Jackson is one of the most powerful people in the movie business, and for good reason. He has set the standard for filmmakers, and has given me reasons to keep going back to the cinema, again, and again. …
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Cade Loven, age 19
Positive—I went to see “Kong” with three of my friends, all solid Christians, and we all absolutely loved it. From a technical and storytelling standpoint, “Kong” reigns supreme. Their simply have not been effects at this level of excellence on the silver screen to date. Whether its dinosaurs, giant insects, or the ten-ton gorilla himself, I guarantee you will find yourself buying into the digital (or is it real?) world Jackson and his Weta Workshop artists have created. Best of all, the story, unlike so many other sci-fi/fantasy films, doesn’t fall flat. All the performers, including the questionably cast Jack Black, are terrific.

From a Christian standpoint, the film is quite violent, particularly the bug pit sequence, which my friends and I all had a hard time stomaching. There is a small amount of language, mostly gd’s and other forms of using the Lord’s name in vain, which is fairly light compared to other films in the genre.

I wouldn’t take an elementary school child, no matter how hard they begged to go, but it should be okay for anyone older and mature enough to handle the intense action. In short, I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat, and I wasn’t offended by any of the film’s content. Truly one of the best films of the year!
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Adam Sweatman, age 18
Positive—Hi I am from where this movie was made (New Zealand), also had the pleasure of seeing it be made. It is a wonderful movie!!! I cried a lot watching it, I felt so sorry for Kong. It has a little bit of everything in it. Well worth the time and money—keeping you on the end of your seat a number of times. My family loved it too. Using just a few offensive words which our children hear every day in the playground at school, I think it is good for the whole family too see. …
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Kerrylyn, age 48
Positive—…a great movie, full of action and suspense, romance, and even a couple of comedic moments. Yes, there was some bad language, but nothing compared to what you normally hear at the movies, and it is a great story. Younger audiences probably shouldn’t see it since there are a lot of scary scenes, with giant creatures and creepy natives. But if you like action movies, you will love this movie. It doesn’t seem like it is 3 hours long; when I watched it, it went by really fast. It is a very well-made movie and it was a lot of fun to see.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Nicole, age 20
Positive—I thought this movie was fanstastic in all aspects. …Movies like King Kong are the movies that stick with people throughout their entire lives, and if we walk out of the theatre because of words which we hear everyday anyways then we are stripping ourselves of one of the most important tools for evangelism: common ground with non-Christians. Symon, if you walk out on people who use the Lord’s name in vain, how would you evangelize to them?

…The movie was amazing all around, and I would hate to see anybody miss it because of a few words which are not new to us, and could never take anything away from my God.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Mike Hamilton, age 20
Positive—…an extraordinary movie and although the first hour dragged a bit, and there were about a million plot holes, I haven’t been this overwhelmed and excited all year (having not seen “Narnia” yet). Everything was extremely well done, from the climactic battle with the T-Rexes to the destruction of Manhattan. All of the acting was great, especially Kong himself. I never cry in movies, but I was deeply moved when he was killed.

I agree with everyone who says that this isn’t a kids movie and personally, I wouldn’t anyone under 15 see it, even if they had seen, say, “Lord of the Rings”. This is far too intense, and the giant insects were just gross. Also, there is a lot of harsh language. Also, the natives were borderlin demonic.

All in all, though, I give this movie thumbs up and would gladly see it again. Peter Jackson is definitely one of the best directors ever.
My Ratings: Average / 5
Taran Gingery, age 18
Positive—…while the plot, on the surface, doesn’t seem like it is worthy of being called an epic… Jackson has made it one. …Although it contains many elements of a drama, it doesn’t get bogged down. There is constant tension and conflict on many levels. …I was really surprised by Jackson’s ability to layer the plot and add many different ironies.

I am an avid Hitchcock fan, so I am used to really analyzing movies and paying much attention to the details. Many directors disappoint me on this level, but Jackson surpassed all my expectations. Hitchcock took every one of his films (to the best of my knowledge) from a novel or story. Thus, like Jackson in Kong, Hitchcock already had a plot and story to work from, allowing him to focus his time on improving the plot and paying much attention to detail. This seems to be the case with Jackson in Kong.

…The story really has something for everyone without stretching itself too thin. Often I think that many movies fail because they try to be everything to everyone. But Kong really succeeds here. It is probably one of the only movies to combine drama and action/suspense so perfectly. The characters were well created. Some reviewers claim that the first hour of the movie dragged. It did not drag. Granted, the focus was a little more on drama, but it was necessary. That first part of the movie established the characters, the setting and the period wonderfully. Jackson knew what he was doing.

…The music was very moving and powerful. I liked how they used symphonic music as well as the period, jazzy songs in the movie. I’m definitely going to get a hold of the sound track for this movie. The cinematography was excellent. Jackson really likes to use half-frame (or slower) shots. I felt that some uses of the slow-mo shots were overdone, but most were very well done. The cinematography sometimes reminded me of “Lord of the Rings” with its epic, wide-angle shots.

From a Christian perspective, it has a good amount of violence, on the level of “Lord of the Rings”. It has no nudity. Unfortunately, though, it has several instances of profanity (all completely unnecessary) and all of them are uses of God’s name in vain.

All in all this is one of the best movies I’ve seen recently.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—C. Gooch, age 18
Positive—…To be honest, I hated the original film’s Kong, because he acted and looked so arrogant, even for a 25-foot silverback gorilla. But Jackson succeeds in making his Kong a much more sympathetic character that you genuinely care for. In addition to being an action/adventure flick, it’s also a glorious and romantic rendition of “Beauty and the Beast”, a tragic tale of affection between two kindred spirits, a union that was doomed from the start. Beyond doubt, this is a film you won’t want to miss, espeically on the big screen. Well done, Peter Jackson. Well, done. …undoubtedly one of the best films of the year. …Many have complained that this movie is too long, but the film’s three-hour length sweeps by if you let go of the world around you, and you allow yourself to get caught up in the film’s world, whether it’s 1933 depression-smitten New York City, or the lush, fertile, dinosaur-infested jungles of Skull Island. All the animals are wonderfully realized and look completely photorealistic, from the giant bugs to Kong himself and his prehistoric counterparts. Jackson and the special effects team capture a magic rarely seen anymore, where the special effects add to the story, not distract from it, and even evoke in the audience a childlike sense of curiosity and wide-eyed wonder. …
My Ratings: Average / 5
—John, age 19
Neutral
Neutral—King Kong is popular because of the ‘high tech’ available to movie makers today. The audience gets so focused on the realism of the effects, that they tend to overlook the subtle, wordly overtones, so prevalent in all of today’s media. Too much violence, and common use of God’s name in vain are intentional directing tactics to desensitize ‘strong Christians’, who are weak in their belief. Walk out once you see that the movie is not God edifying, but merely worldly eye-candy. Three hours of superficial entertainment is never as good as what God has to offer for those who stand up for their faith.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Viktoria Nikolyovna, age 40
Neutral—…I bought into the hype surrounding the latest in Jackson’s library, King Kong. I wasn’t surprised when I heard about the 3+ hour running time. After all, Jackson spares no detail in his crafts, and he would rather opt for a broader picture than a condensed Reader’s Digest version. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t enthralled either. I have not seen the original film, so the timely references went completely by me. However, not knowing much more than the basic premise of the story, I did enjoy this rendition. It was chock full of thrills, vivid special effects, and a solid development of the characters. One aspect I particularly liked was the gradual shift from mostly dialogue to nonverbal communication to convey the story. The actors’ wide variety of facial expressions (most notably the charming Naomi Watts) spoke volumes, helping to further the plot. Even Kong had his share of expressions, with an uncanny visage that was all too human.

The language was a bit trite, but the film wasn’t saturated with profanity. Jack Black’s character swore a bit, but somehow the langugae waned as the movie progressed. Other than a brief scene of burlesque posters, there was little (next to none) in the way of sensuality. The violence was a bit edgy for a PG-13 flick, and some of the imagery was equally grotesque (e.g., a scene where a pile of worm-like creatures devour a man from head to toe). However, none of these elements detracted from the overall experience. For a flick that’s mildly amusing, oftentimes witty, and a solid thrill ride, pay your dues to “King Kong”.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Jacob, age 19
Neutral—Good movie, but not great. Special effects at times are amazing, but at other times look just plain fake. For example: The scene where they are running from the large dinosours and running in and out of their legs looks very fake. They seem to be either running on a treadmill in front of a blue screen or running in place. On the other hand, King Kong’s fighting with the dinosours is impressive and so is the interaction with the people. Also, the boat crash at the island looks filmed in a bath tub.

Overlooking some of the bad special effects and Jack Black’s acting (the other acting was excellent), the movie is pretty good, but entirely too long. With about 20-30 minutes left I was hoping Peter Jackson would wrap it up and end the movie quickly. Like I said: Good movie, but not great. I loved “The Lord of the Rings” and never complained about their length or special effects.
My Ratings: Average / 3½
—Brad, age 24
Neutral—Best movie I have seen in a loooong time!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Kesha, age 26
Neutral—I enjoyed the movie. This is one of Peter Jackson’s finest cinematic creations. It’s a homage to the original 1933 movie that Jackson loved to watch as a kid. The language could’ve been cleaned up. Some of the shots in the film were so dizzying that it nearly made me motion-sick. And I don’t need to see Naomi Watts in her lingerie. Other than that, it’s a fine testament to the original 1933 Fay Wray version (which is also an awesome movie, and revolutionary for its time, considering the fact that technology was limited).
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Shannon H., age 24
Negative
Negative—A phenomenal movie is absolutely wrecked by the huge amount of blasphemy in it. I walked out of the screening about a third of the way through, disgusted at the amount of “Jesus’s” and “Christ’s” in it. It’s really unusual as there was no other bad language that I heard in the movie except for blasphemy! We should not be entertained by any movie, even “King Kong”, which uses the name of Jesus like a …filth word. Jesus died for us and we use his name as profanity? Boycott “Kong” I say.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Symon Drake, age 31
Negative—I thought the movie was quite offensive, in addition to simply not being very good. There were many scenes of people getting killed and depictions of demonic possession which were unnecessarily focused on. The only benefit I have from not walking out in the first hour of the movie is that I can provide a complete review. The creatures on ‘Skull Island’ were mostly depicted as blood-thirsty for humans, not to mention the ridiculous humanoid vampire-like bats. Parts of it seemed more like a shoot-em-up, pseudo-horror film than whatever it was supposed to be. In addition, the film attempted to depict Kong in this loving/sad manner when it clearly showed him as a savage killer in other scenes. Human lives matter, and they are most precious to God. When a movie throws them around like cheap props, and even tries to justify it by feelings, how can we call it entertainment?
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Matt Brennan, age 28
Negative—I saw this movie with a group of friends and left totally dissapointed that we had taken those 3 long hours to watch it. Besides the fact that there were several profanities, the violence was almost unbearable! The horrifying natives freaked everyone out, and I spent a portion of the film covering my eyes from the characters being eaten, trampled, or just the disgusting ‘creatures’ that try to gobble up anything that moves.

You couldn’t PAY me to watch that movie again. The trailers make it look like a family movie, which it is NOT! There were children in the theatre, and I know that I would never let my younger brothers or sisters view that movie; they would have nightmares…
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Angie Stiver, age 19
Negative—…I came away feeling very conflicted about it. I was starting to love this movie as we were introduced to the characters, and the different struggles they went through. The dramatic tension that Jackson builds is awesome, leading up to the characters misadventures on Skull Island. The reasons, that I give this movie a negative review are:
  1. They say “Christ” or “Jesus Christ” as a swear word many, many times, what seems like and inordinately frequent amount of times.
  2. On Skull Island, the humans show both extreme amounts of courage, but also a capricious disregard for human life and a self-seeking money hungry exploitationist attitude, especially Jack Black’s character, who is never …rebuked for how his character’s self obsession led to the deaths of countless people, both on Skull Island and in Manhattan. I felt that his character was not dealt with properly. At the end of the movie, …he was like, “Oh well… I missed the point on that one… oh well.” The other characters never stood against his character, and many times supported him. I thought that was poor dealing with the character—sends the wrong message.
  3. Kong himself is a beast, and kills just about everyone in his path except the girl. And yet, we are made to sympathize with the beast. The girl sympathizes with the beast, and is tender with him. …Jackson gives Kong many humanistic qualities that, in the end, make us want to root for Kong… I was so sad when he died, but then I thought to myself, he’s a BEAST, HE’S KILLED ALL THESE PEOPLE… Not just collateral damage, but capriciously, flagrantly, flippantly, and savagely. How can we forget that? Some might say, well, he wasn’t meant for the city, he’s meant for the wild. Okay, I’ll grant you that. But don’t manipulate us to have empathy for him. He’s a beast, a cold-hearted killer, and lauding the beast and making him heroic in defense of the girl sends another mixed message—that savage killer beasts are really good at heart. I just felt tricked to empathize with Kong, and yet he threw countless peoples to their deaths, stomped on them, ate them, all these things, with no moral compass. Kong is amoral, he’s an animal, so don’t manipulate me to sympathize and be sad for an amoral killer. The moral ambiguity was just horrible. This is the main reason I think people shouldn’t see this movie.

I wouldn’t take any kids to this movie, or adults for that matter. The intensity is just WAY too much. Too many beasts on Skull Island, not a moments rest. The island is basically a good picture of what hell would look like. Peril at every corner, and while I did find the heroic scenes of some of the characters of Skull Island encouraging, I basically walked away from the movie feeling anxious, frustrated, confused and mostly OVERWHELMED. I was very troubled in my spirit. I do not recommend this movie for Christians, or anyone for that matter.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Chris, age 27

Negative—…for it’s genre (which I like), this was a technically great movie. However, I think many Christians have bought into the non-Christian rating system. Our priorities are very much out-of-wack! I, personally, would rather hear dozens of uses of the ‘F’ word, the ‘S’ word, and just about any other word EXCEPT for having the name of Jesus Christ misused. The use of the ‘F ’word gets an ‘R’ rating, but they can (as they do in this movie) use Jesus, Christ, and God all they want, and that only gets a PG-13! How dare we buy into that mindset that finds other words more offensive than taking God’s name in vane?!?!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Rev. David Foreman, age 51
Negative—Our family walked out about 3/4 through the movie due to the continual blasphemy. There were several GD’s and Jesus’ name was specifially used several tmes. It’s a shame, the quality of the film overall I thought was great.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—Sharon Mager, age 44
Negative—DANGER!! Do not waste your time, money or witness on this horrible film. It is ridiculously long (3+ hours) and has much profane use of the Lord’s name in addition to just being a bad movie. The beginning is VERY slow and Kong doesn’t appear until about 90 minutes has elapsed. The natives on Skull Island are ghoulish and very frightening, especially to younger children (I took my 11 and 13 year old sons, but made them cover their eyes for most of the island ‘adventure’). There are also many prehistoric type creatures on the island that torment and kill multiple humans—these scenes, along with the island native scenes are ridiculously long and drawn out and very graphic and frightening. The humanoid-looking bats are almost funny except they too are out for the kill. My boys didn’t even like it and they usually love these kinds of movies. Be a good steward of God’s provision and spend His money elsewhere!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Rick Chapman, age 52
Negative—Comparing “King Kong” to the cinematic flop Congo would be doing an injustice to Congo. If one were to take the talent it took to make Waterworld and Stealth and then divide it by half, you still would not have as bad a movie as “King Kong”. “King Kong” will more likely than not reign as King of the box office, at least for a time, however I would warn everyone to stay clear of this poorly acted, terribly directed, borefest and special- effects-induced chump of a movie. I can honestly say that “King Kong” is going to go down in history as one of the10 worst movies I have ever seen.

“King Kong” is a 3-scene movie given to us in a 3-hour format. If you take out the beginning chase scene, picking up “King Kong” in the jungle, and the scene at the Empire State Building, you are left with nothing. What we have is a director who wanted to try and use this as a vehicle to satiate is own desire to do over-blown special effects. Unlike Lord of the Rings, “King Kong” is more or less a giant blue screen production, showing us just how fake special effects can be. One of the ways you can tell if blue screen is being used is that the film will actually look green. Pay special attention to how much you see this green tint in the movie. “King Kong” tries very hard to dig up new content, so hard that each of the action scenes is so long you actually become bored, at which point he brings you another one just like it; one after another but each with a different creature. I’m totally fine with the whole idea of bringing dinosaurs into the picture, which does however take away from the realism of the movie, but come on, how many fake creatures do we need to endure for the sake of Peter Jackson’s can horribly long movie? Sadly the critics are raving about this movie, but I am unsure what movie they are watching. I know that Peter Jackson brought us Lord of the Rings, which does indeed deserve accolade, but this movie just doesn’t even come close to living up to our expectations.

Part of what killed this movie for me from the very first scene (I’m sure you’ll agree) is Jack Black. Black is outrageously terrible in his role and proves that he can overact worse than many I have seen in recent memory. He is terribly miscast and tries to bring a sense of comedy that falls completely flat.

I will explain what “King Kong” in case there is anyone left in the world who still doesn’t know. “King Kong” is the story of a Hollywood director who finds a map and, just before the studio has a chance to pull the plug on his ventures, escapes to Skull Island, an unexplored island that appears on the map. When they arrive, Ann (the starlet he brought along) is kidnapped by the natives on the island and sacrificed up to Kong, who decides not to eat her because he is entranced by her blond hair. After a full hour of dancing around in the forest and protecting Ann, Kong is kidnapped and brought to New York City where he is put on display, escapes, and climbs the Empire State Building.

With all fairness to the movie, “King Kong” does look pretty cool. He is a big, old loveable ape who really cares about Ann. Sadly, without a storyline to support a 3-hour movie, that alone cannot keep one from almost falling asleep.

“King Kong” is basically 30 minutes on a boat with lots of unnecessary antics, 1 hour and 45 minutes of watching the Ape run around and protect Ann, repeating the same scene over and over again with different animals, and another solid 45 minutes of watching the Ape get tortured, beat up and humiliated, which eventually leads to his death.

There is an attempt at a love story here but the characters are thrust into love after no development and it comes across as cheesy and lame. Something else that’s entertainingly inconsistent is, we see about 10 people travel by boat to the island but during the fighting scenes we see many, many people die, all supposedly from the boat but none of whom we have seen previously or know of or are even a part of the crew. It reminded me of an old Bruce Lee movie where people just appear out of nowhere.

This movie is a terrible attempt at bringing the classic “King Kong”, and even the 20s, to life. Pay special attention to the end where the ape is chasing a taxi. “King Kong” can destroy every taxi in New York but when it comes to this one taxi, right in front of him, he can’t catch it. Yet another example of bad directing.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from this dud.

Warning: This movie is NOT FOR KIDS! There is a lot of gross, yet non- bloody, violence in this movie. The last 45 minutes, where “King Kong” is getting tortured, is really difficult to watch as well. There is plenty of bad language including lots of God D*** and JCs. There is a quick butt scene with a native but other than that there is no sexuality.

1 of 4 stars and the one star goes exclusively to Kong.
My Ratings: Offensive / 1
—John Kehrli, age 31
Comments from young people
Positive—After reading several reviews of Kong, I almost missed out on going due to the sexuality and blasphemy in the film. I must say that there was not nearly as much of either as I expected. The sexuality was brief and after a man requests that Carl use nudity in his film, Carl strongly rebukes the man and calls him a cheap low-life. The burlesque theater seen took about a minute and was the worst part of the movie.


Ann’s dress shows some of her form after being captured by Kong, but the camera always changes to a different angle before showing us too much of her body. Though there were quite a few misuses of God’s name, several seemed more like exclaimed prayers. That does not mean I condone the blasphemy though. I found it unneeded and due to that cannot recommend the film to anyone, but my close friends whose standards I am aware of. The special effects were fantastic, and Kong is the best CG monster yet. The film has less abuses of the Lord’s name than Godzilla, and is WAY more entertaining, though some parts were totally unbelievable. Overall, I can only recommend the film as entertainment, and not as a Biblically righteous film. For myself, I loved it and hope to view it again.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Geno, age 15
Neutral—…I had really been waiting for this film for a long time, seen all the previews, clips, I was very excited. But at the very beginning of the film, something surprised me. When Carl Denham, (filmmaker) finds out that the main actress that he had for his movie had quit, and he needed a new girl to star the show, he heads for a strip club, with pictures of very poorly dressed girls showing off, and starts to go in, when he sees Ann Darrow in the window’s reflection, and ceases to enter. When he went to have dinner with this Ann, (Note this is during the Great Depression, so Ann had very little money) after she is almst done eating, he asks Ann if she is a size 4, (Because all Carl had were size 4 costumes) and because Ann saw him going into the strip clubish thing, she assumes that he wants her to be a part of that.

After everyone gets on the boat, one of the actors has a poster of him and a girl, and as she is leaning backwards, yet towards the camera, exposing a lot. Once they crash on the rocks outside the island, Carl and Ann, and a few others go out to the main island. They stumble upon natives, and these natives sicken the mind. Piercings everywhere, downright sickening, but Carl assumes they are not hostile, when a crewman falls over dead suddenly, with a spear through his body. From that point on, most of the crew is gruesomely killed, and only because the ship’s captain comes and shoots them do any of them live. I personally cannot say anymore, because I turned away during this part, as it was too disturbing for me.

Note that throughout all of this, the Lord’s name is used in vain, numerous times, like 15 times. Then giant bugs come to devour the crew on their mission to save Ann, and giant worms do devour Andy Serkis’s character. The whole sequence is very intense. This bug sequence did not disturb me, but my mom and my 11 year old brother did not enjoy it at all. This seemed to be the extent of the bad parts, that I recall, the movie as a plot and everything was done extremely well, so I have to say that I enjoyed it. In my opinion, don’t take anyone 10 or under.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Carson Baker, age 13
Neutral—Great film, but they …used God’s name in vain a lot. That’s the downside, but overall a great film, well done. Lots of action. Best film I ever saw.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Sean Colten, age 15
Positive—…an amazing movie that reminds us why we go to the movies in the first place. The acting is great, the special effects are awesome, and the overall classic story and non-stop action just take your breath away. But I do warn all parents that if you have kids 6 or younger who are sensitive to violence or scary images do not take them to see this movie. I have seen this movie twice and would see it again. 10 stars!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jamey Shelley, age 15
Positive—Wow! Peter Jackson has done it again! If anything, you have to see it for the amazing special effects. Though it was long, I don’t see how they could have cut anything out of this movie. It was scary, though, with a few very intense scenes and people dying violent deaths. The natives who sacrifice the girl to King Kong are super freaky. It’s not a family movie by any means, but an eight dollar ticket is worth the money!
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Brittney, age 15
Positive—…there is one bad thing: They use both the Father and the Son’s name in vain a looooooooootttt…. The overwhelming majority of it is in the first hour or so, but it is throughout the entire movie. So be warned: A LOT of using the Lord’s name in vain. This was not in the content descriptor, and I have lost all faith in the MPAA. They do not give movies the ratings they should. But this movie uses God’s name like a cuss word! Like someone else’s review said, Jesus died on the cross for us, and we use his name as a cuss word? That’s ridiculous. However, besides using the Lord’s name in vain, this movie is great. It does have a few cuss words, but the action is great. Plus, this movie is 3 hours and 7 minutes, which makes it even more enjoyable. Trust me, I was never bored during this movie.

The fight scenes are great and the acting is also great. Kong himself looked amazing!!! Overall, this movie is great. If you’ve got a TV that filters out the Lord’s name in vain, USE IT ON THIS MOVIE! If you have kids under 13, don’t take them… because of the violence. It is extremely violent at times (which, in my opinion, makes it better, but some people may not want their kids to see violence like this). Also, if you have a child who likes to say things that he learns from movies, don’t take him because this movie uses the Lord’s name in vain a lot.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Luke C., age 13
Neutral—…a great movie in quality. The effects and acting were amazing. …The only problem I had with the movie was the intensity. My brother (12) was out of the theater for like half of the movie, and during the first scene showing the natives, I was closing my eyes and my ears. I probably looked like a five year old, but it was an extremely disturbing sequence. During another scene on the island with man-eating bugs, both me and my dad were freaking out.

I think that the movie should have been about thirty minutes shorter. There were lots of unnecassary scenes that made the movie tiring to watch. I would suggest that parents watch the film before taking their children to it, to see if it’s suited for their children to watch.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Amy, age 14
Positive—First off, this movie was extremely well made. It is a great movie! It’s possibly that I just was in the bored mood that day or something. But, this movie seemed to just go on for a bit too long. It’s hard to say what they could have cut because it all seemed important. The story doesn’t feel epic like “Lord of the Rings” and because of that, the 3 hours seems to run long. Great movie, great visuals, and great acting. But, for this movie I don’t think it needed to be 3 hours long. But, go see it. It’s an awesome movie and Kong looks AMAZING!!!
My Ratings: Average / 5
—David, age 17
Neutral—While it was a well-done movie, I had to leave the theatre 2 ½ hours into the movie crying, shaking, and barely able to walk because it disturbed me so much. I don’t know why it’s not rated R for all the violence and gore, as well as the use of Christ’s name in vain so many times. Normally, violence doesn’t disturb me too much, but I couldn’t handle this. Scene after scene, it was extremely intense, and you don’t miss many of the deaths of various characters throughout the movie. I know the reviewer gave a ‘None’ rating for sex/nudity, however there is a scene in the movie that is in front of a strip club. On the front of the building are hung several B&W photographs of barely dressed women. Also, if my eyes serve me correctly, one photograph shows a completely naked women turned to the side and positioned in such a way that you can’t actually see anything, but you can definitely tell she’s naked.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—Britany Smith, age 17
Negative—I went to the movie with my sister and daddy and had to walk out. They used God’s name in vain many times. I was hoping that it would be a good movie, but it was terrible. I would not recommend this movie to any Christians. They had too much cussing and profanity.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Joanna Childress, age 15
Positive—About two hours into “King Kong”, our heroes that have survived the first two hours of the movie find themselves trapped at the bottom of a chasm, where insects bred from nightmares that I fortunatly have never had are swarming around them, eating several of them. The remaining ones, who the ones we have gotten to know, are making their last stand. They have fought through jungle hell, and are ready to die. Furtunatly for them, we are not. We have survived this hell with them, and will not let them give up. So they don’t. Amazingly enough, they are not even the characters we care about the most. We care more about a beautiful young girl and a big ol’ gorrilla (a big ol’ gorrilla that isn’t even real, but our eyes,ears and heart tell us he’s real). “King Kong” is not the greatest movie ever made. However, no other movie in history has ever invested so much in me, and I in it. I have a wordless, unexplainable relationship with it, just like the gorrilla has with Ann Darrow. I have put this much emotion into “The Lord of the Rings”, but it spanned over an entire trilogy. Kong did it with one movie.

And what a movie! There are many people who have complained that this film is too long. I beg to disagree. The first hour is all about giving us characters worth spending the rest of the movie with, and pacing. The second hour gives us the best action ever put on celluloid, and the third wrenches our hearts to the point of utter despair. With Lotor and now Kong, Peter Jackson has established himself as one of the greatest directors of all time. He has wanted to make this movie all his life. He was turned down the first time, so he went and made Lotor. After what that became, every company in Hollywood wanted to land Jackson. He went to Universal and tried again with Kong. They gave it to him, which may be one of the smartest things they’ve ever done. The rest is all available ‘for the price of an admission ticket’. …
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Joshua, age 15
Positive—…awesome!! …It is a little slow in the begining, but it’s purpose for that is to let you see and know the characters so that when it does get into the ‘good parts’ then you would understand. …I truly LOVED it!!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Jamie Gonzales, age 17
Positive—Woah! what a movie. If you can sit through a 2 hour movie, this should be no problem for you since it is so crazy. Sure 3 hours may sound long for a movie, but let me tell you—the acting was great, the special FX were better than great, and the movie itself as a whole was incredible. It was pretty intense on the island, so if you don’t want to see people get eaten by leaches and such, might want to stay away. but if you liked Jurassic Park, you’ll love this. As for offensive content, it’s just the language (which was still not as bad as a lot of movies) and some people might find the gruesome deaths of some people offensive. …
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Daniel Robison, age 17
Positive—…awesome. …Great action! and well done Peter.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Aaron, age 12
Positive—Where does one truly begin with such an epic film? I would have to begin with Peter Jackson at the age of eight. Little knowing the impact of the 1933 version of King Kong would have on him, he would watch it and at the end there would ignite a fire, one tiny flame that in his heart would kindle and in his mind break forth the boundaries of his ordinary life. He would say with his own tongue, “I want to be a director.” Now, we see him a young man, impassioned with his love for the theater, enthralled to create with the camera another world unlike any ever imagined, pushing beyond the borders we so casually place in this life, and obsessed in making the impossible possible.

When all rumors were first fulfilled of who the director was for “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy”, we turned away in disbelief and underestimated his “touch” for the camera. His name neither stirred interest or wonder in whom this man was at that time. But when the lights dimmed and all the theater was hushed, the screen lit up and the entire world in its anticipation was amazed for the next three hours. At the end revealed his name and with the sound heard around the world came a two billion dollar applause. …“King Kong”, to say the least, is one of the most cinematic experiences anyone will ever have in this decade. It reaches a level of intensity that I never thought possible… You cannot leave this theater unchanged or without a piece of Peter Jackson to thrive within you. Andy Serkis, the man behind both the physical and emotional movements of the gorilla, should be awarded equal publicity with Peter Jackson for his role as King Kong. He brought to life what Peter Jackson imagined and gave a performance that should get him an Academy award. Another actor (there are many but I will only list a few) whom I find that deserves just as much credit is Jack Black. It is true when I say that comedians are better for the serious role more often than the serious actor for the comedian can be more versatile. Your mouth gapes as your watching him from your seat, wondering who this actor is. He engages his entire being into this one character, an obsessed director whose true nature is revealed towards the end of the movie. You will find a new respect for such an actor as Jack Black. And the same can be said for Adrean Brodi… There was quite a bit of gd-ing (as is the term) and swearing of Christ’s name in vain, but Peter Jackson managed to keep it cleaner than most movies these days (whose ratings need to be checked a bit more closely). I will warn you immensely that this movie is not for those with either a weak stomach or a fragile heart. There are numerous disturbing sequences with the cannibalistic tribe of Skull Island and with the scenario where the crew have fallen from the high reaches of a cliff into a pit filled with the most despairing and frightening of insects ever seen on the screen. Imagine the size of a raptor from Jurassic Park and you’ll understand how big the spiders and the scorpions were, the worst being the leeches in my opinion. There is also an intensity that would etch nightmares into your child’s mind and even into the audience of my age. I do remind you that this movie is rated PG-13, though it should be rated R for the violence and disturbing images you will see. It is NOT for a younger audience. …
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—The Writer, age 16
Positive—This is an excellent movie as far as the story goes. I recommend it to anyone who isn’t easily upset. It absolutely holds your attention all the way through with no dragging scenes or boring parts you might want to fast-forward. There is a fair amount of frightening and disturbing content. Apart from the posessed, demonic appearances of the Island’s inhabitants and the gruesome way in which Kong kills a T. Rex by opening its mouth so far that the jaw snaps, there is the manner in which a character (whom we have come to like) has his head slowly engulfed by a giant worm while he is yet alive and screaming. Again, I recommend this movie to those who do not become grossed out easily. I went to this movie with a friend who hates bugs, and there was an entire ten minute segment during which she had to cover her eyes.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Wiilow, age 16
Positive—…a good movie. The special effects were excellent. The fight between Kong and the three T-rex’s was great. The thing that dissapointed me though was the use of the Lord’s name in vain. That and the violence and creepiness of the movie. In my opinion, the native were very scary looking—almost demonic. I had to look away a couple times. The giant bugs were also creepy. It was disturbing when one man gets eaten by giant worm-like creatures with teeth. I do not recommend this film for younger kids or people who get frightened easlily. Andy Serkis did a great job as Kong. Kong didn’t look fake at all in any scene. Overall, though it was a good movie with great special effects.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Josh, age 13