• PG-13, 3 hr. 7 min.
  • Action & Adventure
  • Directed By:    Peter Jackson
  • In Theaters:    Dec 14, 2005 Wide
  • On DVD:    Mar 28, 2006
  • Universal Pictures

King Kong Reviews

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
May 29, 2011

It clocks in at over three hours, but Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 classic is gripping nonetheless.

Bob Mondello
NPR.org
Top Critic
October 18, 2008

It takes a while to get everybody to Skull Island, about 70 minutes, but it's time extremely well-spent.

David Ansen
Newsweek
Top Critic
November 1, 2007

Kong is a showy, state-of-the-art popcorn movie, faithful to the spirit of the 1933 original but generously adrenalized with the best effects money can buy.


TIME Magazine
Top Critic
December 16, 2005

Our response to the ape's doom, once touched by authentic tragedy, is now marked by relief that this wretchedly excessive movie is finally over.

Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic
December 16, 2005

Kong has heart, and he's willing to show it in a movie made with wit, excitement and moments of visionary beauty.

| Original Score: A-
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
December 15, 2005

King Kong isn't terrible, but it's something that none of Jackson's previous movies ever was -- it's enervating.

Peter Howell
Toronto Star
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

Jackson took a huge risk with King Kong. But the movie that no film lover wanted him to make is sure to become the blockbuster that everyone is going to want to see, and with good reason.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

One hundred eighty-seven minutes of mesmerization, astonishment, thrills, chills, spills, kills and ills, Peter Jackson's big monkey picture show is certainly the best popular entertainment of the year.

Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

The unrelenting computer-animated action suffocates what seems to have been the movie's main purpose, to expand on the Kong-Ann relationship.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

Although King Kong is spectacular, its power doesn't reside in its glittering vision of 1933 Manhattan, Jackson's virtuoso flourishes or his computer-generated effects. It's so much simpler: When the gorilla touches the girl, he touches our hearts.

| Original Score: 3.5/4
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

It starts too slowly and suffers from weak dialogue and less-than-epic acting. But as popcorn movies go, this is the year's popcorniest.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Rex Reed
New York Observer
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

Silly, pointless and obscenely overproduced.

Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

Serkis' contribution truly is something we've never seen, an entirely new category of computer-enhanced acting. With not a word of dialogue, he brings to life a close cousin to man with whom we can empathize, yet is never too human-like.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

There are some dazzling moments and remarkably clunky ones, a stitched together mixture of old and new, a genre tour that jumps in tone from jaunty comedy to sci-fi horror to laboured social commentary.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
Top Critic
December 14, 2005

Good things do come in big packages. The trick for any filmmaker is to find the small movie within the big one, which is exactly what Peter Jackson does in King Kong.

Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

It's the rare kind of movie that makes too much seem like a good idea.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Paul Clinton (CNN.com)
CNN.com
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

In a word, Jackson's King Kong is spectacular, awesome, phenomenal and breathtaking. OK, so I can't boil it down to one word.

Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

At three hours, Jackson's Kong is too bloated and digressive to match the pure adrenaline of the first film, perhaps the finest B-movie ever made.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

There's no denying the monumentality of Jackson's achievement, which intermittently lives up to Denham's showbiz credo: 'Magic for the price of a ticket.'

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

Too big for its own good, too pure of heart to diminish, brawling, magnificent, heroic and flawed: That's King Kong, and that's King Kong.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jan Stuart
Newsday
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

Like Black's craven filmmaker, Jackson swells into a madman impresario, so hell-bent on topping himself that he doesn't know when to cut and run.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

It's as if Jackson got so excited about his creatures he forgot about his characters.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

Peter Jackson has run the original 1933 King Kong through his epic imaginarium and given us the year's most thrilling entertainment. Also its most heartbreaking love story.

| Original Score: 4/4
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

Jackson spoils us with riches in this film, with one impossible sequence after another; the result is overwhelming but pleasantly so.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

King Kong rules, and the big ape's reign is almost problem-free.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

While one cannot deny his giant-sized filmmaking gifts or his showmanship, nor can we ignore how thin the air of self-importance feels by the time every last digital effect has been pulled out of the magic bag.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

Monstrous. Monumental. Magnificent. Use any term you want, there's no denying the power, genius and spectacle of King Kong, which is certainly the biggest movie of the year and possibly the biggest movie ever made.

Full Review | Original Score: A+
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

Jackson is filmmaker and entertainer enough to use all the technology at his disposal without losing sight of the sublimely improbable story of beast and beauty, and the exquisitely realized islands they call home.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

This is one of the year's best films.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

You've seen it all before but most assuredly never like this.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

A big, bold, gigantor of an action movie that's part head-knocking smackdown, part intimate beauty and the beast and thoroughly entertaining a lot of the time.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

Given the excessive length and bombastic F/X, there's too much action and precious little poetry.

James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
December 13, 2005

With a wizard at the helm, there are times when re-makes can be glorious things.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
December 12, 2005

Peter Jackson's remake is as much a tribute to the old, seat-of-the-pants spirit of early motion pictures as it is an exercise in technological bravura.

| Original Score: 4.5/5
Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
December 12, 2005

Jackson is a visionary filmmaker who is not only a technical wizard but also a master storyteller.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
Top Critic
December 12, 2005

Most great movies are lucky to have a handful of moments to remember; King Kong has at least two dozen.

| Original Score: 4/4
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
December 12, 2005

A travelogue through popular movie genres, it passes from socially conscious drama to comedy, romance, horror, adventure, science-fiction fantasy and doomed love story, cleverly quoting the styles and tropes to which we've become accustomed along the way.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
David Edelstein
Slate
Top Critic
December 12, 2005

However jawdropping the big effects (there's a dinosaur stampede and some giant white worms who suck men into their squishy maws), they're tenderly elbowed aside by scenes of tender intimacy.

David Denby
New Yorker
Top Critic
December 12, 2005

This Kong is high-powered entertainment, but Jackson pushes too hard and loses momentum over the more than three hours of the movie.

Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic
December 12, 2005

This is a great thrill ride with the occasionally beautiful moment, as when Kong and Ann admire a sunset. Pay no attention to the December 14th release date, I think this is really a classic summer movie.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
December 8, 2005

Here is the jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-stopping movie epic we've been waiting for all year.

| Original Score: 4/4
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
December 7, 2005

The movie seals Jackson's reputation: He's the most gifted big-picture artist working today, a master of epics from a human-eye view who excels at employing 21st-century technological wizardry to suit the needs of ageless, personal storytelling.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Todd McCarthy
Variety
Top Critic
December 6, 2005

What's up on screen is rarely short of staggering.

Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
Top Critic
December 6, 2005

The $200 million-plus spectacle is funny when it wants to be, exhilarating when it needs to be and a sentimental triumph at the end.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
Top Critic
December 6, 2005

Peter Jackson's King Kong is the most thrilling, soulful monster picture ever made. At last, it can be said without irony -- I laughed, I cried.

Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
December 6, 2005

This is spectacle filmmaking at its best, where a director is in tune with the story's underlying emotions and his own boyish love for adventure fantasy.