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“It was beauty killed the beast.” King Kong’s iconic closing line, used both in the 1933 and 2005 versions, was cheekily rewritten by many film critics to comment on Peter Jackson’s remake: “it was bloat killed the beast” and “it was overindulgence killed the beast.”
In the years since its release, those criticisms have grown all the louder as they’ve bounced around the internet echo chamber, ultimately condemning the 2005 rendering as a misinterpretation, if not a complete destruction, of the original film.
Oddly enough, film buffs forget that Jackson’s film was actually well-reviewed at the time, holding an 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, as the positive reviews for the quicker-paced Kong: Skull Island have hit (some of which are taking swipes at Jackson’s film), it’s high time to give the filmmaker’s journey to Skull Island another look.
The pivotal scene in the film showcases Anne Darrow (played beautifully by Naomi Watts) performing her vaudevillian routine for the mighty ape. Even more than using the scene to define those characters’ relationship, Jackson is masterfully informing us — the audience — how we should view his film: not as lumbering and mindless, but as majestic and mesmerizing.
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