Thanks to Bri-Pie aka Brian, for asking for my thoughts about the movie over e-mail earlier this morning. As I responded, I realized I minus well give my first initial impressions of the film.
Of course, "my initial impressions" means I'm going to write hundreds of words, because I suck like that.
Anyway, here are edited excerpts from said e-mail:
Brian - i'd like to hear your opinion on Kong once you see it.
King Kong was a huge mindfuck, in the best possible way. I was expecting to be disappointed by the beast, but Kong was perfect, both in terms of computer graphic design, and the emoting as a result of the state of the art movement effects (the same technology used to bring Gollum to life in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which of course Jackson also produced and directed). The shockingly gorgeous Naomi Watts was UNREAL. I want to marry her, right now. I'm a big time sucker for mesmerizing blue eyes and blonde hair.
To be completely candorous, I have never seen half of the digital effects come to life like they do in King Kong. Peter Jackson is a directing genius. Some of the scenes were a little over the top and unrealistic (in the sense that 20 human beings could never survive a dinosaur stampede of 40-50 dinos and only have 4 dudes die), but it's supposed to be a fairy tale, so I didn't mind that.
My other big reservation, which is essentially nitpicking at this point, was Adrien Brody's character, Jack Driscoll. Jack was a hero, but Jackson made him far too passive. Not take anything away from Brody's performance, as he quietly delivers powerful expressions without having to say much. I understand that Jackson wanted to make Kong the ultimate hero in the end, which Kong was, but I missed the human element of romance, because Jack (the writer/screenwriter/playwright Brody's character plays) clearly falls in love with aspiring actress Ann Darrow (Watts), and is afraid to tell her, yet still saves her from Kong, who she could never really truly fall in love with from the start.
As a loser who happens to write well, I empathized with Jack's character, because I'm always falling for girls like Ann Darrow.
I especially sympathized with both male characters (Kong and especially Jack), because they were both falling in love with the same girl for completely different reasons. Kong was lonely and one of a kind, and felt unappreciated and worthless before finding someone he loved and with whom he could share his experiences. When the dinosaurs threaten Ann's safety, watching Kong kick the living crap out of everyone and everything in sight was one of the most memorable sequences in American movie history.
Jack Driscoll, meanwhile, found a beautiful, talented girl who literally acted out his love and talent - writing and creating - in the form of her acting performances. Jack was writing and constructing characters and stories that reflected real life, and when he found the ideal woman, not only for his characters, but for himself, he started suffering from man's greatest achilles heel: our love for the ladies.
In the end, Jack wound up being a side story, even though he risked his life over and over again to save Ann from Kong, who, despite loving Ann as well, murdered half an entire ship crew and destroyed the biggest city in the Western world out of his misplaced anger and aggression. I sympathize with Kong's feelings, as well, when it comes to unrequited or difficult-to-pull-off love for a girl.
Jack Black delivered an awesome performance as well, perhaps the best in the entire film, besides, of course, Watts. Black played a self-interested filmmaker to perfection, doubling as a narrator for us in the audience. As his friends sadly declare during the unveiling of Kong in New York City: "He has an unfailing talent to destroy all the things he loves."
Think of watching all the Star Wars movies for the first time. The first time you saw Jurassic Park. Taking in the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the theaters. This film encompassed the same kind of powerful cinematic experience. And you actually felt emotion from a computer-generated creature that never spoke a single word.