First of all, generally and overall, it was excellent, highly enjoyable, spectacular and well-made. I loved it.
But if I bring in some 'baggage' I can get more critical. My baggage is that I am very attached to the 1933 original; those early thirties fantasy adventures, such as King Kong, She and Lost Horizon, evoke such a wonderous and thrilling atmosphere. Secondly, and related to the first point, is my admiration of lost world/lost race fiction, a genre Kong belongs to. With that in mind I do have a few criticisms, but these are pretty minor really. At first I thought the acting was all a bit melodramatic - fine in 1933, not really necessary in 2005. Jack Black was great in the film, but I felt his famous last line, 'twas beauty killed the beast', seemed slightly forced on his character. Maybe this is unfair as the line is pretty famous. I thought the secret map looked too much like a film prop and the build-up to Skull Island was unsubtle, without the gathering of mystery it deserved. Once they were on the island and through the gates, things were rather overdone and we lost some of the awe the island could have inspired. A million dinosaurs, a zillion insects and, if being unkind, a bit of a theme-park ride. I didn't like the stuck-on subplot of the second mate and the cabin boy, which seemd to be missing parts, with the boy reading Heart of Darkness and the mate giving literary criticism on said book (I did like the character of the mate though).
Moving on to more positive crticism, and some things I really liked. The city-scapes and thirties New York at street-level was terrific. The glimpses of a more ancient civilisation on the island were tantalising and the fearful natives were excellent, forced to live on the rocky outskirts of Skull Island while a lush paradise, just yards away, was denied them. The action, despite it pummeling some atmosphere out of the film and being overdone, was exhilirating. Kong himself came across very well indeed on the screen and the Kong and girl scenes worked nicely I thought, but then I like a bit of pathos in the mix. Overall a wonderful film, but I wanted more from it, perhaps unfairly.
A couple of weeks ago I went to see 'Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire' from which I wasn't expecting much but actually hugely enjoyed. In fact it got me back into Potter again (after the Chamber of Secrets film put me right off) and I caught up and read the most recent two books.
I'm going for the overall effect, the story builds up with little stabs of action that pulse and quicken like a gathering heartbeat. As a book I hope this will have a cumulative effect that will intensify as plot strands come together as well. Ooh, excitement!