Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. 100
    Here is the jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-stopping movie epic we've been waiting for all year.
  2. 100
    A magnificent entertainment. It is like the flowering of all the possibilities in the original classic film.
  3. What a movie! This is how the medium seduced us originally.
  4. 100
    Break out the popcorn and prepare to be blown away. King Kong is the most pulse- pounding and heart-stirring romantic adventure since "Titanic."
  5. 100
    But overall, Jackson goes for the magic by sidestepping every error of judgment and failure of imagination that brought the ponderous 1976 remake thudding to Earth before Kong ever did. He delivers three solid hours of breathless, enchanting entertainment.
  6. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    100
    Unlike its newly trim director, Kong does boast some flab around the middle but by the final reel there’s little doubt that what could have been Jackson’s folly is a triumph, the kind of romantic action spectacle that makes the big screen silver and provides box-office gold. Puts the prime in primate.
  7. One of the wonders of the holiday season.
  8. Not only does it recapture -- and enhance -- the subtle emotional core that has made the film so beloved for the past three-quarters of a century, it delivers the most eye-boggling, hair-raising movie thrill ride since 1993's "Jurassic Park."
  9. 100
    The rapport between Ms. Watts and Mr. Serkis is extraordinary, even though it is mediated by fur, latex, optical illusions and complicated effects. Mr. Serkis, who also played Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" movies, is redefining screen acting for the digital age, while Ms. Watts incarnates the glamour and emotional directness of classical Hollywood.
  10. 100
    Jackson's big monkey picture show is certainly the best popular entertainment of the year. The film is a wondrous blend of then and now: It honors its mythic predecessor of 1933 while using sophisticated movie technology to seamlessly manipulate the fantastic.
  11. The gorilla is great, the girl terrific, sets are out of this world, creatures icky as hell, and the director clearly does not believe in the word "enough."
  12. 90
    Here is a movie that celebrates the heyday of adventure cinema even as it embraces technology's bleeding edge. And I'm willing to forgive a lot when giant gorillas and tyrannosaurs are involved. Must be the art snob in me.
  13. 90
    After a start heavy on exposition, the film strings one action setpiece after another, each realized with the breathless excitement of an adventure pulp cover. It's as if Jackson set out to bring to life every fantasy of the last moment before earth gave way to space as the site of the final frontier.
  14. King Kong is an homage not just to the original but to the history of movies themselves.
  15. Reviewed by: Devin Gordon
    90
    A surprisingly tender, even heartbreaking, film. Like the original, it's a tragic tale of beauty and the beast.
  16. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    90
    A spectacular three-hankie tragic love story--sometimes dumb and often clunky and always pretty cornball, but just about irresistible.
  17. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Almost too much of a good thing, Peter Jackson's remake of the film that made him want to make movies is a super-sized version of a yarn that was big to begin with, a stupendous adventure that maximizes, and sometimes oversells, its dazzling wares.
  18. 89
    A sweet-natured romantic fable, albeit one that packs in carnivorous cockroaches, rampaging brontosaurs, and the ever-Freudian Empire State Building among its requisite emotional baggage. And, too, it's a corker of an action/monster movie.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    88
    The new Kong is just different enough to be terrific screen company. His relationship with his leading lady, played with heart and panache by Naomi Watts, doesn't feel like an old story retold. It feels like a brand new story.
  20. The $200 million result is an irresistibly entertaining, if grandiose, saga of doomed love and directorial hubris.
  21. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Jackson is a visionary filmmaker who is not only a technical wizard but also a master storyteller. With Jackson at the helm, you would expect dazzling special effects and epic action sequences, but what is most surprising is how heartfelt the romance feels.
  22. 88
    The best of the trio of human performers is Naomi Watts. She also has the most difficult job - not only is the role physical, but it requires her to play off something that isn't there.
  23. The scenes between Kong and Ann are much more than a goof: They're the soul of the movie.
  24. 83
    Kong is brilliant in many, many places. But it overwhelms its own best qualities with its sheer, punishing size. It is, literally, too much of a good thing.
  25. 83
    When it comes to what's great about King Kong, it's not the harum-scarum. It's the girl.
  26. 80
    Jackson is far more interested in the relationship between the girl and the ape than he is in the power of special effects for their own sake. As big as King Kong is, its sense of intimacy is what really sticks with you. This is an epic Big Little Book of a picture.
  27. It clocks in at over three hours, but Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 classic is gripping. The film rethinks the characters, turning the original's stark Jungian fantasy into a soulless but skillful set of kinetic and emotional effects.
  28. 75
    King Kong makes clear that Jackson has no contemporary peer when it comes to outsized, transporting fantasies that enchant in an era when special effects have become white noise.
  29. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    It's not so much a remake as it is a loving re-creation of the 1933 original on extra-strength steroids, with a side order of Botox. You've seen it all before but most assuredly never like this.
  30. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    I say this as someone for whom the very idea of a Kong remake is sacrilege, Jackson's straitened conception yields up a pretty damn good popcorn movie.
  31. Like Kong himself, it's imposing, sometimes endearing, and very rough around the edges.
  32. The verdict? King Kong may be a great movie event in a "Jaws/Titanic" sense of blockbuster impact and cultural talking point, but it is not a great movie.
  33. 60
    King Kong isn't terrible, but it's something that none of Jackson's previous movies ever was -- it's enervating.
  34. 60
    For King Kong is an accountant's movie at heart. Given the excessive length and bombastic F/X, there's too much action and precious little poetry.
  35. 60
    This Kong is high-powered entertainment, but Jackson pushes too hard and loses momentum over the more than three hours of the movie. The story was always a goofy fable--that was its charm--and a well-told fable knows when to stop.
  36. King Kong, a labor of love that's visually stunning and moving in its best moments, is also bloated, shallow, clunky, full of illogical scenes and at least an hour too long.
  37. Jackson is merely indulging himself here, too, doing a thing not because he should but because he can. And maybe that's a good reason but not good enough. The girl still cries, the ape still dies and all you're left with is a ringing in your ears.
  38. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    50
    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.
  39. On its own terms, the film is overlong, repetitive and lacks impact. Even if this were the first gorilla-in-love movie ever made, audiences would come away vaguely dissatisfied, suspecting there was an intriguing idea buried somewhere in here, but it didn't quite come off.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1203 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Aug 14, 2010
    10
    King Kong is one of the most memorable and celebrated stories of all-time. This remake or "re-envisioned" version of the original King Kongs is stunning, heartful, and simply unforgettable. Peter Jackson creates a remarkable and haunting Skull Island. King Kong is arguably the greatest CGI character of all-time. Forget 'Avatar', this is CGI at its best. Kong has emotion, cuts, etc. You can practically believe he or any other creature of Skull Island are real, thanks to the superb visuals. Despite the huge runtime, Kong never falters and does justice to its source material-and then some. I truly believe that this version of Kong is the best ever released. Everything is damn-right perfect, and you can't help but cry at the end, even though you already know what is going to happen to Kong. This movie transcends all of its hype and truly engages us on all levels: visual, intellectual and emotional. A true masterpiece. Go see it-now. Full Review »
  2. Feb 15, 2011
    8
    While the ending wasn't really satisfying, overall, it was a fun ride. And I actually didn't mind the length of the movie, something I criticised Peter Kackson's LOTR trilogy for. Full Review »
  3. FrancoN.
    Oct 24, 2007
    3
    Like the big ape himself, this movie was bloated and flabby. They could have at least cut 45 minutes out of it.