As a lifelong aficionado of the 1933 original – with a penchant for the derided 1976 remake, too – I approached Peter Jackson’s epic 2005 CGI re-imagining with some caution. After all, it cost a then- industry-record $207 million to make and lasts for an indulgent three hours. But Jackson imbued the Lord of the Rings trilogy’s vast scale with emotional intimacy and does so again here amid the hokum. Setting the action in 1933 is key, underlining his affection for what is a story about film-makers and the exploitation of celebrity, a very modern complaint. Jack Black, Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody take seriously the roles of villain, damsel and hero, respectively, and motion-capture maestro Andy Serkis brings the 25-foot gorilla to detailed life. The action is melodramatic, the set pieces big – including a revival of the original’s lost giant-spider-attack sequence – and James Newton Howard’s score fulsome.
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