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3.82

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16 reviews, 203 user ratings


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King Kong (2005)
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by Erik Childress

"Denzel Ain’t Got Shit On THIS King Kong"
5 stars

Who among us didn’t think that Peter Jackson could pull it off? Universal has already gotten plenty of mileage out of their animatronic studio attraction and didn’t need to remind potential tourists that it was still operational. With the remake window at an all-time low, it was inevitable that someone was going to greenlight this project. Just imagine how we would have felt if it was Stephen Sommers, Michael Bay or Brett Ratner taking up duties. But this was not something lying around waiting for a director to sign. It was all Peter Jackson who made his intentions known and Universal was more than willing to sign over first borns to get it made on the eve of his Oscar sweeping Return of the King. This is Jackson’s baby though. He’s given a rebirth to it, fed it with the latest in technology and devoted himself to it the way only a true movie lover can. King Kong is more than just homage or a Valentine to the original. Jackson is a romantic and is playing Don Juan with the RKO classic, to the audience and the outright joy of filmmaking.

Setting the film in 1933 when the original film premiered, we’re introduced to the struggles of the time and the Vaudevillian Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) who loses her job when the theater is boarded up and may be looking at a life of nudie entertainment for food money. On the other side is filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) unsuccessfully trying to convince studio executives to finance his latest project, an on-location shoot which will cost some serious coin. After stealing the footage he does have, discovering his leading lady has flown the coup and every major actress at the time is busy (“Fay is off shooting some picture for RKO”), Carl sees a vision in Ann (and the fact she’s the same dress size) and offers her the role while keeping aspects of their sea voyage a secret.

On board, Carl cahoots his playwright-turned-screenwriter, Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) to tag along and soon the crew populated by animal trapping Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann), Carl’s assistant Preston (Colin Hanks), vain lead actor Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler, nicely hamming it up) and shipmates Hayes (Evan Parke) and Jimmy (Jamie Bell) amongst others are off to find the mysteriously undiscovered Skull Island. It will take 45 minutes of screen time to make it to the rocky enclosed shores of the mythical location and another 25 mixing it up with a cast of natives that look like they were bred from LOTR’s Orcs and the townspeople of The Serpent and the Rainbow. Unsettling indeed, but just a warm-up to the main attraction who comes thundering into the picture and like Ann, takes us in his palm for the grand adventure to follow.

Balking at a 70-minute prologue to Kong’s introduction may be expected, but you know he’s coming and with another 110 minutes, you’ll have plenty of Kong time to relish. Not that the extended setup is necessary to prolong the mystery (a la Jaws) – after all, we all know we’ve come to see a big giant ape – but Jackson knows that heart, and not special effects, are at the core of this story. Without it and a fundamental care for the characters, many of whom won’t be making it off the island, this is just a proverbial light show chalking away from what is ultimately a very simplistic fable about the beauties and the beasts that the world offers. And one kick-ass adventure to boot.

If you thought Universal Studios had some cool attraction with the King Kong ride, prepare yourself for whatever they may have up their sleeves for the inevitable Skull Island Spectacular. As set pieces come, Jackson has crafted one right after another and, at least, two standouts where the only indifference from audiences will be how hard they must clap to equal the adrenaline rush. The encounters with dinosaurs manages to top anything Spielberg did with his Jurassic Park chapters and the showstopping cat-and-mouse game between Ann, Kong and not one, but three T-Rexes might just provoke some to forget traditional etiquette and offer up a standing ovation during the middle of the film. And we haven’t even gotten to the seriously frightening spider pit sequence (where Jackson wisely doesn’t just repeat his Shelob encounter) or the final hurrah back in New York.

As non-stop as the final two hours will be talked up, Jackson pauses more than once to further the relationship between Ann and Kong. Consider what a challenge this is since communication is strictly on the visual scale and Watts didn’t have a visual to begin with. The interaction amongst the pair is extraordinary; gentle, funny and unique. Ann’s methods of making contact with the ape and his sense of rejection even after he’s saved her life for the umpteenth time is simply beautiful. Watts’ gusto throwing herself into the Vaudevillian act for Kong is proof that every species appreciates a well-timed pratfall. (One imagines Kong for hours in front of the See/Hear/Speak-no-evil monkeys doing The Three Stooges.) When Jackson slows himself and the anarchy of New York down for a few perfectly-realized minutes on an ice pond between beauty and beast, it results in the most romantic scene of the year and a throat-choking setup for the ensuing climax.

With all the effects domination occurring at every corner; dino attacks and aviation shots ushering in a new era of digital wowza – its easy for the performances to get lost in the mix. Brody is just fine as the reluctant adventurer and Black may be just a little too snarky to pull off some of the more dramatic elements. Even his delivery of the classic final line almost feels like he’s one wink away from parody. But Naomi Watts is just perfect here. She’s got the look and, Lord knows, she’s got the lungs to knock the crown off of any scream queen, but in her scenes with Kong she displays the chops of a great silent film actress. In what was little more than just a “beauty” role in the past with Fay Wray and Jessica Lange, Watts brings new dimensions to and succeeds in what could have wound up as a punchline, instead of a highlight on her resume. As for what Andy Serkis does behind-the-scenes for Kong himself, what more can you say than Bravo! After all he did for Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, I’d hate to see Serkis’ chiropractic bills and having not seen any behind-the-scenes footage, I don’t even know where to begin. But between his contributions and those of effects supervisors Eric Leighton and Christian Rivers, Kong may be the greatest CGI creation in movie history – not just because of how real he appears, but for the emotions that make him real.

Granted the technological jumps, there is no reason any film scholar couldn’t successfully argue that the new Kong is just as good if not better than the original. King Kong is an evolution of both movies and man. The great ape himself is the grandest version of our former selves, a magnificent beast calmed by a beautiful and caring woman, thrust away from his familiar environment where nature is capitalized on and destroyed. I’m sure that’s also one metaphor for updating Kong for modern audiences and doubly sure that it’s not lost on Jackson. (Keep an eye out for that “Dino” (de Laurentiis) marquee that Kong smashes in absolute fury.) There are a few things that keep Kong from absolute perfection, but how could it be? Kong, while being the majestic being we want him to be is also one whose primal instinct can make him an enemy amongst men (or film critics.) But man is a thinking creature and not one of them in their right mind can say that Peter Jackson hasn’t earned his place amidst the greatest filmmakers ever (just a fantasy guy, you say – watch Heavenly Creatures again) and that his labor of love hasn’t earned a mantel place next to that groundbreaking RKO classic.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13654&reviewer=198
originally posted: 12/14/05 00:26:20
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell good but 2 long 4 stars
4/05/16 Charles Tatum Merely good 4 stars
12/30/14 Tom miscast (except for Ms. Watts) nice fx in NYC, but otherwise like a video game,poor music., 2 stars
6/26/11 DR Entertaining in parts. But very boring in the middle, with a vacuous philosophy at the end. 2 stars
12/31/10 Napoleon Awesome movie! 5 stars
11/16/10 Joe Brizzi A great remake/re-telling of the magnificent original 1933 film. 5 stars
10/03/10 art A SUPERIOR REMAKE!,ERADICATES that AWFUL 1976 VERison,still the 1933 ONE is the BEST! 4 stars
10/25/09 No_limits75 Effective online instructors need training and ongoing professional development to develo 2 stars
10/25/09 Faggot71 Contaminants can enter water supplies either as a result of human and animal activities, o 2 stars
10/24/09 Loy61 This is surely one of the most elementary characteristics of the human rhythmic response, 5 stars
10/24/09 driver77 It's been around a lot longer than credit cards have, and I suspect that if the credit ca 5 stars
10/23/09 Merlin50 The low mutability of wild genes was distinctly increased, but the comparatively high mut 4 stars
10/22/09 Miss42 Peopling ancient landscapes: potential and problems, David MattinglyIII. , 4 stars
6/16/09 art THE ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT,IT IS THE BEAUTIFUL NAOMI WATTS! 3 stars
10/09/08 man awesome 5 stars
9/26/08 action movie fan good f/x but corny and laughable at times, 1933 film still the best-a disappointment. 2 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner Well Made! 4 stars
5/19/08 PAUL SHORTT A HUGELY ENJOYABLE, EYE-POPPING REMAKE THAT PUSHES ALL THE RIGHT BUTTONS 4 stars
5/08/08 Karrie Millheim The interaction between Kong and Watts was good, I cried at the end 5 stars
4/20/08 art OVERRATED REMAKE OF THE 1933 VERISON 3 stars
3/18/08 Con The Don A trip 2 snoreville when u watch this bag of gorrila shit 1 stars
3/10/08 Jayme Isaacs Great Movie 5 stars
11/26/07 dude loved it 5 stars
11/25/07 g webster Naomi -The giant ape-2 good reasons to see this film,great actionand a wonderful remake 4 stars
10/02/07 wall amazing 5 stars
9/18/07 dude loved it 5 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger talk about casting! the performances are brilliant. naomi watts is wow. epic movie 5 stars
6/14/07 Vincent Ebriega Inspired in many ways. Jackson really shows us the magic not seen in his LOTR films. 5/5. 5 stars
5/25/07 ebert best remake i've ever seen 5 stars
3/07/07 man just plain awesome 5 stars
3/06/07 Peter Jaxon fan holy rap that mvie was great 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Peter Jackson turns Kong from a monster to a really respected Hollywood image. 5 stars
2/11/07 Austin Wertman Overlong but friggin Awesome 5 stars
1/23/07 Pete 200 MILLION DOLLARS 1 stars
1/03/07 steve newman Great acting, great special effects, shame it was 30 minutes too long - still go see!! 4 stars
12/12/06 Dude Best remake ever 5 stars
11/02/06 stacy this was the first film I actually walked out of 1 stars
10/18/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still great. 5 stars
9/19/06 PD Ridiculous abuse of "extending disbelief". 1 stars
9/16/06 Benny best movie i`ve ever seen!!! 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist One of the greatest rehashes& is a another product of CGI perfection.Very true to the story 5 stars
7/11/06 JM Synth Outstanding moments, but Jackson REALLY needs to start curbing his excesses 3 stars
7/08/06 Anthony Feor Jackson just wants to make the audience sit for 3 hours 1 stars
6/27/06 joe koski watch it,it rock!!!! 5 stars
6/25/06 Brian O'Neill Staggeringly huge in scale and still emotionally resonant (i.e. I agree with the reviewer!) 5 stars
6/23/06 exa one of the worst movies I've ever seen 1 stars
6/12/06 Michael Great review, thought the movie was fun! 4 stars
6/12/06 Ginger Terrible movie. CGI unimpressive 1 stars
6/07/06 Peggy Doty Pretty good 4 stars
6/04/06 Adam overated cgi overload 3 stars
6/03/06 Wipef Awesome!!!!!Totally rocked! I loved it!!!!! 5 stars
5/30/06 Bryan McAllister best fx ive seen in a movie ever 5 stars
5/24/06 Jason Watchable, but forgetable movie. Overhyped by some critics 3 stars
5/14/06 Indrid Cold Supremely well made extended action sequences, but didn't leave me in awe. 4 stars
5/02/06 Reklc Fun and well made.:real craftsmanship! 5 stars
5/02/06 Ashley Hinz Surprisingly well worth a look, but too long to buy. 4 stars
4/27/06 CHris I thought it was great, much better than that one with the dude in the ape suit LOL 5 stars
4/27/06 Quigley see this film for Skull Island alone. Easily some of cinema's most spetacular action ever. 5 stars
4/27/06 nora Grreat fun- 5 stars
4/27/06 Gabs worth watching once, but dodgy bits and pieces mar its quality. 4 stars
4/24/06 Danny Fell asleep several times during first hour, but the latter two are really entertaining 4 stars
4/24/06 Anthony Feor This movie is a downe 3 stars
4/22/06 Poopy Woopy Awesome! 5 stars
4/17/06 Yorkee Too long, Too loud - Too Much!! 2 stars
4/15/06 Matt He's using a hand-cranked camera because he doesn't have a sound man. Or electricity. Duh. 2 stars
4/15/06 TreeTiger One of the best - if not *the* best - movie of 2005... 5 stars
4/14/06 Aldo first hour is abit too slow for my liking.....but the rest is really enjoyable 4 stars
4/12/06 Reja fantastic effects while sticking to the original. 5 stars
4/09/06 stuart just a stupid gorrila 1 stars
4/02/06 Quigley it's not every day you see action sequences and CGI this amazing. incredible film 5 stars
4/01/06 othree The '30s meets The Mummy meets Jurassic Park meets Jane Goodall, not enough heart. 4 stars
3/31/06 millersxing it's a spectacle, but it's not spectacular 4 stars
3/31/06 Nobody Really exciting movie, amazing FX 5 stars
3/29/06 Mark Radburn What the Fuck is with you people, King Kong sucks Donkey Shit 1 stars
3/28/06 John it's really long and self indulgent - my least favorite King Kong version by far 2 stars
3/23/06 mike 1st hour was a yawn -but trex fight scene kicked ass 4 stars
3/18/06 Elizabeth Long but worth it 5 stars
3/12/06 Roderick Cromar This film is too long and repetetive. 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk Great FX and story but the timing of the film is ill judged 5 stars
3/04/06 chris f very good film very enjoyable 5 stars
2/26/06 Steven Lewis Too long but great special FX 3 stars
2/19/06 Tanya EXCELLENT MOVIE great effects 5 stars
2/11/06 Quigley the movie has moments that are simply spetacular. this is one awesome flick 5 stars
2/09/06 Dave Good but not really 3 stars
2/05/06 Anthony Feor Extremely long and extremely good 4 stars
1/26/06 Yorkee Too Long, Too Loud, TOO MUCH!! - Naomi was the saviour. 2 stars
1/25/06 John feels bloated and shallow at the same time 1 stars
1/25/06 LP Quagmire Stands proudly next to Paramount's KONG as one of the all-time monster movie greats. 5 stars
1/24/06 emil a long,boring film.a monkey-rampage in new york and a nonexistent love story. 2 stars
1/22/06 Cock THEY MADE A FILM ABOUT MY PENIS AND DID NOT GIVE ME CREDIT. MOTHERFUCKERS. 5 stars
1/21/06 Melissa Best Animal Movie Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/19/06 Mike Pulido Cut out the first hour of this film and the bronto stampede and this would be a great movie 4 stars
1/16/06 john bale Overblown but spectacular homage to the orginal with a few moments of great cinema. 4 stars
1/14/06 chris f fabulous movie 5 stars
1/12/06 Perry Mason Silly, long, bloated, amazing. I loved it. 5 stars
1/10/06 Mark Radburn What is wrong with you idiots, This film sucks. Stick to the Original King Kong 1 stars
1/09/06 George Bloated. There just isn't enough story to fill three hours. Save something for the DVD cut. 3 stars
1/09/06 kmdewitt take 1.5 HOURS to get to the King Kong Island!!! Comp Graphics good, but too darn LONG!!! 4 stars
1/07/06 Dirty South way too long and boring. YAWN 1 stars
1/04/06 Quigley I am so glad you people aren't real critics. this movie is like LOTR: endlessly spetacular 5 stars
1/04/06 Elisa G Since I am so in awe of the original, I could not betray it by giving it the highest mark! 4 stars
1/04/06 XYX This film only goes to show how far the rot has gone in Hollywood. 2 stars
1/04/06 m Pickles Christ sucks 5 stars
1/03/06 Daniel Cardone Unforgivably and needlesly LONG! 3 stars
1/03/06 Pickles Christ not one bloated minute of this crapfest went without some dumbass absurd bullshit. 1 stars
1/03/06 John has more of a "Pete's Dragon" than "Beauty and the Beast" take on the story 2 stars
1/03/06 Mark Radburn Stick to the Original King Kong 1 stars
1/02/06 Mark Way to go,Daisy! 1 stars
1/01/06 sharon asay excellent. made me actually feel that this could happen! 5 stars
1/01/06 Jim Good, but not Lord of the Rings good. 4 stars
1/01/06 Gray could have better but still 5 stars
1/01/06 Smitty Finally we understand the relationship between Ann and Kong - movie is just a bit too long 4 stars
12/31/05 Quigley one of the best films of the year. entertaining to the last minute. jaw-dropping action 5 stars
12/31/05 Tanya EXCELLENT MOVIE great effects 5 stars
12/30/05 tony 3 and a half hours of brilliant action with a cheezy love story 4 stars
12/27/05 Taylor Fladgate A "spectacle" of a movie, a must see...but too long. 4 stars
12/27/05 Daisy What a piece of crap!!! 1 stars
12/26/05 Bubba I like big monkeys 2 stars
12/26/05 Zack Worth seeing/renting 3 stars
12/26/05 Oscar Xauraux Better at half the length. Much digression. 2 stars
12/25/05 Ben Knapton Totally unbelieveable action scenes (a guy punches a raptor) mindless action scenes. crap. 1 stars
12/25/05 John overindulgent - bad script - only a few good moments 2 stars
12/24/05 Tom Total overkill. Rent the original. 3 stars
12/24/05 Todd Great movie! I laughed, cried and almost puked (bugs). Fucking Awesome!!! 5 stars
12/24/05 ravin a cinematic masterpiece of the decade 5 stars
12/23/05 Sheila Very disappointing. Laughed and slept! 2 stars
12/23/05 Green Gremlin Anyone who doesn't like this movie is impossible to please !!!! 5 stars
12/23/05 God Awesome!!! Those who hate it were probably expecting mindless action crap like Godzilla! 5 stars
12/23/05 harry terrible film.Awful CGI and 2 hours of monsters fighting each other.Ughh!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
12/23/05 Quigley what is wrong with you people? this movie was amazing and monumental in about every way. 5 stars
12/23/05 Flounder A kinetic, edge of your seat, old fashioned weepie flick with a touch of self-indulgence 5 stars
12/23/05 Z-man Total Crap! 1 stars
12/23/05 haha "looks like a video gam,e"ummm sure dont u mean the starwars films! 5 stars
12/23/05 Rob Over-long, megacliched..but a great cure for insomnia 1 stars
12/23/05 katsat Side characters overdone, but chemistry and sweetness were heart-breaking. 5 stars
12/22/05 Mike V Looks like a video game. CGI abused. 2 stars
12/22/05 Manuel San Miguel Jackson’s King Kong is amazing, thrilling, tender, and a loving homage to Coopers' original 5 stars
12/22/05 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Great EFX, Great Story and Jack played a great asshole 5 stars
12/21/05 Danny Boy Less would be more--much more! 2 stars
12/21/05 Agent Sands Jack Black's performance of one of my favorite film characters of 2005 is the best part. 4 stars
12/21/05 Old Dirty Too long, bad casting, not enough NY scenes 2 stars
12/21/05 Ophidiophile The first hour drags, Jack Black and Adrien Brody are miscast terribly 2 stars
12/21/05 Wolf Jack Black is *horribly* miscast here, but Kong + effects were outstanding. 4 stars
12/20/05 Ryan slow start, great flick. pee beforehand. 4 stars
12/20/05 rory looked cartoonish. 1 stars
12/20/05 Billy Lyons too long, over-wrought, corny 2 stars
12/20/05 Titus A couple slightly slow/cheesy bits, but mostly SO AWESOME! 5 stars
12/20/05 Ha Ha Worst of the decade?? You're reaching JockAMundo. 5 stars
12/20/05 JockAMundo Special Effects great, but story, pacing, acting are awfull. Wost move of the decade. 1 stars
12/19/05 Flounder Flawed but great. I'll take this over just about anything else in the market 5 stars
12/19/05 Eden Overall brilliant - 3 hours have never passed so quickly 5 stars
12/19/05 Brian You people are ridiculous-- it's about 300 times better than I expected, great in every way 5 stars
12/19/05 Just Me 3+ hours of 100% crap 1 stars
12/19/05 Andrea Entertaining! Very impressive. 4 stars
12/19/05 deeza too long but brilliant - great chemistry naomi/ape 5 stars
12/19/05 Jack Farnsworth Fuckin awesome 5 stars
12/19/05 Klondo Jimmy & Mister Hayes sucked. Kong vs. 3 T-rexes was awesome. 4 stars
12/19/05 Ryland Johnson Jackson transforms the racist sentiments of 'Heart of Darkness' into 3 hours of nihilism. 2 stars
12/18/05 GoGo What the hell was that "Beauty and The Beast" on ice scene? Thumbs down. 2 stars
12/18/05 tim eyre agree with the above, what al load of balls this film is. 2 stars
12/18/05 Mark So-so.Drags on. If you like LOTR you'll prolly like this. 3 stars
12/18/05 michelle havent seen it 1 stars
12/18/05 Amy i haven't seen it 1 stars
12/18/05 Evil Wolfie Holy sweet crap, that was good!! Last scene kinda dragged on though. 4 stars
12/18/05 jcjs oh yes 5 stars
12/18/05 Quigley the movie is so amazing in every way. it reminds us why we see movies at all. bravo jackson 5 stars
12/18/05 E-Bu I actually checked my watch during the New York rampage(s). Almost every scene is too long. 3 stars
12/18/05 Michaelm I couldn't "care" about a CGI gorilla and didn't empathize w/ Ann/Kong after 2 dozen deaths 3 stars
12/17/05 mason Corny as piss but still likeable, better than the dumb-ass Lord Of The Rings trilogy. 3 stars
12/17/05 Adam Reviewer correct on specific points, but on balance this is a great movie 4 stars
12/17/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Simple lesson. Never take a Shiksa with you to the top. The man will always shoot you down! 4 stars
12/17/05 Rick B Reviewer is correct and right on the money. I wanted to like it but it was too damaged. 3 stars
12/17/05 Robert E. This is honestly the worst film I've paid to see in a long time. 2 stars
12/17/05 chris brilliant movie 5 stars
12/17/05 Richard Gere Balls 1 stars
12/17/05 Bob Dog The Emperor Has No Clothes! 1 stars
12/17/05 jeff nelus Weak 2 stars
12/16/05 Dan I largely agree with Cornelius, but Jackson does a great job of making Kong sympathetic. 3 stars
12/16/05 Steve Eckert Haven't had a more significant experience in a theater since "Star Wars" . 5 stars
12/16/05 neoloand the best 5 stars
12/16/05 malcolm like 3 separate stories weaved seamlessly. never felt long. 5 stars
12/16/05 gim I absolutely agree with David Cornelius 2 stars
12/16/05 Kristina Williams I cried my EYES out and got dizzy as hell all at once 5 stars
12/16/05 Darren Shea A suprisingly moving update of a classic, and the most convincing Kong ever! 5 stars
12/16/05 van zwaar poor joe some jelous starwars fan...faggot 5 stars
12/16/05 Ha Ha Ohhhhhh mama! 5 stars
12/15/05 ES Easily one of the ten best of all time 5 stars
12/15/05 ........... Good Movie 5 stars
12/15/05 The Jiz Yo This unequivocably is the most entertaining thing I have seen in a looooong time. 5 stars
12/15/05 gyro An embarrassment of riches for the audience. Maybe too much for some people. 5 stars
12/15/05 Giacomo This is pure escapist entertainment at its finest. 5 stars
12/15/05 Ape Law Mess with the white women and the Man will gun you down! 5 stars
12/15/05 Joe bleh 1 stars
12/14/05 ew good stuff 5 stars
12/14/05 Kipster Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun! Did I mention that this movie is a blast???? See it....now. 5 stars
12/14/05 Craig Holy mother of Kong 5 stars
12/14/05 Tyrantis Even the T.rex lover in my loved it. Awesome does not do it justice. 5 stars
12/14/05 Carlton entertainment at it's best not appealing only to folks innately dissatisfied profoudly wow 5 stars
12/14/05 Anusman Holy Crap Peter Jackson!!! You just keep topping yourself!! I even cried once or twice... 5 stars
12/14/05 Flounder One of the most fun experiences I have ever had at the movies. 5 stars
12/13/05 M.F. some fun, but bloated and overlong 3 stars
12/13/05 farnqwo The pre release hype and Peter Jackson's new haircut = 3 stars
12/13/05 doa766 cinematic bliss 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Dec-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Dec-2005




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