Ebert and Roeper reviewed KING KONG on their show this week. Amidst all the raving about how great the film was, they did admit that its three-hour running time was a bit much; however, the defended the film for its slow build-up to the revelation of the titular ape, which doesn’t occur until approximately an hour into the running time.
This would have been fine (a slow build-up to the revelation of the monster is a classic ploy of many great horror films), but their grounds for defending the approach was bizarre: Ebert called this the “JAWS” approach, and Roeper quickly chimed in his agreement.
Don’t these two dweebs remember that the original KING KONG (1933) held off on revealing Kong for something like fifty minutes? The remake’s director Peter Jackson isn’t imitatiing Steven Spielberg; he’s merely following in the footsteps of the classic KONG that inspired him to want to make movies in the first place.
Of course, this is a trivial complaint, but it’s so bizarre to see two guys on television trying to impress us with their acumen by citing a “classic” example of a particular technique — and then naming a film that was merely copying a technique established over thirty years previously. In any other context, one might overlook this, but we are talking about a remake of KING KONG. Under the circumstances, it’s pretty ridiculous to point to JAWS when a rather more obvious and older template is the clear source of inspiration for the narrative approach that Jackson took.