Remake of the classic: A huge love story - Peter Jackson's "King Kong" on TV

The year 1933 was not a good year elsewhere either.

Remake of the classic: A huge love story - Peter Jackson's "King Kong" on TV

The year 1933 was not a good year elsewhere either. The United States is suffering from the Great Depression. The pretty vaudeville actress Ann Darrow has just lost her job and is wandering hungry through the streets of New York, where she runs into director Carl Denham. He has just lost the leading actress for his new film. Denham wants to set off with his crew to film on a distant island as quickly as possible, so the pretty blonde with the big eyes comes in handy. He actually manages to hire Ann for his windy project. The ship sets sail that same night - with an unknown destination. The journey will cost many of the passengers their lives. And let Ann experience great love for the first time in her life.

As a little boy, Peter Jackson saw "King Kong and the White Woman" on New Zealand television and - as legend has it - decided that same evening that he wanted to become a director. A good 30 years later, its remake of the material is considered the cinema event of the year. The director has to meet several expectations: The film industry sees this as the last chance to bring the disastrous financial year to a positive conclusion. Cinephiles want an intelligent reinterpretation of the Hollywood classic. And the spectators expect nothing less than a magnificent spectacle. Not an easy task for the Oscar-winning director. In order to be able to serve all of these sometimes conflicting interests, Jackson secured a gigantic budget of more than 200 million dollars and stretched the whole thing out to a princely 188 minutes.

This allows him to unfold the plot at his leisure. Jackson sets the story in the 1930s - exactly the time in which the original was created. The director pays homage to the original he admires with numerous ironic allusions. Peter Jackson lovingly resurrected Depression-era New York. He gives the plot and characters plenty of room to develop. So we get to know her in detail: the shy, idealistic Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), who still believes in true love. The unscrupulous film impresario Carl Denham (played by the great comedian Jack Black), who literally kills himself in his greed for fame and success. And the playwright Jack Driscoll ("Pianist" Adrien Brody), who only took on the job of screenwriter because of a lack of money and suddenly gives up with the crew around Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann is the coolest captain since Jürgen Prochnow in "Das Boot") high seas again. In fact, the boat reaches the shores of Skull Island after a severe storm.

There the crew meets fearsome natives who quickly kidnap Ann and offer her up as a sacrifice to the giant ape King Kong. He immediately falls in love with the beautiful blonde. At this point, Jackson goes a decisive step further than the original version: Ann returns this love to him. In wonderful scenes, the film shows how the two creatures, who are initially strangers to each other, get closer to each other. How Ann amuses the monkey with her vaudeville skills. How he grunts with glee when the blonde loses her balance and falls on her backside. And how the couple finally watches the setting sun together. What romance! And you can feel for Ann, who feels loved for the first time in her life - pure and selfless.

So while the new couple languishes into the sunset, the rest of the ship's crew goes looking for Ann. Lots of dinosaurs, worms and insects lurk on the way to her. Here Jackson remembers his action-driven “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Not only that the island landscape with its overgrown forests, steep cliffs and impressive waterfalls is very similar to the landscape of Middle-earth. That would have been manageable. But unfortunately the director leaves the gripping story too often and for too long to enjoy throwing himself into the fray of battle. New monsters are always waiting for the ship's crew, who have to survive one slaughter after another on their way to Ann.

The liberation finally succeeds, and as a souvenir, King Kong is drugged and taken to New York, where Denham wants to make big money. The end is known: Driven by love, the giant ape escapes with Ann to the roof of the Empire State Building, where the couple enjoys one last sunset together before the US Air Force puts an abrupt end to the whole thing. The true story is expressed in the film's famous final line: "It wasn't the planes. It was the beauty that killed the beast."

When it comes to this film, it can be said that even the overkill of special effects and action was not able to take the life out of this touching story. All in all, Peter Jackson has created a thrilling film that has wrested a new side from the old theme of Beauty and the Beast. And so the legend of the giant ape Kong and his love for a woman will still endure in the new millennium - and perhaps one day encourage a little boy to become a director.

“King Kong” airs May 8th at 8:15 p.m. on Nitro

Transparency note: Der stern is part of RTL Deutschland.