The remake of the 1933 classic (still set in the '30s) brought in $68.1 million since its opening last Wednesday.

Director Carl Denham is looking to make a movie that'll make lots of money. This leads him to cast vaudeville actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) as his lead to star opposite Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler).

Denham, Darrow, her crush - playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) - and a host of others travel to the mysterious Skull Island to investigate the legend of the giant gorilla named Kong.

The crew, led by Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) and assistant Preston (Colin Hanks), and their passengers tolerate each other enough until they run aground through the fog to Skull Island.

Not your typical hosts, the savage natives immediately capture Darrow to sacrifice her to Kong, but the big ape has other things on his mind.

Quicker than you can say a pick-up line, Kong lifts Darrow into the air and takes off into the island. Kong even fights off three tyrannosauruses in one hand while keeping a firm grip on his gal. A huge brontosaurus stampede and giant spider attacks also keep us on the edge of our seats.

Soon the two are bonding like gorilla glue, and the movie becomes a love story. In the original, the attraction was mostly one-sided, but this time around, it looks more mutual. Funny though, it doesn't come across as strange or gross. It's even amusing when Darrow performs some vaudeville routines for Kong to keep him tame.

Our ape Kong is eventually captured and brought to New York, which leads us to his famous jaunt up the side of the Empire State Building.

Despite the three-hour running time, "King Kong" is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. From the computer generated imaging (CGI) to the acting, it is a breath of fresh air during this holiday season.

There are times when "King Kong" drags, but when the ape of the (three) hour arrives, the movie is non-stop excitement.

Black, Watts and Brody are always fun to watch, and it's nice to see Black play along with some heavy hitters. Watts does an excellent job screaming her head off while showing compassion for her great ape.

The re-creation of New York from 1933 is excellent and stunning - as if you are actually there. This is one film that'll win an award or two in the near future.

You'll go bananas over this version of "King Kong," as it bunches four out of four stars.

"King Kong" is rated PG-13 for frightening adventure, violence and some disturbing images. Running time is 3 hours, 7 minutes.

Last week's No. 1, Walt Disney's "The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe," slipped to No. 2 at $31.1 million - eclipsing the $100 million mark with $112.5 million in two weeks.

Warner Bros. "Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire" remains in the top five at No. 4 - adding $5.9 million to its five-week total of $252.5 million.

United Artists' "Yours, Mine And Ours" drops out of the top five to No. 7 with $3.4 million. The family comedy has gathered $45.1 million over the past month.

For more information and show times, contact Regal Cinemas Marketplace 24, 180 Mill Road, Oaks, at 610-666-6697.

Dennis J. Wright can be reached at dwright@phoenixvillenews.com.

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