Jack Black’s Monster Movie Is Dominating Netflix

Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong, starring Jack Black as the obsessed director Carl Denham, is the #6 movie streaming on Netflix.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

jack black
Kyle Chandler and Jack Black in King Kong (2005)

Jack Black may be best known for his comedic roles, as well as his voice work in animated franchises like as Bowser in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie, but he’s taken a few memorable stabs at more “serious” drama including in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong. Black plays Carl Denham, the director obsessed with finding his glory on Skull Island. The Oscar-winning epic is finding new life on Netflix, where it’s currently number six on the list of most streamed movies.

Along with Jack Black as Carl Denham, Peter Jackson cast Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive) as the actress Ann Darrow, Adrien Brody (The Pianist) as her lover Jack, and Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) for the Kong motion capture and as the courageous sailor Lumpy. Thomas Kretschmann (Blade II) plays the captain of the mostly doomed Venture crew, Colin Hanks (Orange County) is Denham’s personal assistant Preston, and Jamie Bell (Rocketman) is the young Jimmy.

King Kong was Peter Jackson’s first major film project after the Lord of the Rings trilogy and expectations were high. That may be why when it was released in theaters — while reviewers were generally kind to the remake — a lot of fans walked away disappointed. There were issues with the film that neither Jack Black, Naomi Watts, nor anyone else in the film could charm out of it.

Apparently convinced his Lord of the Rings entries had given him more freedom than usual, Peter Jackson delivered a King Kong remake that was over 3 hours long. Unlike in his Tolkien adaptations, however, with King Kong it takes a long time for the film to really get going. It takes around 70 minutes — over a third of the film — for Jack Black’s Denham and everyone else to even arrive at the perilous Skull Island.

King Kong‘s Rotten Tomatoes score is indicative of the response the film received when it hit theaters in 2005. Enough reviewers gave it their seals of approval to earn it an 84 percent critics score, while the audience score is a dismal 50 percent. Ironically while it’s one of the highest critics scores on the site for a film in which Jack Black had a starring role, it’s one of the lower audience scores; though by no means the lowest, that would be 23 percent for the 2015 comedy The D Train.

Perhaps it’s the distance from 2005 — and hence the distance from the expectations the Lord of the Rings trilogy left audiences with — that is helping viewers give Jack Black, Adrien Brody, and the rest a second chance with King Kong. It could also be that fans erroneously believe that the movie is part of the Warner Bros. “MonsterVerse.” While the remake has nothing to do with that film series, Kyle Chandler — who plays Denham’s lead actor in King Kong — would go on to play the hero Mark Russell in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong.

If you want to see for yourself whether or not King Kong is worth the time Jackson asks you to invest in it, it’s currently streaming on Netflix.