Monday, December 19, 2005

Review - King Kong **spoilers**


Caught King Kong on the weekend. I liked it, overall. Definitely a thumbs up. As I've been saying for a lot of movies out these days, though, it could have been so much better.

As my buddy Zaib always says, I'm reductive, so here's the breakdown, point by point:

1. First off, the movie is way too long. I didn't mind the length so much, but it would have been a much tighter movie had it not had certain dumb storylines and over-extended fight/chase scenes. Read on.

2. The storyline between Jimmy and Mr. Hayes was rushed, underdeveloped and completely unnecessary. Dump it. The dialogue was awkward (it came off way more as a potential homosexual relationship than a father-son one, and I couldn't tell which one Jackson was shooting for) and the characters served no purpose other than to add another story arc. Why waste time on them?

3. Plausibility. Ok, I know, I know, it's a movie about a giant gorilla. I get it. But there's still a way to sell it without having the audience say, "Wtf?" every two minutes because something really silly happens on screen. Here's the breakdown:

- Ann is starving to the point of stealing an apple, but has no qualms turning down an opportunity to shoot a movie in Singapore until the director sells her on the story.

- Ann is ripped from her bindings by Kong. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, folks. Since she had been struggling mightily with the ropes, one can assume that the weakest point would not be between the ropes and the wood, but between her shoulder and her arm. She would have snapped like a twig.

- Speaking of which, Kong holds Ann is his hand as he wings his arm back and forth at great speed across his chest as a show of strength. Again with the twig. This time, her neck. Fuggetaboutit.

- The brontosaurus chase scene. Worst part of the flick by far. First of all, the green screen looked horrid. I thought I was watching one of those bits from Whose Line Is It Anyway? They'd all be dead if there were that many giant feet running by them. And despite the danger and the massive pile-up of brontosauruses (sp?), the raptors still chase the itty-bitty humans. The guy with the tripod must've smelled real good...

- The itty-bitty human bit applies to all the carnivorous dinosaurs who chase Ann or any other human despite the ample meat in front of them. One T-Rex actually drops half a dinosaur from his mouth to chase Ann. I've heard of skirt chasing before, but this is ridiculous...

- Jimmy shoots bugs off Jack with a machine gun. 'Nuff said.

- And just how the hell did they get Kong on the boat? The thing's a gagillion pounds of dead weight barely sticking out of a cave.

- The end scene takes place at sunrise (I thought it was sunset, but since it was night two seconds before...) which means that either the show started at 5 in the morning or that chase scene went a lot longer than it looked.

4. Unlike many other folk, I didn't mind Adrien Brody. His character is necessary, since you need to have something on the other side of the equation - something has to be appealing about NY and someone has to be willing to risk their lives to save her on the island.

5. The fall. I was watching the last scene and, since it went on for so long, I wondered how they would show Kong's demise. We all know the guy falls. Do we need to see it? What kind of shot will they use? I prayed they wouldn't do a Hans from Die Hard-type thing. It occurred to me that we didn't need to see him fall. We all know he falls. The shot of him disappearing over the edge, followed by Ann's reaction was clear, moving, and not crass. Jackson, always wanting to add as many shots as possible, had the top view of Kong falling (and spinning) all the way down (sans splat, thank goodness). The only nice thing about this shot was the planes going by in slow mo. But this might have worked better in the shot of Ann's reaction (if the planes had passed in the background then). But that's just me.

But like I said, overall I liked the movie. You really couldn't go wrong, considering the subject matter. But the acting was decent (kudos to Watts for her acting in front of a green screen).

Jack Black was not as annoying as he could have been (I liked him in High Fidelity, but he has been wearing on me ever since), but I thought the role would have been better served by an older actor.

As one would expect, though, Kong was the true star. They did a fantastic job with his animation and facial reactions. I'm betting there's a few Oscar noms in store for this movie, but, like Titanic, I think they should be limited to technical achievements.

...of course, Titanic sucked my bum.

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