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King Kong

So I finally watched Peter Jackson's "King Kong". Probably Frank Cho's favorite movie.


review with spoilers

Because it has giant apes, dinosaurs and boobies.

Well, Naomi Watts is not terribly endowed in the boobies department, but still, that counts. She looks amazingly like Nicole Kidman.

So it's a fact, Peter Jackson is really good at filming spectacular. Spectacular monsters, spectacular landscapes, spectacular fights.

In terms of screenwriting, though, he sucks donkey balls. Or monkey balls, in that case. It makes my head hurt that they were 3 to write that "script".

The movie was 20 minutes of setting the plot and the characters, followed by 2 hours of chases, fights, new giant creatures, and last minute rescues, all more unbelievable than the previous ones, and ending with 40 minutes of leading the ape to its known fate.
I suspect that PJ has been given access to the databank of all the CGI creatures created before him and decided to put as many of them on the screen as possible. Like a kid pulling together all his toys along with his sister's Barbie doll. Plot? What plot?

And if you're going to make a movie just to line up CGI monsters, try to make the whole thing a wee bit more realistic. Why did Kong shake Ann like that when he first got her? And why didn't her spine snap? Because... Yeah, CGI does wonder, but physics laws and anatomics still stands true.
They're not even that good...
And it's another evidence (along with the Star Wars prequels) that giving full control to a director is a BAD idea...


I'm not sure I've seen the original King Kong flick, so I don't know how much of this one came from it...
The whole part on the boat reminded me of "Titanic" (from the machinery's shots up to Naomi Watts dancing), and Kong falling from the Empire State Building even made me think of, hum, the scene where a frozen Jack sinks into the ocean with Rose crying over his death. I know it's not a popular opinion right now, but I still find it easier to feel for Leonardo DiCaprio than for a giant ape. I never liked monkeys much. They're too much like humans, and not the best part of it...

Jack Driscoll, for some reason, made me think that Adrien Brody would be fine to play Neil Gaiman if there was ever a movie requiring it.

Best line of the movie :
"Actors. They travel around the world, all they see is their mirror".

The director's character was really dislikeable. Too bad he didn't get killed off.

The Red Shirts introduced just long enough that we should care a bit when they died later were... well, it didn't work on me. I have a nagging suspicion that PJ is going to release a 6-hours long version that will contain scenes developing all those characters that seem to be there for a reason but only exist as cardboard figures. Apart from giving a job to Andy Serkis where he shows his face, that is.

I'm glad I finally saw Jamie Bell on screen. Though his part was... Like the rest.

I don't know, when I have to write about "utilitarian" characters, I feel it's a waste of time to flesh them out too much. It takes time over the character development of the ones who matter (though frankly, even the leads didn't get that much CD here, for a movie that long...).
Besides, "people are not snowflakes". Really. Not everyone has to be quirky or odd, or so "square" that he's a living stereotype.

I wonder what happened to the Captain's character... he was nifty. The actor, Thomas Kretschmann, wasn't bad either (well, it was a pop-corn movie, so ogling the eye candy really is all there is to it, right?).

The "feral child" annoyed me, because the girl looked like an artificially blackened white girl. And ooooh, she actually is. Well, more or less. Jacinta Wawatai.
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I think it's the first time I've seen Kyle Chandler (from "that TV show with a cat and the newspaper from tomorrow" fame) on screen in something different. His part had more surprises than I thought, for a comic relief one.

Comments

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kahvi_elf
Jan. 8th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
yup, Thomas is always eye-candy :-)
You also confirm what I heard from other friends baout the film...still don't know if I should go and watch it...and spend money on it.
hiyami
Jan. 9th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
> yup, Thomas is always eye-candy :-)

I had never seen him before, I think. Unfortunately ;)

Yeah, I'd rather not think about the money and the time I spent on this movie... 3 hours for that is long. It's good I wanted to go out.

After a while, I was thinking of all the scenes that you could cut and how you could do a 2-hours long movie of it that would be just as good if not better.
nemesis2207
Jan. 9th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC)
Heh, I was entertained and saw it in Germany, in English, withtout subtitles! :p Although they did make a pause in the middle, which I thought was weird.

I agree about the CGI though... not good enough for close-ups at all... and I'm really sick of seeing Naomie Watts crying... will she ever make a movie where she keeps her make-up intact? Someone buy her some waterproof mascara, please! ;)

About the monkey, I though he was more believable than most characters! :p I loved the bugs too... the dinos were way too much. And why do indigenes have to be blood thirsty and stupid? Well, I guess it was in the original, but still.
hiyami
Jan. 9th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
> Heh, I was entertained and saw it in Germany, in English, withtout subtitles! :p

You didn't miss anything much from the dialogues ;)
Most of it was very... expectable.

> Although they did make a pause in the middle, which I thought was weird.

They did? Yes, that's strange. Did it seem planned?

> I agree about the CGI though... not good enough for close-ups at all...

Yeah, I'd rather have seen only half of those scenes or less, and better done. The scenes with the diplodocus chase was just... useless, unbelieveable, and badly done. Obviously they still can't simulate creatures getting in rought contact very well, so why doing so much of it?

> Someone buy her some waterproof mascara, please! ;)

She must have had a "make-up rescue" purse in her night gown, because if you notice, when she sleeps in Kong's arms her skin is so shiny and neat, no mascara trails, and no puffy eyes when she wakes up ;)

> About the monkey, I though he was more believable than most characters! :p

Sometimes he was. They gave more thought to make him show feelings though his expressions, while the actors were fed "obvious" lines in case we wouldn't understand how they felt...
nemesis2207
Jan. 12th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't expect Shakespeare though... I mean, it is about a giant monkey, after all! :p

Yes, the pause seemed planned... well, you know, Germans drink all that beer, so they can't sit watching a movie for 3 hours straight! ;)
claireoujisama
Jan. 9th, 2006 06:33 am (UTC)
I liked that movie more than I expected to, but then as I expected to sleep through it...

What irritated me, I think, was the whole Heart of Darkness bit. I mean...what? "Why does Marlowe keep going up the river?" If we're assuming that they were referring to Carl Denham (giving he's leading them up the garden path)...well, Carl kept going up the river for more mone. Simple as that. Marlowe went because he was told to "execute with extreme prejudice" a man whom he would have respected, admired and obeyed under all other circumstances. I...just don't see what frail symbolism they were trying to get out of that one.

But it sure was pretty. Even though all the scenes on the boat gave me motion sickness.
hiyami
Jan. 9th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
> What irritated me, I think, was the whole Heart of Darkness bit.

Yeah, that's the kind of things that made me go "Ooooh, look, they're trying to flesh out the crew to show that these rough guys are not uneducated or stupid". I don't know if it was a social commentary or the only way they found to insert subtitles that "no it's not just an action flick with a giant ape. This is an author's movie, oh yes".

> well, Carl kept going up the river for more mone. Simple as that.

And the fame. Nothing deep or significant about the will of people to "uncover mysteries" or what not.

> I...just don't see what frail symbolism they were trying to get out of that one.

I think they were trying to suspend the disbelief all the viewers who at that point were thinking "Hey, why are these stupid characters taking all those risks, that place looks creepy!".

And maybe give some artificial depth to the story.
But whatever depth the themes had was so delayed in those 3 hours of action that it still looked vain in the end.
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