|Submitted by Arun |
(Jan 10, 2007)
Raised on a staple of cinema encompassing everything from Hollywood visual-efects extravaganzas to Farsi neo-ralistic movies, I have never felt the urge to write on the former. My excuse being that there is nothing to write about. People don't wait for reviews on these movies. They always watch them, no matter how pathetic! But there are times when excuses stand defeated and I feel compelled to write. It happened when I saw this new ‘spectacle’ from Peter Jackson. Hollywood specializes in churning out visuals laden crap with an astonishing frequency. But Peter Jackson proved himself to be remarkably different with The Lord of the Rings. His trilogy presented incredible effects which simultaneously appealed to my sense of aesthetics and had emotional appeal too. King Kong goes one step ahead. Maybe because I went to the theatre anticipating a two hour graphics fest. I mean, the posters show a huge monster battling another ugly monstr. What else would you expect, considering it is a Hollywood production? But what I got was a surprise.
Everybody knows the story. The great depression puts many a theatre artiste, movie star and director out of business. Thus we have the three major characters of the movie, the exceedingly avaricious and unscrupulous director Jack Black, the playwright Adrien Brody and the stage comedienne Naomi Watts, all out of money and all driven to extremes. Jack Black cooks up a cock-and-bull story to get a movie financed, Naomi Watts is almost pushed to prostitution and thievery, Adrien Brody does not have enough strength of character to do anything remarkable other than write a script for Jack. When nothing goes right, they are thrown together with a host of other people on a voyage to find the lost Skull Island. Skull Island happens to be the home of a variety of Peter Jackson creatures, including but not limited to dinosaurs, multi-legged slimies, creepy crawlies, and King Kong. Not to forget the tribes. Kong is offered Naomi Watts as sacrifice by the tribes and ‘he’ falls in pseudo-humanistic 'love' with her. It goes on.
Peter Jackson (and Andrew Lesnie) has pushed the limits of modern cinema by incorporating artificial and computer simulated effects almost seamlessly into every frame of the movie. And it is obvious that every frame has been sculpted with care and insight. The close-up shots are remarkable for the lighting and the seeming lack of make-up. It shows that special care has been taken to make the numerous such shots palatable and a pleasure to watch. It is not often that a woman looks beautiful in extreme close-up when the pimples, freckles and numerous other skin discrepancies tend to show up. Given a scene, you will never find out what is real, what is a set, what is computer simulation. The music by James Newton Howard and the sound effects editing is wonderful with a medley of sounds adding effect to the visual imagery. The glass of water crashing down and the waves splashing against the hull of the ship comes to mind.
I have seen a lot of movies where savage natives have been shown on-screen. But they were never really authentic. The natives here are an exception. I don’t know how tribes in isolated islands look like, but if they are anything like the creatures in this movie, I guess we better stay where we are. They present an arresting feature and inspire a mixture of fear and disgust. The director has taken his time to get into the movie and King Kong makes an entrance only after the first hour. The first hour is essential to appreciating the movie. Every character has been given a concrete structure and life, which is extremely unusual in a movie like this. However, I must say that Adrien Brody neither fits the role nor does he seem to be inspired by the grandeur of the canvas. After all, though he gets the girl, the hero is someone else. Jack Black stands out.
Apart from the technical brilliance there is something which appeals to the human psyche. There is a streak of humour throughout the movie, even in the action sequences. Admirable. It makes even the most unpalatable and gory sequence worth watching. There is something incredibly charming in the way Peter Jackson has portrayed the huge gorilla playing to the charming Naomi Watts. Kong, played by Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings) has almost-human characteristics. He is jealous, he preens, he saves 'his' lady from the baddies and he pouts when she does not reciprocate. There is no need to go beneath the surface of the relationship which binds Kong and the girl. Ultimately, it is a ‘beauty killed the beast’ story. One which tugs at your heart strings sometimes. The movie might also seem pretty long in some places, especially in the middle with all the 'battle' sequences. The climax is also a bit too lengthy.
You don’t often go beneath the skin of a movie packaged thus, but King Kong makes you do so. What George Lucas did in the 70’s Peter Jackson is doing in the new century.
|Submitted by grawgos |
(Dec 23, 2005)
I would have to start by saying that I was a bit dissapointed in the film. I gave it a 3, but is more like a 2.5.
I am really getting sick and tired of movies that depend on effects and have scenes that are either implausible or down right stupid. I will try not to ruin anything as best I can in my complaining about the film.
My first problem was the scene with stampeding dino's. I found it to be incredibly unrealistic and the movie should have ended there with everyone being crushed under foot and Kong living happily ever after with his girl.
The second scene I had trouble with was the t-rex fight scene. Is Kong made of steel or flesh? The t-rex bites into him and he just shruggs them off or pushes them away. No chunks of flesh missing from his arm? No blood gushing from a massive wound? The t-rex, with it's mouth full of gigantic teeth, takes no flesh at all? It bites in, full strength, battling for it's life, yet doesn't even put a scratch in him. Sorry, but Kong would have been missing half his arm. The vine sequence at the end of the scene was down right foolish.
The next scene was the bat scene. Jackson should have stuck with the giant snake attack. The two riding the bat to the valley floor was just down right stupid.
I would also love to know how they got Kong from the shore to the boat. How they kept him confined in that little boat, with out him going berzerk and sinking it. It's a long way from Skull Island to New York. They had that much chloroform on board? I was surprised that they skipped over the entire voyage home.
Finally the end scene. Is it just an urban myth that if you drop a penny off the empire state building that it will penetrate the concrete? It is funny how Kong didn't even put a dent in the street.
It is just another example of todays movie making. Implausible events put into the movie because they have the technology to pull of the effects and think it looks cool. I was literally waiting to see Kong do a Matrix-like hanging in the air for a few seconds before knocking down one of the planes.
From reading my review, you probably think that I hated the movie. I didn't.
The effects of course, were great. With all the money they pumped into this film, how could they not be incredible? I thought Jack Black, who I was a bit hesitant about, played his role perfectly as did most of the cast around him.
I just think it could have been done so much better. I think my expectations might have been a bit high going in, but the examples stated above, allow me to rate the movie no higher than 2.5.
Give me the 1933 version, thank you.