Friday, December 23, 2005


Okay, so I've been a little lax in my reviews.

I'm comfortable with that, and my audience of two really haven't complained.

That said, I've been busier than an insurer in the southeast and my ability to process things to review has been neglected -- I've read and watched very little!

But today, I managed to make the most of a day off and hit the theaters for one of (my) most anticipated films in years: KING KONG.

I am, and have been, a fan of the 1933 original for as long as I can remember. I've heard the same said of Peter Jackson. Even so, I was a little leery when I heard he was gonna tackle Kong, even after enjoying the Lord of the Rings, Frighteners, and a few of his other little tidbits.

Putting the suspense out of the way, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

And now, for why:

It had a substance to it.

I'll admit, for the first act of the movie I was beginning to wonder a bit if I wouldn't be better off at home watching Fay and company in the original. Despite that nagging notion, the beginning of Jackson's Kong did what it needed to do -- set things in motion. Some of it, I admit, could've been trimmed. 15-30 minutes, in fact, would've been fine on the cutting room floor (or, alternatively ADD IN some scenes to flesh out what seemed weak -- though that is certainly out of the question in a movie with a run time already past 3 hours!)

Also, I heard myself -- and no one else -- laughing at the two blatant nods to the 33 version.

But then we get to Skull Island.

We see the scary natives.

We meet KONG.

And, in the instance where the giant gorilla laughs, I'm sold. I'm there. And I love it.

Naomi Watts does a good job of making the part of Ann Darrow her own; she's an easy one to fall in love with, and makes the audience do just that as she wins over a giant gorilla.

Jack Black reins it in, never quite going as far over the top as I expect him to.

And please, somebody, give Andy Serkis an award. I've seen what computer FX are capable of, and they are capable of a great deal. But there was such a wealth of motion capture (down to facial expressions) Kong was portrayed. (Serkis also had a role that didn't involve a leotard and extensive animation, and was enjoyable in that part as well.)

I have a feeling the work he did in this will be looked upon the same way a skilled comedian's would -- that is to say "Very nice, but not REAL acting."

The climax atop the Empire State Building looked real. I knew it wasn't, but it looked the part to the point that my hands were sweating and I was starting to get dizzy -- agoraphobia! -- it added tension for me.

Tension I didn't need.

Y'see, everyone knows how this flick turns out. Many can even quote the line Denham closes the picture ('33 and '05) with.

But you don't WANT it to end that way. You don't WANT Kong to die. You want a happy ending, and you aren't going to get it.

I nearly cried... and it's a giant animated primate!

This is still a powerful bit of moviemaking, a ride, an event, and it has a story to boot.

I want to see it again already.

E's Rating:


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