Thursday, December 29, 2005
With the madness of the holidays fading into the realm of ever-more-distant memory by the day, my wife and I finally had a chance to go out last night to see King Kong.
I loved much about it but three hours and some spare change later was very ready to leave the theater.
In particular, Kong himself was great: savage yet noble, ferocious yet tender, completely CGI yet also completely realistic. Same goes for the various dinosaurs and bats and giant insects and millions of other creatures on Skull Island.
Also particularly good was Naomi Watts although I thought her character was a terrific pain in the ass. She was brave and had a lot of heart, sure...but she kept perpetually getting herself into danger. I actually thought Kong was too good for her. After about her six millionth time trying to escape, he should have let her go and stopped saving her from whatever creature was trying to eat her next. It would have made his life much easier (and longer) if he had been a little less selfless and worried a little more about himself.
Jack Black was OK, his character was unlikeable but he restrained himself from going completely over the top. It would have been cool if Kong stomped him into a puddle at some point. Adrien Brody is lost on me. I know he won an Oscar for that Nazi movie I never saw (I don't watch movies by Woody Allen or Roman Polanski) but he's a weird looking guy, all sharp angles with beady eyes. It's distracting to me. I would have liked his character better if he started out as more of a coward and overcame his fears (and came into his own) in order to save Naomi Watts on Skull Island.
I also think that because we all know how the movie is going to end before it even starts, the movie loses a little something. No matter how magnificent Kong is, knowing he's going to end up as bullet-riddled street pizza takes a little tension out of the whole ball of wax.
As long as Kong is, running time wise, I thought it was missing out on a few story beats. I hope there's a director's cut coming on DVD at some time, I think it could have used another 45 minutes to fill in some blanks. Like Narnia, I felt that it put the relationships out there but didn't necessarily earn them. Meaning much of the heart of the film felt flat to me. I wasn't swept away in the story, I admired it from a distance.
Kong though...Kong is the man. You will definitely believe that a giant gorilla can fight dinosaurs, get chloroformed, reluctantly star in a broadway show and fall to his tragic death. All because he fell in love with the girl from The Ring.
Thanks for reading,