Wednesday, December 28, 2005

MOVIE REVIEW: KING KONG (2005 REMAKE)

Again, this is a bit late... we saw Peter Jackson's KING KONG last week, and here are my thoughts:

Firstly, KONG looked great! Once again, like with Gollum, WETA/Serkis/Jackson did a fine job of bringing a CG character to life. His expressions, sounds, movements and look was very convincing. I also liked all the many scars over Kong's body - he's a brauler! However, I miss the fantastical element of Kong the previous 2 versions had - this Kong is pretty much just a big gorilla, grounded more in Reality... its a personal preference.

The first HOUR of the movie needed to be dropped. I'm assuming Jackson wanted to stay true to the "feel" of the original (ie 1933 filmmaking and dialogue), which I feel he failed at. It comes across as bad acting and filmmaking and quite painful - I actually considered leaving the theater and go play video games or something in the lobby, then return at the 2nd hour when they finally arrive at Skull Island. Unfortunately, I didn't, and sat through an embarassing and boring hour of drivel.

The second hour is much better (and IMO the best part) where they finally arrive at the island. But again, its filled with moments of dreadful "what the fuck?" moments of dialogue. The "relationship" between the big black dude and "Jimmy".... er, whuh? Forced, akward and lame. The dinosaur stampede scene is kinda cool, but I've seen it already in the Jurassic Park films... only done better fx-wise (sorry, Weta). Plus, I could live the rest of my life without seeing another Raptor and be happy. The "Spider Scene" (the insects attack scene) is cool, but waaaay too long, as is many of the action sequences in the film.

The scenes with KONG are very enjoyable. Like I said, he's very believable and its fun to watch him - kind of like watching silverback gorillas on the Nature Channel. I liked the relationship between him and Ann and it felt natural and organic. The battle with the V-Rex was awesome, but again, way too long. Less is more, ya know?

The third and last hour is in NYC. Honestly, at this point in the film I was just waiting for the movie to end. Kong wrecking havoc in the theater is awesome, but his "rampage" in the streets becomes repetitive and tiresome. "Hey look! He's throwing cars...again." Also, why did Jackson cut the classic scene where Kong attacks the subway? He had him attack the trolly, but its just not the same. Oh well.

The final classic scene atop the Empire State Building was disappointing. The planes looked lame (the animation) and the filmmaking itself downshifted. What should be an amazing, emotional scene becomes stagnant and it feels like the film is on autopilot. Sure, when Kong leaps up and hits the plane its awesome, but that's about it. Perhaps Jackson didn't want it to be "ACTION ACTION ACTION!!!!" which is fine... it is supposed to be more of a sad, tragic moment. But I didn't feel that either. I kept waiting for the tears to flow, but they never did. Its not without emotion, though, don't get me wrong. The ending is emotional and that's due to Naomi Watts' performance (which is wonderful throughout!!!). And while I appreciate Jackson staying true to the original ending line of dialogue, it just doesn't work here... perhaps due to Black's performance or whatever - it just comes across as absolute sillyness.

There's so much more I could go into, but this is already too long of a post (did anyone actually read the entire thing??). Overall, the film is fun and cool, but almost half of it is fat that needs to be trimmed. The original is still the best in my opinion, with this one in 2nd place (which doesn't say much since the 1976 version is so terrible). Definitely worth seeing in the theater, but in the end a disappointment for Peter Jackson.

I give this movie 3-1/4 lil Jimmys out of 5

Click here for my review of the Original 1933 King Kong.
Click here for my review of the 1976 remake King Kong.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Overall I liked the movie. My husband cried! I did feel like Jack Black didn't belong in the movie and that the first hour could have been seriosuly shortened. But the CG Kong was VERY well done.

bettercriticthanjim said...

Too long, but I liked the first hour, the action sequences were too long.. Matrix 2-3 style.. wave 1... wave 2... wave 3... wave 4... jump.. get powerup... wave 5... ... ... ... wave 253.... yawn.

Stampede was dumb, agree Jurassic Park 10 years ago looked better, should have been cut.

Overall, fx good...
super blooper shot goes to bad CG pole vaulter... ughhhh.

And yeah.. the dumb Captain and the kid storyline... ughhhh