Saturday, December 17, 2005

Overzealousness Killed the Beast

Oh, my.

We saw King Kong last night. And this morning. Literally.

Can someone please call Peter Jackson and let him know that movies are allowed to be shorter than three hours?

First the good parts.

When I was in college, I took part in a musical revue of sorts, in which several music majors sang works from various musicals (I sang It's Never That Easy, Worst Pies in London and something from Mozart's The Magic Flute, if I recall correctly...). I was the only of those music students who had a strong background in theater. One of my professors was discussing the revue in class a few days later and say "the singing was terrific, but the acting... well. When to finally see some technique when Amie came on stage it was like a breath of air after being smothered."

That's what Adrian Brody did for this movie. Each scene he actually acted in was sincere, and honest, and real. He had very little to work with, and he was quite honestly brilliant in his work.

The scenes between Kong and Anne were actually a close second. A relationship developed there, a lovely one, and one that I honestly didn't see in the original movie, not to this extent. Kong loved her, and she loved him for it, and it was quite touching.

However, those real moments and honest relationships were small percentages of the actual movie.

There were many times when clearly the intent was to show "chaos". However, five minutes of chaos, without the camera focussing on any one thing is too much. It struck me not as an attempt to show chaos but to keep the audience from being able to focus on any one thing long enough to see how bad the CG looked. And there were too many of these times. They happened every ten minutes it seemed - five minutes of slow, five minutes of chaos.

And, let me be clear here, I am a pro at suspension of reality. I love movies. I love theatre. I love musical theatre. I can accept that a a giant asteroid is coming to destroy the earth unless Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis are sent into space. I have no problem with the idea that a woman can dress like a man to get closer to the man she's in love with and no one will suspect a thing. I have no problem with people breaking into completely spontaneous and yet completely unison song and dance. I will even allow for an island that is completely unheard of in the 1920s except for one map which somehow falls into Jack Black's hands and contains dinosaurs and uncountable humongous insect critters as well as one (and only one) gigantic ape who is claimed to be 25 feet tall but changes in proportion to the tiny blonde woman that he loves drastically from one scene to the next.

I'm willing to believe all that.

But that men who are in no way special or revered in anyway can pick up a gun for the very first time and shoot thirty of those gargantuous insects off the body of a friend without once hitting that friend? That a paunchy, out of shape conniving theatre producer and his gangly writer friend can out run a herd of stampeding dinosaurs, and in the midst of this stampede can reach beside them and punch one of these dinosaurs, inflicting upon it such force that it actually is knocked back several feet, causing the entire here of dinosaurs to stumble and fall over it, snowballing into a gian dinosaur ball, which in turn creates a landslide because (did I forget to mention) they also happen to be right at the edge of one of the many cliffs on this island and the cliff starts to crumble away and the dinosaurs fall off the edge of the cliff but these perfectly normal men are able to leap off falling earth to more stable ground time and again and meanwhile the little blonde woman (who, frankly, was the most realistic in her physical feats because she had an established background of being an athletic vaudevillian performer) is being chased by completely different meat-eating dinosaurs who all fall off a cliff together, and the blonde woman is caught in the hands of her giant ape and three dinosaurs and the ape all land at the same level in some vines and then swing back and forth continuing the battle only to have it finish when the vines break (all at the same time) and two of the three dinosaurs die but the third and the giant ape take part in a WWE style grudge match? And we won't mention that well-tossed (and singular) bottle of chloroform that manages to bring down the giant beast after he battled flocks of bats and dinosaurs and plummeted off cliffs (maybe he was tired and the chloroform just added to it being naptime?) so they could get him aboard a ship off of which they've already thrown all supplies so that it would be able to lift off the rocks upon which it had moored and set sail back to the US where the aforementioned gangly writer manages to scale the side of the Empire State Building single handedly and times it precisely thirty seconds after the great ape is felled, so that the pretty blonde doesn't have to stand up there alone. Vertigo be damned.

Yeah, we passed my suspension of reality in a rocket ship. Three different couples left the movie early. Two different parties stood up and started getting their coats together when the showed the first shot of the Empire State Building. When we left the movie, 13-year-old DSS said "I think the director was trying to show us too much of his world."

Go see Rent instead.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, was the popcorn good?

Whew! Thanks for the review - you should send it to the Baltimore Sun - well done!


4:11 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Thanks for the review, Amie. You've saved me from three hours of cinematic torture! The only draw for me was the Peter Jackson connection, anyway . . . my disbelief suspension pretty much grinds to a halt at "Woman/Gorilla Love Story."

10:40 AM  
Blogger fig said... you have a movie critique blog? Have ya thought about it? You should! Thanks!

1:58 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

But the absolute suspension of reality is what I enjoyed about this movie! I didn't expect anything to line up with how things are in the real world - the whole premise of the movie requires that you leave your notions of reality at home.

There were waaaay too many creepy-crawlies, but I liked this movie. :-)

11:18 AM  

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