aren't like alcohol where more is always better, until you get
to a point where more is not only better but also necessary to
keep from crying about that time when you were eight and Johnny
Fischman wanted to see if you were skinny enough to fit into a
storm drain. And you were. And there were rats in there. Movies
have to be remarkable to transport you away from remembering past
film, sometimes more is worse. Take Candy Bottom's ambitious porno
version of Wagner's Ring Cycle which I thought was nine
hours too long. Seven hours would have been just right, but then
there are nine more hours of fucking, sucking and about the third
time someone fucks a horse you have to wonder if it may be too
much. The new version of King Kong is the same way. If
it were two hours long I would be pretty fucking thrilled by it.
It's three hours, though, and that's strains the attention span
as much as the bladder.
Kong sticks pretty damn close to the story of the 1933 original.
A fast-talking moviemaker (Jack Black) wants to go to an uncharted
island to make a B-movie and cons a starving ingenue blonde (Naomi
Watts) into coming along to play the lead. A battered cargo ship
hauls the ragtag cast and crew to mysterious Skull Island, believed
to be uninhabited. But, when the crew lands, they discover wild
savages who have built a massive rock wall to protect themselves
from some unseen terror.
savages kidnap Watts and offer her as a sacrifice to the beast
who lives behind the wall. That, of course, is Kong, the 25-foot
tall ape. He's probably taller, but his posture is for shit. Didn't
the chiropractors have those bogus scoliosis checks on deserted
islands? I thought those assholes pushed that bullshit wherever
they could. The lovestruck screenwriter (Adrian Brody), Black
and the rest of the crew must venture beyond the wall to find
the girl. Once behind it, they encounter dinosaur stampedes, giant
bugs, perilous falls into chasms, battles with Kong, and anything
else Jackson could think up in his digital lab to kill off secondary
and Watts, meanwhile, are getting to know each other in the bliblical
sense. Not the screwing biblical sense, but the sense like Noah
knew the animals on his Ark or something like that. Her initial
fear turns into sympathy for his loneliness. His desire to rip
her limb from limb becomes a protective affection when he discovers
she looks funny when she falls down. Soon he protects her from
meat-eating dinosaurs and pursues her when she escapes with the
help of Brody.
wants to use Brody and Watts as bait and plans to capture Kongg,
bring him back to New York and make him the star of his own Broadway
show. Well, why the fuck not? If they can make people pay to go
see people prancing around like cats, why the hell wouldn't a
giant ape sell tickets?
in New York, Kong goes bananas, rips free of his tethers, destroys
cars and awnings like you wouldn't believe and finally meets his
fate atop the Empire State Building while trying to protect Watts.
Peter Jackson and his co-writers do a pretty good job of retelling
the original story, and trying to keep it entertaining. They elaborate,
and puff up the meaning, but they don't fuck up by thinking they
know how to improve on the premise of a big fat, lonely ape being
exploited by a greedy bastard. Underneath all the overwhelming
and tiring flash and dazzle is still a damn good monster movie.
I'm not sure which of the five basic conflicts this is, Man vs.
Man, Man vs. Society, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Self or Man vs.
Drunken Self, but it's one of them, for sure.
new version is better than the old ones in defining the relationship
between ape and woman. The value of that, I don't really know.
Of course, I've never been big on defining relationships and have
still called girls my girlfriend months after they stopped returning
my calls an d their new boyfriends kicked me in the nuts. Regardless,
we understand here that Watts understands Kong is a beast, but
a lonely one, and that Kong's interest in her is because she treats
him nicely and makes him laugh. Once that is established, there's
little else to say about why the two are bound to each other,
and the movie reinforces this information a few too many times.
spends a ton of screen time expanding what is already in the story,
mostly unnecessarily and usually because he could, not because
the story needs it. By the end of three hours, I was just tired
of the effects and repetition. In the original, Kong fights a
T Rex. Now, he has to fight several T Rexes, at the same time,
in a sprawling battle that is so clearly there simply because
it could be that the tension leaks out of it after fifteen minutes.
Half of the ship crew gets stuck in a pit with giant insects,
and that scene too goes on past the point that it's exciting or
interesting and on into the territory of "Okay, great. What's
next?" The story's tacked-on subplots go nowhere or are uninteresting.
The romantic relationship between Brody and Watts is as stillborn
as the baby of a meth addict. Another subplot about an orphan
boy who reads Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a pretentious
attempt to plug in another layer of meaning about why man goes
pretty damn lame. Jackson must think he not only has to show us
the kid's reading the book, but also tell us its theme. I guess
we're too fucking stupid to have read and understood the book
ourselves. In that case, why put the book in there? What's the
point of having a symbol if you have to explain it?
Black continues to reassure us that our generation has its own
Robin Williams. He's not a good actor, but god damn if he doesn't
do ham better than Hormel. Two years and he'll be Patch Adams.
Watts is better, but still hokey in her "Gee whiz, gosh darn"
innocence. And Brody is just lousy as a screenwriter who appears
to be deeply in love with himself.
ending pissed me off. Jack Black repeats the "Twas Beauty Killed
the Beast" line from the original, which was only marginally true
in 1933. But Jackson's additions to the story, and how drawn out
the planning and capture of Kong is make the line into nonsense.
It wasn't beauty at all. It was a bunch of assholes with guns
and greed, as jackson shows us over and over.
Fingers for King Kong a movie that could have been
a hell of a lot better and an hour shorter. It's a lesson for
moviemakers that more is not always more, and special effects
ain't so fucking special when they get done to death.
Want to tell Filthy Something?