Tuesday, December 27, 2005

King Kong Review

Friday night, while waiting for the traffic to subside so I could head back to Chico, my real estate agent and I went out to see King Kong. In case you didn't know, Peter Jackson, the guy who directed Lord of the Rings, directed this flick.

I initially questioned the producers' decision to have Peter Jackson do Lord of the Rings, because I've only seen him do Heavenly Creatures before, which was good, but to do one of the greatest epics of all time? Well, as you know, he pulled it off. He also pulled off a remake of the greatest American monster movie of all time.

Jackson obviously studied the original for it was a remake almost scene for scene with about an hour of his own added to it. He made everything more grand. The movie opened with a Hooverville in New York City. Anne, played by Naomi Watts, was in dire straits financially. The movie director was avaricious to the point of insanity and the writer's love for Anne was obsessive.

Most of the movie occurred on Skull Island, where the animals somehow grew to epic proportions. Jackson intentionally outdid the original. Instead of fighting one Tyrannosaurus Rex, King Kong fought three. He even killed the last Tyrannosaurus Rex exactly the same way as in the original.

Whomever did the casting gets an A. Naomi Watts, a previous Zombieslayer Hot Babe, is one of the only actresses in Hollywood that could have pulled off that 30s beauty look. Her everything looked gorgeous, even her feet. Jackson intentionally had a lot of barefoot scenes with Watts. The rest of the cast did their parts well. No complaints.

Visually, the movie looked good, but only good. CGI is not ready. It has the same complaints that I made with Narnia. There were a few scenes that obviously were actors against a blue screen with the backgrounds painted in. Give me a hoaky, but live, set any day over CGI.

The dialogue didn't stand out. There were simply no memorable lines from the movie, and this is a negative for a movie like this.

As for parents, the PG-13 movie fit. There was little blood and no decapitations, but I wouldn't bring small children to this movie. You saw giant bugs try to devour people, including leeches which killed one of the coolest characters. Also King Kong killed a lot of people by throwing them or stomping them. That would terrify small children, as it did the small children in the theater. Why parents continually bring in small children to these movies, I have no idea.

Eight dead zombies. I loved it, but I couldn't see it again at three hours. Plus, the CGI scenes looked so bad. Maybe I have a good eye for that stuff because I have a prejudice against it, but my real estate agent noticed it too. It looked bad.

If you like the flick, do yourself a favor and rent the one from the 30s. We studied it in film class and the original was way ahead of its time.


Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I agree with you entirely. Except that there IS one memorable line:

"There's only one thing that can leave a footprint as big as THAT! Bigfoot!" My kids quoted this one all the way home... *sigh*

12/27/2005 8:45 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I haven't seen King Kong yet, but it's on my list of movies to see. I'm home now for the holidays and it's my grandma's choice today, so we will see Memoirs of a Geisha. I hope it's as good as the book...

12/27/2005 8:57 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Saurkraut - Ah yes. Forgot that line.

Notta - Haven't seen that one yet. I think the next one we'll see is The Producers.

12/27/2005 9:08 AM  
Blogger lime said...

haven't seen kong but i saw narnia and i noticed the obvious blue screen stuff, i was kind of shocked by it.

12/27/2005 1:07 PM  
Blogger Moni said...

I was never a fan of movie King Kong, but I love Peter Jackson...the man's a genius. I wonder if the same company that spplied the computer graphics for LOTR also did King Kong?

Oh well, thanks for the review...I guess I'll wait until it comes out on video. :)

12/27/2005 2:54 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Lime - So you noticed that too? King Kong was even worse when it came to that CGI screen thing.

Moni - I have utmost respect for Jackson now after what he did with LOTR. He tried to make King Kong grand. He did a good job, but it wasn't on par with LOTR. That's the thing. Everything he does from now on will be judged on LOTR. So in a way, it's a bad thing for him. :(

12/27/2005 6:08 PM  
Blogger zachary said...

Umm I disagree with you completely on King kong himself.The thing that amazed me the most about the giant monkey was that I was totally convinced through most of the movie that he was a real life ape. The long neck dinasours however, werent so believeable, but this to me was a minor detail since they were barely in it. Again, what made Kong so believeable was not how detailed he was, after all,Shrek is detailed, but I thought it was the way he moved and also his shading.
I thought Narnia was not only extremely cheezy and stupid, but Aslan and the beavers would have looked better in a video game thats how bad they looked. Clearly the budget on the CGI in this film was lower than it shouldve been. If they spent 207 million on Narnia like they did on King Kong, it mightve been a little better. Part of me wishes Narnia was the better of the two, only because I have only seen the original King Kong once. Where as I have read Narnia many times. I think they ruined a greater classic in Narnia.

12/27/2005 6:20 PM  
Blogger bsoholic said...

Great review! It's one I will probably wait for DVD though, as I am not a huge king kong fan.

Why parents continually bring in small children to these movies, I have no idea. - I don't think I will understand that either. Not to mention the scared child cries, or has to be taken to the hallway 10 times during a flick, thus distracting to us all.

I wish the thing at the beginning of movies that tells you to turn off cellphones would also say don't take small children to movies not rated G. Not being a parent, and a big movie buff it really bugs me to be distracted by some toddler at at movie obviously not meant for toddlers.

12/27/2005 6:39 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Zachary - Weird. I liked Narnia better. I thought both of them had CGI issues. However, I did think they did a good job with Kong. I didn't like the dinosaurs, but what I really didn't like were the backgrounds. Kong himself was awesome.

Bsoholic - Not being a parent, and a big movie buff it really bugs me to be distracted by some toddler at at movie obviously not meant for toddlers.

As a parent, I won't allow my son to make noises during movies or else we go home. I really wish other parents were considerate of others. Drives me nuts. I had to tell a kid several times during King Kong to stop kicking my chair. If his parents had any decency, they would have moved.

12/27/2005 7:22 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

However, I did think they did a good job with Kong. I didn't like the dinosaurs, but what I really didn't like were the backgrounds. Kong himself was awesome.

I was going to say the same thing. To me, there's nothing worse than cheesy computer backgrounds. The last three Star Wars were like that too.

Kong himself was extremely well done.

I'm guessing that it was different crews doing the different parts. That and different programs. What's good for generating characters is often not the best for creating environments.

I didn't mind the length of the movie myself, but I don't mind long movies if they're good.

Jackson is the king of epic productions, that's for sure.

12/27/2005 7:38 PM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

Everybody I know who has seen the movie has said similar things,. I think this will be a rental for me.

Thanks for the review, ZS!

12/27/2005 8:07 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Shawn - I think more money was spent on King Kong than on the backgrounds. Plus, with King Kong, they probably used a man in a suit + CGI, whereas with the backgrounds, it's just CGI.

ZL - I won't lie to you and tell you that you have to see it in a theater. I really enjoyed it, but it could wait to be rented.

12/27/2005 10:42 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I loved the original too, and even liked the remake with Jessica Lange. Naomi Watts is gorgeous, but doesn't always play the bombshell--which I like. I'm disappointed that this movie didn't turn out better, as I was really looking foward to it. It will have to come out on DVD before I do.

12/28/2005 6:30 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Scott - It was good, and enjoyable. I guess my expectations were really high, something that works against Peter Jackson. It's going to be tough for him to do something as good as LOTR, for which he's now almost exclusively known for.

12/28/2005 8:31 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I'm sick to death of remakes! Can't anybody have some imagination and come up with an original story?

12/28/2005 3:52 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Tshsmom - Can't anybody have some imagination and come up with an original story?

Apparently Hollywood can't. :(

12/28/2005 5:58 PM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

My parents and my sister saw it this week and were extremely disappointed. They told me not to waste my time or money. My mom's biggest complaint was that it was over the top and the editor left in stuff that could have easily been left out to save time and my sister's complaint was that it was--in some way; to her--racist.
I'd have to see it to follow what she said...

12/28/2005 7:31 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Sadie - Yeah, the original story was somewhat racist, and I guess Jackson was trying to be true to the original story.

As I mentioned, I won't see it again, meaning I won't be buying the DVD. It's too long. But while watching it, besides the CGI flaws, I enjoyed it.

12/28/2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I know this post is a few days old, but just in case you find my comment: What else did you study in that film class? I'm always curious about film curricula.

12/31/2005 9:32 PM  
Blogger SME said...

Jackson's lucky he did Heavenly Creatures, cause he REALLY wouldn't have been allowed to tackle LOTR on the strength of "Bad Taste" or "Meet the Feebles." LOTR and Kong may be his masterpieces, but HC made them possible. And it's his best movie. (I would never say that in public, knowing I'd be stoned to death immmediately).

1/01/2006 5:46 PM  
Blogger Liquidplastic said...

I liked the movie, but I prefer the old version. I guess that got something to do with my age. My grandchildren want to see it again, they think it's the bomb ... but I told them they would have to wait and rent it.

You are right Saur my grandchildren drove me crazy with that line.

Hope you had a wonder New year Zombie .. and peace and blessing to you and your love ones.

1/04/2006 4:58 PM  

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