Sunday, December 25, 2005

King Kong: Big Giant Apes Do It Better (Peter Jackson, Director)
Oh man, King Kong is so great!

Firstly, Industrial Light and Magic can just hang up their laptops and go home—the CGI effects in Kong are the best I've ever seen by a factor of at least ten. Don't get me wrong, you can tell it's computer graphics, but it's just so well done that it doesn't matter. Kong himself is completely believable, as are all the various snarly dinosaurs, creepy insects, giant bats and all the rest of it. Too, too fantastic.

King Kong is also a very artistic film. You can tell that every frame has been thought out, and some are masterpieces of composition—yellow and red planes dive against a blue sky; a map floats towards you in the extreme foreground as a lighted ship disappears over the horizon and into the mists—it's all very arty and beautiful, which appealed immensely to my inner graphic designer.

The casting is perfect: Jack Black's jittery intensity is perfectly controlled as a compulsively self-absorbed 1930's film director on a desperate mission to save his failing career. Adrian Brody, (who seems like an odd choice for a leading man, but somehow always makes me believe), really works for the time period. And Naomi Watts...damn, what can I say? She blows Faye Wray and Jessica Lange completely out of the water. I know that this is sacrilege to say, but Naomi beats Faye, her performance will now and forevermore be The One. And of course, as with his Gollum in The Return of the King series, the amazing Andy Circus did the body movement work for Kong's CGI effects; he also has a smaller role as the ship's cook, and turns out an effecting performance in one of the film's most freaky moments as well.

It's been said many times about the original: King Kong is really a movie about man's place in nature. Jackson's film gives loving tribute to ideas about the sorrow and damage inherent in manifest destiny. But, it's also a film about sex and what it means to be a man. Little blondie can't help falling for the big ape: he's just risked life and limb to save her from big scary dinosaurs, and he appreciates sunsets as well. Hell, I'm in love with him! Blondie represents the impossible male ideal of female perfection: all porcelain fragility, she understands him without words; she's someone to fight for and to protect. Kong and Brody represent different aspects of the masculine ideal—one is a rough brute with a deep soul, the other is exactly the same but with a veneer of Victorian era chivalry. Oddly, Brody comes off as the lesser man, Kong is The Dude.

One thing: King Kong is hella scary, do not take small children to see this movie. The feral islanders were more frightening than any orc, and some of the dinosaur scenes are way too terrifying for little kids, (but, also pretty funny too, there's a scene with people, ape and tyrannosaurs hanging in vines that was beyond hilarious.) There's a bit with giant insect worms that made the scary monsters from the Alien movies look tame. I'm a pretty mature filmgoer, it takes a lot to phase me, but I actually shrieked once or twice during this film. The three-plus hours just flew by.

My Recommendation?: Go see Kong pronto, you'll still respect yourself in the morning. It may just be the perfect movie, and a true representation of just what the first film makers had in mind when they first put light to celluloid—it's got everything: love, strife, high seas, dangerous natives, giant insects, dinosaurs with huge teeth, dreamy girls and manly men...and one giant ape with a heart of gold.

Snack Foods? Here's a popcorn movie if there every was one, but go easy on the soda pop for the first hour or so, you don't want to miss a thing.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home