Friday, May 12, 2006
King Kong: WTF? No, I mean it. Seriously, WTF?
In which V would like her 3 hours back.

Okay, okay. In which V would like her 90 minutes back, since she watched half of this film on fast-forward.

Before I jump right into bashing this bloated train wreck of a film, let me just say a few things. Firstly, I really like Peter Jackson. He's made some truly amazing films, especially the films he made with zero budget and homemade special effects. And I liked the LOTR trilogy. He really did that justice, and it made him boatloads of money and won him some important awards and generally put him on the map as a respected director. So, what's a guy do when he suddenly has an astronomical budget and carte blanche to make just about any film he wants to make?

He remakes something. WHY? Why is it that a filmmaker with genuine talent and vision chooses to redo something old, instead of using his powers for good and giving us something new and innovative?

As if it's not bad enough to remake an older film, Mr. Jackson makes the fatal error of remaking it poorly.

Here is what I actually liked about the film:
1. Naomi Watts had pretty hair.
2. ...

To be fair, the parts of the film that actually had a plot were fairly entertaining. Out of just over 3 hours, I'd say that about 45 minutes went toward establishing and furthering the plot. The rest of the film was as follows:

1. Once the ship reaches Skull Island, there is a neverending scene of Turmoil In Stormy Waters, wherein all of the characters spend what seems like half an hour shouting out "ROCKS!!! ROCKS!!!" whilst the captain steadfastly attempts to dodge about a thousand rocks. I quickly grew bored and pressed FFWD.

2. Once the crew actually land on Skull Island, there is a neverending scene of Turmoil In Which Everyone Is Attacked By Savages. And all because Jack Black tries to give a small savage child a chocolate bar. I was unable to suspend my disbelief.

3. Next there is about 20 minutes of what I think was intended to be exposition, but just seemed like a bunch of sailors milling around and Naomi Watts looking soulfully out to sea (with pretty hair) and then Naomi Watts getting kidnapped (in the least interesting manner possible) and the sailors realize they have to go back to Skull Island to fetch her.

4. Interminable scene of savages offering Naomi Watts up as a sacrifice to Kong. They could have done this in about three minutes, really. There is much screaming and pounding on drums. I think I dozed off for about ten minutes.

5. Giant CGI monkey absconds into CGI jungle with Naomi Watts. We spend about half an hour watching him run around or fling her about. He flings her about quite a bit really, and I find myself wondering whether in real life she mightn't get brain damage or internal injuries or something. I am unable to suspend my disbelief.

6. Sailors etc. pursue. While following the trail of giant CGI monkey through CGI jungle, they rest for a bit in a CGI ravine whereby they are soon chased after by numerous CGI bronotsauruses and other, smaller CGI dinosaurs, possibly raptors. There is a positively ridiculous CGI dino stampede, and numerous people and smaller CGI creatures are crushed underfoot. This culminates in a CGI bronto pileup, with dozens of computer-generated things tripping over one another and rolling about. Even on fast-forward this lasted more than 15 minutes.

7. Naomi Watts attempts to entertain giant CGI monkey by doing vaudeville routine including tapdance and pratfalls. Monkey likes pratfalls, thumps chest. Monkey amuses self by constantly making Naomi Watts fall down. This was possibly the only genius scene in the film, but only in the sense that it was incontrovertibly lame.

I get hazy on the sequence of things here, as I think I may have dozed off (read: napped soundly) for several minutes.

8. Naomi Watts escapes and runs through CGI jungle. She runs and runs and runs and runs and runs. And then she runs some more, all on fast-forward. She encounters more CGI dinosaurs (the mean carnivorous kind) and a couple of giant nasty CGI bugs. There is an exhaustive fight between CGI monkey and CGI T-Rex. On paper this sounds indisputably cool. Yeah, on paper...

I am unable to suspend my disbelief for, like, the three dozenth time today. I mean, okay. I know that in an epic film about a giant monkey and an island full of amazing creatures, one must suspend one's disbelief. Even so, I really don't think that should extend to accepting that the human characters can escape unharmed from circumstances which would normally leave them horribly maimed (if not dead).

9. CGI Monkey has showdown with sailors, etc. on a CGI log which spans a very deep CGI ravine. Lots of monkey-growling and chest-thumping and log-shaking ensues. Numerous CGI humans fall dramatically into ravine.

10. Bottom of ravine. Humans vs. hordes of giant CGI insects, scene is of infinite length. A nervous boy who has Never Fired A Gun Before manages to shut his eyes and shoot all the giant CGI bugs off of Adrian Brody with a machine gun, without doing Adrian Brody any harm. Suspension of disbelief is becoming a full-time job. One pretty cool thing happens in this scene, though: a sailor gets his head eaten by a giant tube with teeth. It looks like one of the baddies out of the original Legend of Zelda. AWESOME. Fast Forward some more.

11. They get the girl back and there's some plot to trap the CGI monkey and she gets upset about it, because even though the CGI monkey has spent the past gazillion minutes flinging her around violently and making her fall down for his own amusement, she feels sorry for him. To be completely 100% honest, I fell asleep again around this part, and when I woke up about 10 minutes later I didn't bother to rewind to see what I'd missed. So....

12. Suddenly they're back in civilization and Jack Black has the CGI monkey all chained up and you just know no good can come of it. Also, you know he's going to get loose and climb the Empire State Building (all the while flinging the girl around violently some more). You also know how it's going to end, and so when you press "display" and see there's nearly an hour left, you think to yourself "an hour? An hour MY ASS" and so you watch the entire rest of the film on FFWD.

I swear, after I'd finished with it, I felt as if I hadn't slept in weeks. All that running around in various CGI environments gave me a headache. I can't imagine how pissed off I'd be if I'd actually spent $6 to see it in the cinema. Or if I'd even had to pay to rent it. A lot of people seem to think it's some kind of epic masterwork or some such nonsense... I just don't get it. It was the crappest film I've seen in YEARS. It was even crapper than Star Wars Episode One - and these are strong words, friends.