Sunday, November 19, 2006

King Kong (2005) **1/2

Thinking is hard...

I’ll give it to Jackson, “King Kong” was an extremely entertaining movie, despite its length. But I can’t see why so many intelligent people obsess over this film. I could write one of the greatest episodes for Mystery Science Theater 3000 for this movie. The clichés in use are not Tarantino-esque homages but simply clichéd moments used by a director who doesn’t realize they’re clichés. Like a hopeless scene involving Naomi Watts mistaking the identity of her favorite playwright. A borderline racist portrayal of the friendly local villagers, who’s purpose is to be everything evil. One of them is played, in a sad fall from grace, by the same actress who was Grandma in Whale Rider. There is even a scene where a kindly black man is killed. There is one scene where Kong slides around with Ann in his hand and, despite the fact they are being chased by half the world, they stop to play on the ice and shots of Ann and Kong laughing fade over each other like a Coca Cola commercial. Then the lake explodes and the tank comes in. So I laughed. Shoot me. The film occasionally references the classic original, but these are references, not homages, Jackson prefers to homage his own earlier splatstick films than Merian Cooper’s. Much eye rolling follows. The splatstick homages I speak of involve a scene where Jack Black’s crew are attacked by giant bugs in a valley. Among other strange creatures, a giant worm/slug pokes out of the marsh and opens up one end of it’s cylindered body to reveal many rows of circular teeth, and promptly begins devouring the head of a screaming young soldier. Gigantic spiders rip others to shreds. How did this film get a PG-13? Whatever you do, don’t take your kids to see this. I’m the kind of person who wouldn’t mind if you took your kids to see Deep Throat (hey, they watch you having sex anyway) but not this.

But I am only mentioning it’s faults. King Kong is a very fun film, if not quite the emotional experience some have suggested. In this case, the original, which retains brilliance through simplicity and brutality, is still far superior.

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