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GreenCine Movie Talk
In The Theaters
I just saw it and boy does it...

Kong II: Loved Him, Hated Her
Topic by: JGereben
Posted: December 13, 2005 - 12:36 AM PST
Last Reply: December 20, 2005 - 12:38 AM PST

author topic: Kong II: Loved Him, Hated Her
post #1  on December 13, 2005 - 12:36 AM PST  
Others' sexual preference is their business, but there is a limit. Terminal stupidity presented as stimulation is just too damn kinky. In the new "King Kong," Naomi Watts is horribly irritating and yet, she is the object of extreme affection not only for the big ape, but also for director Peter (Ring-a-Ding) Jackson.

What else could account for starring blank-faced Watts, who has only a single expression (bovine, confused and adoring - of Kong, of the much uglier Adrien Brody, of sunsets, of heights), and who single-handedly brings everything to a halt, again and again?

"Everything" happens to be quite a lot: three (3) intermissionless hours of a children's movie that's much too scary for children and demands too much from grownup bladders, of mind-numbing spectacle, of video-game struggles among an endless procession of bizarre, super-vicious creatures.

"Kong," needless to say, is very BIG, and the special effects are, well, special. The cast is huge, cinematography spectacular, the first hour of Depression-era New York City interesting. Kong himself is truly awesome, very believable (except for his excessively symmetrical rump), and the Kong toys will generate billions of dollars. Such a big, complex film, leaving so little in its wake. Even as an Ibsen hero, "Kong" is too little, too much, not enough.

One walks (with difficulty, on legs that have gone to sleep halfway through) away from this three-hour Event, fuming over Watts' Ann Darrow and her inexplicable deer-in-headlights staring, her running constantly (on high heels or, in the jungle, bare feet) into the worst possible place or situation, of her pristine appearance after being flung around by Kong and trampled upon by dinotigersharks or whatever those filthy beasts are.

Three hours! Worse: 187 minutes! Much of it spent with Watts! And what's the point spending millions of dollars on a remake of a classic? Why, somebody next will come up with a remake of the great "Producers." You think? No, that wouldn't make sense.

- Janos
post #2  on December 13, 2005 - 5:49 AM PST  
> On December 13, 2005 - 12:36 AM PST JGereben wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> "Everything" happens to be quite a lot: three (3) intermissionless hours of a children's movie

So I guess this movie wasn't Bollywood enough! At least our 3 hour films have intermissions...

> an endless procession of bizarre, super-vicious creatures.

Ha ha! The Geisha thread was a bit like that... This thread is starting out well, though, I think...

> One walks (with difficulty, on legs that have gone to sleep halfway through) away from this three-hour Event

I think after the 3 hours the audience is expected to exit the theater on their knuckles. So how would you rate this film compared to the other 2 Kongs? I think I'll still go see it. I want to support the cause of darker toned leading men.

> And what's the point spending millions of dollars on a remake of a classic?

I think a sequel. They have the new Godzilla from that remake from a few years ago, so now they can update King Kong Vs. Godzilla. I'd pay to see that! Then maybe King Kong Vs. Godzilla Vs. Alien Vs. Predator.
post #3  on December 13, 2005 - 1:37 PM PST  
Other reviews I've read say that it's Naomi Watts who saves the movie from being all flash no substance.

To each his or her own, eh?
post #4  on December 13, 2005 - 3:39 PM PST  
I'd watch Naomi Watts do her taxes for 2 hours and be fairly well entertained. But haven't seen KING KONG yet, so we'll see... maybe her character is off? It is a scream-laden part. Even Jessica Lange didn't come off that well in the last remake. But still... Naomi Watts... [swoon]
post #5  on December 13, 2005 - 8:05 PM PST  
As a resolute fan of the original, a predestined bias against the new remake might be unavoidable given the crassness of the last one in 1976, however, this jury of one will have his verdict after tomorrow's screening. Frankly, I'm looking forward to it with an open mind. And although I expect my eyes will be unavoidably focused on Naomi Watts, the big guy should be the one who steals the show by winning my affection as he did in the 1933 version.
post #6  on December 14, 2005 - 5:53 AM PST  
But will it live up to the standards of KING KONG LIVES, the sequel to the remake in which Kong is given a blood transfusion and a giant pacemaker the size of truck engine? It's probably one of the most unintentionally funny movies ever. The romantic music playing when Ms. and Mr. Kong finally meet made me laugh till I gagged! Jackson's film will probably be better, but not more entertaining.
post #7  on December 19, 2005 - 10:59 AM PST  
Well, I saw KING KONG and thought it terrifically entertaining - and, most surprising of all, quite touching. The fact that Kong himself is such an expressive creation, much more so than the original film's beast (unfair comparison, I know, and that 1933 film still impresses to this day) - he really feels like a living, breathing creature, complex and emotional. My g/f was sobbing through the entire last act.

The whole middle 2/3 is most exciting, even if (purposely) derivative, riffing and ripping off both the original and other films (even Jurassic Park). But with Jackson's sense of humor and predeliction for grossing out the audience, it's both non-stop funny and scary.

As for Naomi Watts, well, in some ways it's a thankless role and it's true there were a few times where I wondered how she still looked pristine after running around in the muck - though this doesn't purport to be anything more than an expensive B movie and thus I wouldn't expect neo-realism here - but I thought she did just fine. She really put her whole body into the part, a part that doesn't have a whole lot of dialogue to it, and I really believed there was a connection between her beauty and the beast. She may have had to scream quite a lot, but not as much as the original I believe - as wonderful as Fay Wray was, her role was less defined, her connection to the ape less emotive and clear. In short, I disagree with the above criticism but understand it.

It's by no means perfect - the opening act is necessary and gives more depth to the characters but feels a little sluggish at times (I wanted to get to the damned island!), and there are times where it adheres so closely to the original you wonder what's the point. But that feels more often like a loving homage and in that sense it was hard to be bothered. And, again, I was much more moved by this one than in Kong's previous incarnations.

post #8  on December 20, 2005 - 12:38 AM PST  

It was fun. I was reminded a bit too often of LOTR. At certain points I was expecting to hear elves singing. And Kong gets the award for the longest death scene since Boromir's. But NYC was cool and it was really a treat to see Alan Lee's vision of Skull Island (at least, I assume that was what it was).

Watching Ann Darrow walking up onto Kong's palm reminded me of my then-4-year-old cousin with my hamsters. So I started to view the film in the following way. Here's Kong in Skull Island, the last of his kind (unless they remake "The Son of Kong" as well). The natives periodically give him pets which, not unlike Lennie from Of Mice and Men, Kong isn't capable of taking care of. Now, the natives are overjoyed to see Ann since it means that they won't have to give Kong one of their own (probably the young woman who pointed to the group in the beginning). Ann is not like the others that Kong had tried to keep. It's like keeping golden retrievers all the time and then be given a cocker spaniel (or like someone I know who kept Great Danes exclusively but suddenly found herself the proud owner of a miniature dachshund). For the rest of the film, I kept thinking, "aw, Kong's looking for his cocker spaniel!" I mean, wouldn't any dog owner go to great lengths to find their pet? No wonder he's sooo ticked off at Driscoll who took Ann away. I'd be out for blood, too, at the man who took my dog.

I also wondered where Skull Island was supposed to be. Since the SS Venture left NYC bound for Singapore, I'm guessing that Skull Island is somewhere in South Asia (since the captain was turning the ship around to Rangoon before the fog rolled in). So the natives are Fijians or Menehunes or something?

It's of some interest that the non-white members of the ship's crew on the expedition were killed by Kong: the black Mr. Hayes, the Chinese Choy and the Maori guy. Hm.... or not. :)

One wonders if Andy Serkis requested a gruesome death scene for his character ("okay, I'll be Kong, but I also want to be a character with a squint who dies heroically but ickily...").

Other highlights: Jimmy "Billy Elliot" reading "Heart of Darkness" on the voyage to improve his mind, Baxter as the heroic coward, tons of truly icky bugs (ickier than those in Blue Gender, ick, ick!), Kong's wrestling moves on the T. rexs, and Kong playing in the frozen lake in Central Park with Ann, among others.

My bf was not too thrilled with the choice of Jack Black as Carl Denham. He thought Vince Vaughn would have been better. I didn't think Jack Black had quite the "sweeping everyone along in his wake" kind of energy going on. I felt that he was playing the character from School of Rock but without any redeeming qualities. Still, his delivery of "It wasn't the airplanes; beauty killed the beast" was pretty good. As he looked at Kong's dead body, he looked shocked but was he shocked at what he had done to such a great being or that his career was down the tubes with the death of Kong?

All in all, there were gasps and giggles a plenty (for me at least). It was a lot of fun.

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