Sunday, March 04, 2007

King Kong (2005)

Someone I discussed this movie with replied, "Well, that's what happens when someone has too many 'Yes' Men around."

I wish I could remember who said that to give them credit here, because no movie I've seen recently demonstrates that concept better than this one. From concept all the way to release, too many people must have been telling Peter Jackson "yes", instead of "you're a moron."

Let's address the concept first: a remake of King Kong.... correction, a remake of a remake of King Kong. This movie has been made three times in Hollywood, and the story isn't even that great! For 7 decades, King Kong captured the imaginations of .... who exactly? It's a monkey movie. The plot of the movie is no more meaningful than Bedtime for Bonzo -- monkeys put in human situations; nature vs. nurture; cross-chromosomal love story. If you're a conspiracist, remaking King Kong again is all part of Hollywood's monkey conspiracy. And, at worst, remaking King Kong again puts a blind eye towards the cries that the story has always been racist.

I'm not going to debate whether King Kong is racist because that's not what this blog is about. I'll leave it to you to Google around for articles that expore the controversy of King Kong's racist themes. I prefer to focus my attention on the self-indulgence and delusions of grandeur of the filmmaker instead of the characters in the story, because I love to write about movies that suck.

Which brings us to point #2 of Jackson having too many Yes Men: Hey Pete, ever heard of a film editor? You know, they do that now, edit a film before releasing it. They even have computers called Avids that can do it easily, then a negative cutter will put that together at the end.

The film is over 3 hours long, which is just too long for any movie. Give me 1.5 hours of passably decent action like Wolfgang Petersen was able to do in Poseidon, not 3 hours of grueling, meaningless action just to fund your personal visual effects company. I can almost understand why LotR was too long, since there was a lot of material to cover. That's not the case for King Kong. This story is very, very simple. We don't need 15 minutes of CG Kong looking at Naomi Watts longingly on the top of the Empire State Building. OMGWTFBBQ, WE GET IT ALREADY. We've all gotten it since 1933. Thankfully for HBO HD and a Comcast DVR, I was able to fast forward through most of the film. I firmly believe that all movies are too long, so now you know why I don't watch them until they're on DVD or HBO. I reserve the right to skip a filmmaker's self-indulgent bullshit.

Finally, let's get to point #3: the visual effects. This movie proves that all movies will be remade for no other reason than to remake the effects. They can do that because effects have gotten too easy to do! You read that right: too easy! Armies of relatively cheap digital compositing, roto and paint artists have made these kinds of things so easy that filmmakers can become, again, self-indulgent. Based on the growth of the VFX industry since Jurassic Park, today Jackson can just fly artists down from the United States as temporary full time to get it done. Compare this to the vision and tenacity the original King Kong filmmakers must have had, to take on visual effects like that in 1933.

Before this movie premiered, some had the gall to predict this movie could be bigger than Titanic. Titanic had at least some decent story qualities (I'm not saying I liked it, just that many did like that story), whereas this movie, a remake of a remake of an originally lame story, has none. Don't waste your time on this movie in any way. Even the visuals aren't as cool as the 1933 version when you consider how difficult it was to pull those gags off 70 years ago compared to today.

Rating: Bad/Good movie (as it, it was supposed to be good, but it was terrible, kind of like Forrest Gump). In HD, it's a tremendous waste of space on your DVR. If you find it for $0.50 on Blu-Ray underneath a pair of used boxer shorts at a garage sale in 10 years, maybe worth picking up and watching then.

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