Well, having read all the reviews, perused the comments
on this mailing list, I was fairly well prepared to
enjoy myself today when I went to see the new "Kong"...
I walked out MAJORLY disappointed.
The movie got off to a swell start - I actually liked
the first one hour of the picture the best, as I think
the re-creation of Depression-era NYC was excellent,
and playing Al Jolson singing "I'm Sittin' on Top of
the World" juxtaposed with breadlines was brilliant.
(It was also an awesome tribute to the "World's
Greatest Entertainer", the greatest American Pop Singer
of all time - but I digress.)
Once we got to Skull Island, however, believability
went right out the window. Let me take this blow by
1. The ship would have been rent into pieces and sunk
had it actually gone bouncing off of the rocks during a
storm that had 50-foot waves slamming it around; the
row boats would have been capsized and everyone in them
drowned in such seas;
2. The area in front of the Gate and the Wall was
simply not believable - it was on a narrow rocky
outcrop with no vegetation - where the h*ll are the
natives supposed to live, nevermind find food (since
they are apparently too frightened to venture into the
lush jungle on the other side anyways?)
3. In the looooooong time it took our heroes to fight
the canibals (before the Cap't came to the rescue) all
would have been bludgeoned to death. I'm sorry, but
Jack Black single handedly keeping a coupla dozen
savages with spears away from killing him with
Hulk-like strength was not believable. Ditto with
Driscoll, looking every bit like the wimp that Ann
earlier implied that he was.
4. Then (sadly) we get to the biggest disappointment
of the film. Kong. Yes, Kong. Now, don't get me
wrong. The special effects were impressive. The
problem is that from this point on the movie turned
into a Tom and Jerry cartoon, with the laws of gravity
and physics apparently being permanently suspended,
what with the 20-ton Kong and the V-Rexes bouncing off
the rocks like fleas on a greyhound, being hung up in
lianas that would have had to have been made of 30-inch
Kevlar in order to hang them up in mid-air as they did.
And what about all of the bites to the biceps taken by
Kong? Didn't see him wearing chain mail, and each one
of those V-Rex teeth looked about 36 inches in length,
still - No blood, much less torn flesh (or dismembered
arms). Note to future filmmakers: if you think we
won't notice this kind of thing, you're mistaken. In
that sense the first King Kong was more realistic - at
least the creatures in that one, crude as they were,
didn't assume supernatural powers as here.
Next, lets examine the truly amazing special effects of
Ann being carried every which way by Kong. OK. Now a
couple of questions? How come her ribs didn't
fracture? How come her neck didn't snap from the
whiplash or from being slammed into tree branches along
the way? Her narrow escapes from the mouths of the
various V-Rexes speak for themselves. I am sorry, but
if I want to see this kind of schlock I can rent Bugs
Bunny where I am supposed to laugh at such shenanigans
instead of realizing - an hour and a half into the
picture - that NO amount of "suspension of disbelief"
that I can muster could possibly overcome the sheer
impossibility and ludicrousness of what is going on.
A passing word on the "Brontosaurus Stampede"; no, I
am not going to make comments about the musculature (or
lack thereof) of these critters - that's been done
before and frankly I could care less...but how about
the critters stampeding at - what - 25, 30 MPH? How
about only 4 guys being trampled to death and the
majority of the others miraculously escaping unscathed
after running for what seemed like an eternity dodging
10-foot wide Bronto-feet? And how about that "turn on
a dime" Subaru AWD demonstrated by the Brontos when
their momentum only carried a couple of them into the
abyss, while the rest of them lithely piruetted a
successful negotiation of that narrow, collapsing
ridge? Hey - I get it - maybe they're filled with
Hydrogen like German Zeppelins of old, hence while they
look like 50-ton beasts, they really only weigh 10,000
pounds, so they can do the "Henrietta Hippo" two-step
right out of Fantasia?
This Kong only looked believable while sitting still.
Once he started up he reminded me of Yoda's light-sabre
fight with Count Dooku in Star Wars, what with all of
the summersaulting and bouncing off the walls.
The same stuff applies to the NYC Kong scenes
...technically they were breathtaking - the Empire
State Building scenes were phenomenal what with the
panoramas, etc....then we have Kong spinning a plane
around without being pulled off the building - or
tearing the strut right off the bi-plane - no siree, it
needed to keep flying so it could collide with that
other bi-plane - and what about Kong doing his Shaq
rebounding imitation, tearing the wing off a plane and
then landing, still balanced, back on the top of the
See, Jackson and his crew forgot that the fact that you
can now do CGI scenes that intercut critters with
people so well as to make them look absolutely
amazingly real DOES NOT MAKE UP for the problem if you
then have the critters and people suddenly,
Matrix-like, abrogate all physical laws. Poof!
Suspension of disbelief goes out the window - and
straight down, not up.
Lest you think I am done, you are wrong. Because now
we get to my #1 objection to the movie;
5. The GD-MF-ing "emotional involvement" between Ann
and the beast "cluster***k" - well, you know what I
mean there ;-) Unbelievably (pun intended), after all
of the above, this non-CGI aspect of the film was THE
MOST UNBELIEVABLE part of all. (And I won't even go
into the MEGATON-embarassing 'ice dancing' sequence,
because, by that point in time, the film had lost all
credibility anyway). Now guys, I'm not saying that a
girl might not take some kind of pet-like liking to the
big furry guy (and as an aside, how about the big
SMELLY guy? - never saw her throw up or retch, even
though, judging by many trips into ape areas of zoos'
I've taken, Kong's stench by itself should have slain
No, I'm just saying that the 'emotional bonding' scenes
were, to me, BY FAR AND AWAYS the most TEDIOUS,
UNBELIEVABLE, and TEMPO-BREAKING aspects of the whole
picture. And Ann, well, lets just say that after Kong
went over the side on top of the Empire State Building,
what with that look on her face, I expected her to
shove Driscoll off the side too - instead she embraces
him after completely shunning him ever since Kong got
the "Zyklon-B" treatment on the beach!!!
Oh, and has Mr. Peter Jackson ever been outside, on the
observation deck of the Empire State Building? Well, I
(and probably half his US audience) have been there.
And, besides the dizzying fear of heights, there is
also something known as THE WIND that ALWAYS is
whipping around up there like a gale. Still, never saw
Ann's clothes flap, never heard any wind, and she and
Driscoll hopped up and down those exterior ladders 100
stories up in the air like, like, well - like there was
a net and a blue screen below them, onto which NYC was
To sum up, had the first (non-CGI) hour of the film not
been so well done - with the very surprising Al Jolson
vocal cameo during the opening garnering particularly
high points with me - I'd have to say this film was in
danger of being one of the WORST Kong films ever made
(and, given the 1976 Kong catastrophe, that would have
been saying a MOUTHFUL). But, kudos to Jackson for
excellent and believable NYC atmosphere, good acting
(in the first hour anyways), and the excellent (though
totally incredible) visuals of the last 2 hours.
And the 'Ann loves Kong' bits? Well Peter, that's what
the CUTTING ROOM FLOOR IS FOR - so films don't go
over-budget, over-pretentious and over-long, like, say
3 hours +!!!! Ditto for Ann suddenly deciding to
become Kong's personal one-woman Vaudeville show.
One good thing (seriously) about all this, though;
apparently Jackson got the rights to not only digitally
re-master the old 1933 King Kong for DVD, but he
actually re-created lost scenes (I checked out that
video link posted earlier), thus making Willis
O'Brien/Merian Cooper's vision complete. And for that
at least I commend his efforts!!
I'm OUT here.
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