The Observotron

I am the omnipotent machine of observation and opinion spewing. All I do and say is right.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Review: Wind on top of the Empire State Building and King Kong

At 187 Minutes, King Kong is certainly not breaking from the streak of lengthy films that Peter Jackson had started with his Lord of the Rings trilogy. He probably could have shaved about 30 minutes off simply by cutting all of the close-ups of character’s faces we are treated to every time they run into a new wonder of Skull Island. I rejoiced as characters began dying because each time it meant one less face to cycle through when next they would all be awestruck.

The good news is that I was awestruck as well. Not only does King Kong kick as much ass as we’d expect a 25 ft gorilla to kick, he’d probably kick the ass of any other 25 foot gorilla that crossed his path. As far as action goes, this film has some of the best sequences I have ever seen. Most of them are packed into one extensive section of the film, with little to no break in between, and this actually strengthens the scenes, rather than weakening them. By presenting these scenes back to back, the film delivers a real sense of the relentlessness that this vicious island holds.

Acton aside, this story is really about love. There are two love stories here, not counting Jack Black’s love of himself. Of the two, I bought the relationship between Anne (Naomi Watts) and Kong much more than that between Anne and Jack (Adrien Brody), and that’s ok because the film focuses much more on the former. The daunting task of creating a believable love story between a woman and a giant monkey is so impressively executed that it makes me wonder how Jackson could pull this off and yet not be able to make me care about the romance between two humans, which has the distinct advantages of verbal communication (beyond roaring and screaming) and compatible naughty parts. The scenes that develop the relationship between Anne and Kong are touching, expertly crafted and cleverly conceived. So much so, that going into detail about them would spoil the film, except of course for their final scene which you all should know about by now. (!SPOILER! Monkey falls off building. !SPOILER!)

All in all, Kong steals the show. This is how it should be of course, but it raises question of why many of the characters were developed in the first act when they just disappear later with no resolution to make way for the core story. Even during these earlier scenes, I was asking myself “Why should I care about these people?” and by the end, the movie had answered me with a resounding “I don’t know why either, buddy.” The film may have trouble remembering everything it was doing by the time Kong shows up, but I really can’t blame it. I’m sure I’d forget what I was doing too if that thing jumped out at me.


Wait, -1 for there not being nearly enough wind at the top of the Empire State Building.


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