The new issue of Entertainment Weekly, their Holiday Movie Preview, features a splashy article on director Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake. Buried within that article is a paragraph that, after enduring so much knee-jerk genuflection at the altar of digital effects and digital cinema by a certain high-profile director of a certain greatest postmodern art film ever,* was pure tonic to discover. Let me share it with you:
“Creating a believable, photorealistic Kong was just the beginning of the challenge for Jackson’s army of effects experts. Unlike Lord of the Rings, which used various locations all over New Zealand, Jackson decided that his Kong, like the original, would be filmed mainly on soundstages. Skull Island, Kong’s jungly home, was created almost entirely in miniatures; there are twice as many miniature shots in Kong as in all three Rings movies combined. At one point during postproduction, George Lucas dropped by the set for a hush-hush visit. Alex Funke, supervising director of visual effects photography, proudly showed off his miniatures department’s handiwork, which was meticulously crafted down to the tiniest piece of plastic jungle foliage. “George said, ‘Of course, we could do all that digitally,’” Funke says. “We said, ‘Yes, of course you could. So?’”
Alex Funke, you are my hero.
* Incidentally, if you buy any of this incredible load of post-coital rationalization, then you probably also believe that Our Poor Creatively Shackled Empire Builder will actually begin making some of these avant-garde experimental films he’s claimed for nearly 30 years now that he’s always wanted to do, instead of continuing to tinker with his great postmodern art film until he can’t chew his own food anymore. (A 3-D version of “Episode IV” is slated for 2007—how very avant-garde and experimental!)
P.S. Today marks one year since I made the inaugural post on Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging and helpful to me with this project, and for your enthusiasm, and your constructive criticism too. I wasn’t sure if I could sustain something like this, but the adventure and the fun of it has really taken hold of me. I sincerely hope this blog is as much fun to read as it is to write. I look forward to even more fun and more creative challenges in the years ahead.