Sunday, November 20, 2005

WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT A KING KONG REMAKE?



All right, everyone knows about the hype. Everyone knows about director Peter Jackson’s desire to be a filmmaker stemming from his exposure to the original 1933 classic. Everyone knows Universal spent close to $200 million on this movie. Everyone knows this movie’s presence in the marketplace is already inescapable—has been for some time-- and it’s not yet Thanksgiving. Every little detail about the production of this movie is available to anyone who needs to know every little detail. And there’s already the inevitable above-it-all tone to the major portion of the Internet coverage of the upcoming release that may not exactly be hoping for failure on Jackson’s part, but is certainly (and not necessarily wrong-headedly) saying, “Come on, 800-pound Oscar-winning gorilla, prove it to me.” But if you can look at this new trailer and resist getting just a teensy bit excited to see what Jackson has in store, then, to paraphrase my old college film professor, William Cadbury, who once tried to imagine a viewer not being devastated over the assassination of Barbara Jean in Nashville, you’re a much stronger person than I am.

16 comments:

Roscoe said...

Looks wonderful.

The Mysterious aDr.IaN BeTa.MaX said...

This trailer spells S-U-C-K-F-E-S-T. Can't you spot a suckfest coming when you see one?!?!

I'm hardly one to root against Peter Jackson, but this looks sooooo lame!

Sorry, D!

-The Mysterious aDr.IaN BeTa.MaX

blaaagh said...

I dunno, I might be a sucker, but I think it looks exciting--and I'm definitely a sucker for Naomi Watts. Saw a slightly different preview in the theater yesterday, and both Mrs. Blaaagh and I were foolishly excited. Still, nothing'll ever replace the wonderful original version, for me.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Me too, B. I may have to cop to being a hopeless geek, but I look at this trailer, imagining the things that Jackson must still have up his sleeve that he hasn't yet allowed to be revealed, and my hopes are raised pretty high. There's no way the movie will replace the original in anyone's heart, and I don't think that's the director's intention. Is it unrealistic to expect that the movie might be spectacular in its own right? I don't think so. Jackson's track record gives me a lot more hope than the M.A.B. is allowing for.

8763 Wonderland said...

Although you can normally count me in the camp of those opposed to remaking classics, King Kong has become something of a unique franchise so I don't see this as a strict remake.

Blaaaagh and Dennis, do you remember the King Kong Saturday morning cartoon show in 1966?

And Toho Studios did a whole slew of King Kong movies in the 60s, starting with, I believe, "Godzilla vs. King Kong".

And then, of course, there was the ill-advised 1975 remake and the later sequel that spawned (The one-sheet for the '75 remake is now a collectors item because it features Kong astride the World Trade Center twin towers)

Dennis Cozzalio said...

8763W:

I had forgotten about the Saturday morning cartoon show until you brought it up. But now I'm recalling a plastic King Kong toy with magnetic hand that I coveted as a kid that was tied in with that show. Here's a link to look at some of the items that were connected with the series:

http://tinyurl.com/9r5ws

blaaagh said...

Hey 8763! I, too, had totally forgotten about that show, but the memory came charging back (through the jungle of memory...OK, I'll stop now; I'm not THAT bad a writer!) when you mentioned it, and especially when I saw those toys. I think the friendly cartoon version of Kong probably helped me get over my fear of the scary 1933 guy...I saw it at age 3 or 4, and had nightmares of Kong peeking in the 2nd floor windows, then reaching in to get me.

Brian said...

Is that the same cartoon show that had that theme song that I still get stuck in my head every once in a while, well the music anyway. I'm shaky on the lyrics, though they're something like "You know the name of King! Kong! Ten times as big as a man..."

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Brian: I think that's right, although I'm not sure. Rodger?

Also, did you happen to see the Merian C. Cooper documentary on TCM? It's a Kevin Brownlow-directed item featuring some excellent audio of Cooper himself, and last night they ran it along with Kong, of course, but also with the 1925 documentary Grass, which we'd talked about earlier. Don't know if Chang will be showing up too- I'll have to check the TCM schedule-- but Grass looks fascinating.

8763 Wonderland said...

Yes, Brian! LOL! That's the damn song.

Thom McGregor said...

Peter Jackson is probably the most exciting high-budget director working today. He has wit, heart and a humanistic soul and it all shows despite all the SPFX. But I have never, nor will I ever understand the allure of a movie about a humongous monkey, original or remake. I tend not to like simian films in general.

8763 Wonderland said...

Okay, I saw the trailer last night and I have to admit it does indeed look cool. And what excites me the most is that it has been done as a period film. Just might buy a ticket to see that big ol' ape after all.

Brian said...

I did not see the TCM documentary, but hope I will be able to do so soon. I notice it's an extra on the recent Warner DVD.

Grass is simply an amazing film. Chang is weirdly wonderful too and has particular interest for me as I lived near where it was filmed for a couple years. Ever since hearing reports from the Cooper/Shoedsack retrospctive at the Pordenone Film Festival two years ago, I've been hoping prints of more obscure films such as Rango might turn up. Perhaps the documentary sheds light on them that will eventually spark someone's interest in releasing them?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I'm really hoping that some of the benefit of Jackson's Kong being in the marketplace and (presumably) tearing up the box office will be some further interest in Cooper/Schoedsack. I'll be on the lookout, and I know you will! By the way, here at work I was just assigned a couple of old Carole Lombard films to work on for DVD subtitling-- Hands Across the Table, a terrific film she did for Mitchell Leisen with Fred MacMurray and Ralph Bellamy, and an unknown quantity for me, Love Before Breakfast. Coincidence? Perhaps... Stil no pre-code stuff coming through the door as yet, though!

psaga said...

Dennis, I'm so ashamed. I dutifully watched this trailer, and about the time they started traipsing around the tropical island, I realized I've never seen the 1933 KING KONG, though I was convinced I had! Too distracted by this embarassing revelation to get all excited about the Peter Jackson spectacle. Won't let myself see said Peter Jackson spectacle until I nab 1933 on DVD from my local Blockbuster. (*Sigh* I did say Blockbuster. Too cheap to subscribe to Netflix. Have to burn through a big Blockbuster credit first.) Cheers! Thanks as always for your contagious enthusiasm.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

God bless! The return of PSaga! I just left a little nugget on your site as well! Yes, the 1933 version is just out on a spiffy new DVD with lots of great extras and contributions by Jackson, animation great Ray Harryhausen and others. I jokingly suggested to my sister that she buy it for my youngest daughter for Christmas, and she did! Who knew that she couldn't see through one of my obvious laugh-getters! But hey, the unintentional bounty for me has turned out to be bounteous indeed! How's Corn Valley treating you? It's really good to hear back from you. Stay tuned, 'cause I have lots of good stuff coming up before Christmas ("good stuff" here loosely defined as "lots of letters jammed together to form words, which are also all jammed together in a way that hopefully makes more sense than volume.")