Monday, November 28, 2005


If you feel a need to condemn or forgive my boyish enthusiasm, by all means please go ahead and do so. But I can pretend no longer—I’m very excited to see this big gorilla movie that’s coming to town. And although I can’t take my daughters—too scary, you see—thanks to all the brouhaha over the new version, I have got them interested in seeing the 1933 original. They even watched with interest Kevin Brownlow’s documentary about Merian C. Cooper on TCM with me a few nights ago. Who knows? Maybe seeing Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s King Kong will change one of my daughters’ lives too.

And now comes Newsweek’s Devin Gordon, who has seen Peter Jackson’s new movie:

“Jackson's epic, $207 million remake of King Kong is a surprisingly tender, even heartbreaking, film… The original… was 100 minutes long, Jackson's version is a Kong-size three hours. ‘A few people have already asked me why we're taking twice as long to tell essentially the same story,’ says the director. ‘And I don't really know. We've been asking that ourselves. I'm going to have to come up with a better answer.’ The best answer—the only answer, really—is the movie itself… Jackson has honored his favorite film in the best possible way: by recapturing its heart-pounding, escapist glee.”

And how about this, from coscreenwriter Philippa Boyens:

"I know I shouldn't say this," she begins, "but when other directors see this movie, they're going to fucking give up."

(Thanks to David Hudson at GreenCine Daily for the heads-up. GreenCine Daily is an absolutely essential daily read for me, and if you have any interest in keeping up with the latest worthwhile writing on film available on the Web, it should be a daily stop for you too.)


blaaagh said...

Uh-oh...after reading this, I'm holding my breath for the Mysterious Adrian B. to let loose on you again. Heh heh...bring it on! Of course, I'm droolingly anxious to see "King Kong", too.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Not to worry. After that last rant, the M.A.B. has taken up residence under the floorboards beneath my desk. We shan't be hearing from him again... er, for a while, that is...

Thom McGregor said...

This large monkey movie is just tailor-made for you and Blaaagh. I only wish the two of you could see it together. I'm sure that would be the only thing that would make watching what I'm sure will be a very exciting and beautifully made monkey pic an even better experience.

Snake Plissken said...

Are cheesy green-screen effects supposed to be part of the "fun" of this new Kong film? Because I just saw the trailer on TV and I gotta say, some of the green-screen effects in just that little 30-second ad rank right up there with the immortal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I'm not too familiar with Peter Jackson's portolio (other than the LOTR movies), so if this really is like an inside joke or something, let me know so I can be in on the fun and laughs; otherwise, I'm afraid that this movie is gonna seriously blow.


Dennis Cozzalio said...

Have you seen the trailer that I linked to earlier that can located here: ? I'd be curious to hear what you think of it compared to what you saw in the 30-second ad. Because there's nothing in the trailer that I saw that begs comparison to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Snake Plissken said...

Well, the trailer looks kind of cool, and I really, REALLY WANT to like this movie. But I'm wondering if there's some loss in translation between my tiny computer and my 27" TV.

Last night I saw the ad again, and Big D, I gotta say that the effects are indeed as bad as I thought they were before. There's a quick shot where Kong comes up behind some people running in front of him, and it looks like they used some rear-projection technique straight out of Night of the Lepus. I was instantly reminded of that scene in Land of the Giants where the crew of the Spindrift is running away from a giant evil scientist brandishing a test tube. It looked just like that. Only take the horn-rims off the scientist and make him hairy.

Like I said, I WANT to love this movie. I WANTED to love Star Wars: Episode I, the Godzilla remake, Chicken Little, and that expensive Dyson vacuum that, frankly, sucks. Is it any wonder that I have become such a cynical, mistrusting SOB?

Snake Plissken said...

All right, I just came back from my friend Vic's house where I saw the Kong trailer for the first time on a 40+-inch hi-def screen. And I take back what I said, at least about the effects looking like they came out of Night of the Lepus.

But some of the effects still look like they came out of Chitty Chitty Chitty Bang. No, in fact, they're worse. They look like Chitty Chitty Chitty Bang with CGI components from the Unreal Tournament 3-D engine. Hi-def tells no lies.

God, I wanted to like this movie. I am honestly at the point of tears as I type this, because you don't know how much I loved the original King Kong. I loved it so much that the first time I saw it, I desperately needed to have a bowel movement about halfway through the film but I remained glued to my seat the entire time. I hobbled out of the theater gasping and doubled over in pain, but it was well worth it. I have never had that kind of experience with any other movie.

I know that was way too much information for you, but it is important for you to truly gauge the depth of my disappointment about this latest version.

Jackson and Company ought to just rename this movie Kingy Kingy Kong Kong, call it an "homage", and leave it at that. Maybe they can salvage some dignity that way. Maybe they can even crib some of the songs from that movie:

"Oh, you, Kingy Kingy Kong Kong
Kingy Kingy Kong Kong
We love you!

And with Kingy Kingy Kong Kong
Kingy Kingy Kong Kong
What we'll do!

High, low, anywhere we go
A Kingy Kongy we'll befriend

Kong Kong Kingy Kingy Kong Kong
Our giant primate friend!

Kong Kong Kingy Kingy Kong Kong
Our giant primate friend!"

But, then, I'm sure it's probably too late to make any changes.

I am sorry, my friends. I don't mean to be a cinematic Laocoon, but there you have it. I have to be honest.

blaaagh said...

Snake, as hilarious as your Kingy Kingy Kong Kong song is, and as bizarre as your tale is of the original King Kong and the Delayed B.M., I must say that I hope you're joking about being disappointed to the point of tears over a movie you haven't even seen yet. My mom would tell you to go run around the block a few times (her antidote for fretting too much about unimportant things). But then, I guess your entire comment is intended to be satirical.

One thing I do want to know: is the Dyson vacuum cleaner really lousy?

Snake Plissken said...

Blaagh, re: the Dyson vacuum, all I can tell you is that I had to return two of them, because it seemed like I had to keep running over the same areas again and again and again to pick up all the visible dirt. Maybe my carpets are too challenging for it, maybe I'm just a horrible slob, or maybe I just got two weak units by luck of the draw; anyway, those babies ain't cheap enough for me to keep trying them to find out. I bought a Hoover for less than 200 shmays at CostCo and haven't looked back.

Re: Kong: You're right, of course, that it's totally unfair to slam the film based on a 30-second TV ad. Basically all I'm saying is that I've gone from being super-excited about this movie to being more than a little skeptical about it. Only time will tell, though. Fortunately, we all don't have that long to wait!

blaaagh said...

Snake, thanks for the scoop on the Dyson Suck-O-Matic. Maybe if you'd just vacuumed constantly for 24 hours, all dirt would have been extracted, and then you'd have in effect a new carpet. But I think I'd have gone with the Hoover, too.

Let's hope your fears about the new Kong are not realized; I haven't noticed any "Snowball Express"-style blue screen effects in the previews I've seen, but maybe you've got a keener eye.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Boys! I thought I was gonna have to step in there for a minute! Haha! That's what I really like about the kinds of folks we've been able to attract to this site-- lots of opinions, lots of good humor, and nobody's looking to start any big arguments or flame wars (yet!) Snake, you've only been around a few days (publicly, anyway), and yet I already appreciate your participation and find myself hoping you've dropped another comment down when I wasn't looking-- even if it means hearing of another near-poop experience. (Don't get me started in this category...) I'm really glad to see the kind of smart, funny people that have begun hanging around this URL, and I credit you, Blaaagh, and others like Virgil, Thom McG and the M.A.B., who have been here from the start, for cultivating the kind of atmosphere where a well-written rejoinder to a nicely worded comment is met with the kind of attitude with which it was clearly intended. No need for me to go run around the block a few times! Oh, and now I know what a Laocoon is too, and it's not a Southeast Asian ring-tailed rodent! As for King Kong, only nine more days and then the debate can really begin about a movie I'm sure most of us will have actually seen not long after that. Here's hoping it's more Lord of the Rings than Land of the Giants!

blaaagh said...

Yeah, I continually marvel at how your comments section never turns into the kind of trash heap you find, say, in the comments on Internet Movie Database. To wit: "Lern to spell B4 U staart talkin shit abooout Tarntinos movies cuz their all massterpeeces, bitch." So depressing! I think advising Snake to run around the block is as cranky as I've ever gotten here (sorry, Snake). As for Mr. Plissken, I can't imagine who he/she is, but it's good to have him/her around.