After watching King Kong, I can almost imagine Peter Jackson, many years ago, playing back a DVD of King Kong and then going on a destructive spree. He probably was taken to see a shrink soon after as his folks pulled a rug over his dark side.
I imagine so because ‘King Kong’ is the work of a child deprived of mischief. The way Peter Jackson unleashes the entire cast (including extras) from Jurassic Park, many others from The Lord of the Rings, other assorted creepy crawlies on a munch-fest apart from the big ape himself wrecking havoc running around the streets of Manhattan, you can spot the childish destructive streak in him: not only is he highly imaginative and violent, he seems to totally relish the chance to remake a cult monster movie into the ultimate monster movie and execute his unfulfilled fantasies.
The scene where the hairy hero rips apart T-Rex’s mouth with his bare hands and later toys around with the broken jaw with much delight is ample testimony to the above observation.
Peter Jackson’s King Kong first makes an appearance 70 minutes into the movie.
Till then, the director spends time making you believe its a movie about a filmmaker out to make his movie against the biggest odds, with a never-say-die attitude, almost making him likeable (blame Jack Black for that), as Adrien Brody plays a SRKish charmer-screenwriter who falls for the blonde, a product of last minute casting after just about everything goes wrong with the filmmaker’s wild project.
Though it makes very little difference to the proceedings, the first 70 minutes seem to have been written to take King Kong beyond the monster movie genre and stake a claim for a modern day classic with romance of Titanic proportions. Also the first 70 minutes is the only time the movie is pretty light-hearted after which things are no longer that funny, what with people getting eaten up every two minutes.
It works for a patient audience but King Kong fans might just get a little restless waiting for him THAT long.
Naomi Watts fits in perfectly as the actress who has very little to do apart from look hawt, run around trees screaming hard as monsters try to eat her, entertain Kong with juggling and look mooney-eyed into the beauty-struck beast’s eyes. Adrien Brody is cast well too for a neat role that, however, waters down to almost nothing. Kong himself looks sooo much alive, thanks to Andy Serkins, the guy who also did all the acting for LOTR’s Gollum.
With special effects that are mind-blowing to say the least, the dialogues don’t look that bad though they seem to be borrowed from a handy make-your-own-monster movie guide: “What in the name of God is that?” “Holy Christ” “Run” and a million other screams. Maybe its a waste of time to write lines for people being eaten up or chased by gluttony monsters. For a movie kids will surely watch, it has way too many people being munched and treated with contempt. Especially, the way Kong throws people, esp. women, around.
But there are also lines laced with classic Peter Jackson feel-good. Sample:
all for the price of an entry ticket.”
“Defeat is always momentary.”
Otherwise, but for the fact that Jack Black is too likeable for a director who crosses over to wrong camp and the overdone bonding between the girl and the ape, the movie is a rollercoaster ride into heaven, hell and back, paying tributes to the classics old and new including Jurassic Park, Titanic, Mackennas Gold among many.
Peter Jackson might be psycho. But he is God of spectacle cinema.
These are just off-hand thoughts typed in a hurry. Read a more structured review in the paper on Friday.