First off, I hope nobody actually went to King Kong on the basis of my mid-movie recommendation. I kind of doubt anyone did, though, as it is the sort of movie that you either really want to see or really don’t and I doubt other people’s opinions have much to do with your decision.
(E.g. I told Linguist Friend about it yesterday, saying
“King Kong really wasn’t all that good. I’d wait for the DVD.”
“Yeah,” he thoughtfully replied “I should really go see that while it's still playing up here.”)
What’s interesting is that the the Salon review makes much of the fact that the story is a romance. That was on my mind as I watched the previews, which were all action movie previews.
I found myself agreeing with whoever had made that decision. It is an adventure movie, not a romance. I’ve been in love, and I’ve several times felt deep affection and pity for someone whom I don’t think is really suited to function in society and who manages to take problems that aren’t his fault and make them much, much worse. Those feelings are very different, and the second is not romantic at all.
As I emailed from my phone during the first hour, the first hour of this movie IS very good. It is reminiscent of Shadow of the Vampire, one of my all time favorite movies, and really does a nice job giving one the feel of an era. Jack Black is really good in his role, reminding me a little bit of Eddie Izzard’s portrayal of Charlie Chaplain in “Cat’s Eye,” another of my favorite movies. Adrian Brody is indeed sexy. I've always liked men with large noses and he will forevermore serve as an example to point out to large-nosed male friends who are feeling insecure.
But by the second hour, it really was an action movie and action movies really aren’t my thing. I am aware that there is no politically-correct way to portray murderous natives. That said, I squirmed. The scene where the brontosauruses fall over each other is truly bitchin' and makes just about every action sequence after it seem anticlimactic. The face-suckers from “Aliens” were a weird addition to an island where every other creature was fairly realistic and Kong really only needed to save Ann from one Tyrannosaurus to make the point, watching him beat up five of them was frankly a little much.
I am sure that Peter Jackson’s battle sequences where you can’t tell what’s going on for ten to fifteen minutes at a time are very realistic. I find them kind of dull to watch though.
What struck me most about the movie was how cold it left me. I felt no chemistry between Ann and Kong and Kong’s death at the end of the movie left me thinking “Ah well, movie’s over” more than anything else.
This is funny to me because Friday night, I was meeting Jennifer at her/my/our hair salon, where she was getting her hair done by Joe the Hair guy. He wasn’t done, so I sat down in the next chair and the three of us talked about how she and I were going to the movie. I explained that theChaliceSignificantOther had a long week at work and wasn’t up to seeing the monkey die.
Joe snorted and mildly made fun of TheCSO. A straight male hairdresser rarely passes up the chance to point out how some other guy is not properly masculine.
“On come on,” I said, “He’s just not in the mood for something depressing. But on Christmas eve, we will be in town with his best friend and I’m going to church. Maybe they will go see it then.”
“Well, yeah” Joe said “Can’t take him to church. I mean, Jesus dies in the end.”
Probably looses something in the retelling, but it was quite funny at the time.
Anyway, theCSO changed his mind and ended up going, and the movie ended up being not nearly so wrenching as we had expected. A good spectacle though, and might be worth seeing just for that.