Hey folks, Harry here... Quint left for New York pre-dawn today, last word I heard was he was stalking Broadway looking for a Blonde to abduct. His usual haunt may be a tub at sea, but he's gone ape over Kong. I've been telling him for years that Gorillas kick shit out of Sharks, but his like of limes in his diet led the scurvy bastard astray for years. Reviews have been popping up all over the net. Daily Mirror had one, Toronto Star, KongIsKing... I've been holding off linking to them all, because typically AICN is about the Film Geek response - and this here is the first one of those we've gotten. It's spoiler free, so feel safe. Here ya go...
Its your (very) occasional movie reviewer Nole reporting on Wednesday's World Premiere screening of King Kong at Lincoln Square here in NYC.
Anyway, here's a quick, spoiler-free writeup. In a word, SPECTACULAR!!!
If there is one thing this film should teach all of us is that there is no filmmaker alive better than Peter Jackson at giving us jaw-dropping moments. Not Lucas, not even Spielberg. The world he brings to life in this 3-hour epic labor of love is a true marvel. Every bit of the $210 million budget this film reportedly cost is on the screen.
Now as for that 3-hour running time, yes, its too long. I would say by 20-30 minutes. But its long in the right place, at the beginning of the movie. The buildup to Skull Island really introduces us to the characters, so its slow but at least there is purpose to the slower pace. But once it gets to the island, Jackson kicks into high gear and really lets the fur fly.
There are so many incredible characters that Jackson creates through CGI .. its impossible to count. I'm trying real hard not to give anything away, so I'll just say that the fight scenes were FRIGGIN' GREAT!!
And what can you say about Kong? He looks so ... real. That's all you need to know about the great ape. He looks so true to life that Jackson shows us close up after close up of him. When Naomi Watts touches him, it looks she's really touching a giant ape. There's no Spielbergian 'hide the wires in the shark's mouth' tricks.
Whatever the guys at WETA do to make their effects look that much better than everyone else (except maybe the ILM boys), I'm amazed other people haven't stolen their trade secrets.
Oh, and I thought the actors were all very good in their roles, although Jack Black was a bit too cartoonish at times. Adrien Brody was fine as the awkward writer-turned-hero .. the supporting cast filled their roles capably .. but Naomi Watts outshined them all.
Maintaining the dignity of this Beauty & the Beast love story is very difficult (especially when doing it with a blue screen) so my hat's off to Watts for pulling it off. Two key scenes between Watts and the Ape were especially moving and really brought home the unspoken but undoubtable connection between the two.
I'll wrap this up by saying that this is one of those increasingly-rare films that demands, cries, BEGS to be seen on as big a screen as you can find. It is a visual feast .. an all-you-can-eat buffet for cinephiles. Go out and enjoy it -- just make sure to make a pitstop at the bathroom before you sit down.
And now - here's our second look....
I work for a small independent theater in the eastern portion of the United States. We do midnight screenings of cult favorites like Blood Feast, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Rocky Horror. My boss scored two invitations to an exhibitor screening of King Kong this morning. I will start by giving you a heads up on me. I love The Lord of The Rings movies-I think The Two Towers works best for me. I am a Star Wars fan-The holy trilogy works better than the new ones with Empire scoring a knockout because its got the best performances of any Star Wars movies. My favorite movie of all time is Raiders of the Lost Ark. The truck chase is my favorite extended action sequence ever. My blood gets a boilin' every time I hear "TRUCK? WHAT TRUCK?".
The suits at Universal have made the wisest move in letting Jackson film his masterpiece the way he wanted too. Jackson seems to have the same thought process as another great movie company ,PIXAR. It always comes down to the story and the characters. You can have the best CGI in the world, you can have the best animation in the world but if you do not have characters we empathize with or more importantly care about it doesn't matter. Its the difference between Chicken Little and The Incredibles. Godzilla and King Kong. You will care about Kong, no doubt in my mind. you will care about Jack and you will care about Ann. Denham you may want to kill or you may feel sorry for his desperate pathetic soul.
The movie starts in New York and you know it will end there as well. we have an interesting set up with people on the fringes of their respective societies. Ann Darrow works vaudeville, but her theater closes. She is prompted to do burlesque but dammit she knows she's better than that.
Carl Denham is a filmmaker in search of a movie. Every chance at immortality leads to the stock footage roll for Universal. He comes into possession of a map that leads to an uncharted island. The stuff to set -up the adventure works so well that it seems like a different movie.
When Jackson gets us to Skull Island this movie not only will own everyone's ass but it actually own the monster/ fantasy film world as well. The island is so alive even in its rendered state that Jackson is like a kid in a candy store. Scary island natives-check, man eating dinosaurs-check, crazy bat creatures-evil bugs-anything you monster/animal planet mind can conjure PJ has put on the island.
He of course saves the best for last, Kong is a greater CGI creation than Gollum. He lives, breathes, fights, protects and is the King of the scariest place on Earth. He rules all and maybe the greatest cinematic effect ever acheived. We should start some sort of petition to get Andy Serkis credit for his work. It is Oscar worthy no matter what the academy says. The action and CGI are astounding. You know Jurassic park when it came out in 1994 astounding. The fights are ferocious and very well conceived especially the T-REX vs KONG stuff. Its a three level fight that gets more and more creative up until the last punch.
The bug pit sequence is really scary and well done as well. So much happens on Skull Island you start to believe maybe we won't get to New York. New York doesn't disappoint and here you get some really quiet moments between Ann and Kong. The relationship is very solid and my collective praise goes to Naomi Watts and Serkis for making me believe. Everything that happens in New York does and I don't think there will be a dry eye in any house playing this movie.
This is a film that lives up the hype and does establish Jackson in elite company. It used to be for the collective film geeks of the world that a movie that had Spielberg, Lucas, Eastwood, Kurosawa, and Kubrick. Jackson may have acheived more with this than the Rings trilogy. Wouldn't it be something if Jackson could get a B-monster movie Best Picture of the Year. Don't be surprised when its gets a boatload of nominations and don't be surprised if this monkey turns out to be the KING of the Hollywood Jungle this year!
If you use this call me JDUB1138.