Monday, April 17, 2006

King Kong: DVD Review

Somewhere inside all of the too-obvious special effects, irritating direction and camera work, melodramatic acting, and mud-encrusted natives is a bad script trying to hide beneath the debris of an impressively defective movie. It has all of the sins of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films but without the redeeming value of the LOTR books to prop up the effort. With a script that has all the nuance of a longing hobbit glance, you might imagine that there might be a camp classic buried in there somewhere; sadly, no sense of humor or irony is in evidence.

The movie is overly long (because Jackon is big enough that he doesn’t have to worry about pacing and running time anymore) and has an almost George Lucas-like reliance on CGI that manages to get in the way of enjoying the visuals.  In fact, in many ways King Kong seems like a complete visual extension of the LOTR movies with the addition of more modern characters. Every big effects scene goes a few steps too far and every dramatic moment is emphasized by what I can only assume was meant to be an “edgy” slow motion, jumpy camera crawl. “Edgy” or “irritating”: you make the call.

Kong is probably the best part of the movie. He is as impressive as the villagers are filthy and disturbing. His facial expressions and movements are impressively well done.

It’s a meaningless (although slightly creepy) love story that doesn’t have the advantage of being charming, funny, well paced, or particularly smart. Like Kong, the whole movie is just really freakin’ big. Ultimately, the main advantage of this remake is that it simply isn’t the execrable V for Vendetta.

I always consider it a bad sign when I fell like giggling during the big dramatic scenes. Some of the effects were so laughably off--as with the slow-mo close-ups of our heroine in Kong’s grasp as he runs through the jungle--that the urge to laugh was almost overwhelming. The running of the bulls scene-as depicted with a cast of dinosaurs and the occasional squished sailor--encouraged a similar response.

This one definitely wasn’t for me.

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