Happy Birthday, Sarah!
Movie: Mark and I saw King Kong last night with our friend Tom. It is one of the best movies I have ever seen. This is the greatness that happens when a fan with love in his heart makes a movie.
I'd never seen Kong before. I'm not one to be impressed by movies about giant critters, and I thought that was all this was. I had no idea how much, much more depth there is to it.
I'm told Peter Jackson builds on some things which were not as well-developed in the original movie. The heart is all there, though. This movie is about the lengths a person will go to for the sake of love. The character Carl Denham says it best when Jack Driscoll says he loves the theatre, just as the ship is pulling away from the harbor, and Driscoll is missing his appointment to work on a stage play: "No you don't," Carl says. "If you did, you would have jumped." Even Denham is willing to go to any lengths for the sake of what he loves--the almighty Buck.
Skull Island is a veritable Jurassic Park, with terrifying natives, dinosaurs, and icky, creepy-crawly things which want to eat our ship's intrepid crew. And I do mean terrifying. Part of how I judge a scary scene in a movie is by whether it scares me. These scenes scared the socks off me. I don't know how Anne Darrow stayed sane during her first bit of running around on the island. (g)
The acting was first-rate, particularly Naomi Watts as Anne, the guy who played First Mate Hayes, and Adrian Brodie, who played Driscoll. They got Alexander Circus (who played Gollum in LOTR) to play Kong, and he was just fantastic! I forget who played Carl. The actor played him very well, but I kept wondering when the character Denham was going to wake up and say, "Let's just leave; I'll take the jail time."
I liked the portrayal of Driscoll a lot. He was nice and understated, but there. He didn't give up. And the bit with him confronting King Kong in New York and trying to lead him away from people was very neat.
Best bits: Anne Darrow doing vaudeville acrobatics for Kong and him playing games with her on his ledge. Kong and Anne watching the sunrise--twice. Jack and the taxi. Anything with Hayes in it--I want that guy on my starship. I wouldn't even mind the captain on my starship; he proved himself after a while, even if he was a greedy twit. Heck, bring the whole crew. And lastly, the fact that Jack understood and accepted that Anne cared about Kong, even if he didn't know why she did.
Nitpicks: There were some very abrupt time changes in this movie that I didn't like. I know that you have to telescope time in a movie, but I don't like to have it be total karkness in one frame and then early morning in the next. There was a bit of a continuity problem when Jack and Anne were seen swimming through a river on Skull Island, and in the next frame, they're walking out of the jungle, completely dry.
Even though I realize that the love of beauty is the dominant theme of the movie, Anne should have been looking distinctly unbeautiful by the time they left the island--meaning, she should have been muddy, covered in dirt, had bleeding scratches all over, had matted hair, and have not looked freshly made-up. Her clothing did get ragged, but it was nowhere near as filthy as I thought it should have been. Perhaps we were simply meant to see her as Kong saw her. Or perhaps this was part of Jackson's attempt to capture the 1930's style of filming; I don't know.
Winter scene: To me, a mark of real accuracy in a movie is showing a character's breath in scenes when it's supposed to be cold out. I didn't notice any of that in Kong. And if the New York scenes happened in winter, what happened to Anne Darrow's coat? Or does she usually go out in icy weather in just a sleeveless, low-necked white dress and pumps? Yes, I know it looks good, cinematically, but geeze.
Oh, and a last mit--They really needed to find a different surname for Carl Denham, because I went through a good portion of the movie thinking that Carl Denim sure was a weird name.
Another review, by frenchpony
Conclusion: Go see this movie! It really is stupendous and wonderful. :)
SPQR Blues: In other news, I am once again caught back up in adding all of the SPQR Blues posts since #XIII to my Memories.