24fps: King Kong
My review base is going to now include films I screen at traditional theatres. Most people understand that motion pictures are projected at 24 frames per second. So when you see the 24fps prior to a title, you know I ventured outside the house!
And what better title to check out than the new "King Kong." The buzz about this one is more confusing than drunk sex on a waterbed! The critics loved it, the critics hated it. And so on. I am here to set the record straight. Is this movie worth your hard-earned cash and three hours of your precious time? Read and learn.
There is much to praise about this film. Naomi Watts plays the stunning actress Ann Darlow and there are ample close-ups of both her and her love interest Kong. Jack Black is also believable as the greasy filmmaker Carl Denham. But Adrian Brody's character Jack Dricoll is not particularily relevant, and while I loved "The Pianist" and feel he was outstanding in that, his droopy demeanor in KK rubbed me the wrong way.
Which brings me to my main point. The editing. No motion picture can be all things to everyone. And Director Peter Jackson attempts to do just that with KK. There are too many set-ups and characters in the first third of the film. And it is difficult to determine just who we should be cheering for. By the time the ship crashes into Skull Island, the viewer may feel like jumping ship themselves. And then you have to endure the morbid walled graveyard of the natives. You know, the place they sacrifice the hot blondes that stumble across the uncharted island. The imagery was gross and not slightly disturbing.
So just when Carl Denham is about to get his head chopped-off, the ships captain, played by Thomas Kretschmann, shows-up with the guns, and saves the film crews ass. Which is interesting, because Captain Englehorn actually saves everybody's ass three times in this film, and each time it involves arming his guys with machine guns and pistols. And to be honest, Kretschmann is the best looking actor in the production. Which begs the question: Why would Ann Darlow have the hots for Dricoll, when Captain Englehorn is the one that keeps saving people from nasty natives and giant bugs?
But once we get past the big sacrifice, and Kong snatches our sweet, all-American blonde from the unwashed clutches of the island folk, the real film begins. And it's good.
The ape himself is amazing. The jungle island thick with creepy prehistoric critters. And Jack Black will win you over with his slimy tactics and mannerisms. By the time they capture the primate, you're primed for the New York City finale. And it doesn't disappoint. It is these last scenes that shine, and put this Kong on top. The relationship between the ape and human is real, a true bond of companionship and trust. And the climb to the top of the Empire State Building is both mind-blowing and heartbreaking.
Overall, King Kong is a great date flick. If dinner runs late, don't worry. You won't miss the good stuff.