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Bob K.
Posted on Sunday, December 18, 2005 - 09:19 pm:   

http://www.electricstory.com/reviews/review.aspx?title=new/kingkong

Go for the dinosaur fight, stay for the big-monkey ice follies scene -- or not.
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kellys
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 06:30 am:   

Great review! This movie was terrible and more critics need to call it out.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 06:34 am:   

Thanks, kellys
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Robert
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 07:35 am:   

I watched the original on TCM over the weekend. Right now, I still have some desire to see the remake, but it's not high.

I watched Return of the King over the weekend. The spectacle was good on the first viewing, but it's quiet little scenes (like the moment of silence when the hobbits are at the tavern at home) that appeal to me most.

I also keep expecting Merry to talk about heroine or how he plays bass in a band. I guess Monaghan's character in Lost has overshadowed his LotR role in my mind.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 11:33 am:   

You've been warned. :-)

As to lost, I quit watchng a month ago when they brought in the second cast -- now they don't have to explain anything for years.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 01:13 am:   

Saw the KONGster tonight. Gotta say I liked it a lot, so guess I'm going against the general criticism of it here. Sure, there are flaws, but I think as a remake it does justice to the original. An improvement, in my opinion. It sure didn't feel overly long to me. (Mind you, it COULD've been shorter and still succeeded for me.) Klunky moments in the CGI, true, but Kong's digital character (via Serkis) came to life. I bought into Kong. Naomi Watts' performance was excellent (but Brody and Black left me cold). I found it entertaining, a wild ride indeed. Forgive me, I love an adventure story with heart (overly sentimental or not). It definitely is NOT HEART OF DARKNESS--Conrad's book has nothing to do with KONG, and I can't figure out what Jackson was trying to do with that--but it is a classic Monster movie. With really neato effects. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 05:22 am:   

You appear to be saying that you gave it a big thumbs up despite dissing half the cast, clunky noments in the CGI, etc....Sounds a little like my review. I guess I've reached the point where "a wild ride" and "really neato effects" don't do it for me,. It sounds as if you were predisposed to like a three hour movie with forty good minutes of FX. I was not.
To each his own.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 10:52 am:   

I guess by saying I liked it a lot, I meant thumbs up but not BIG thumbs up, WAY up. I like it for more than 40 minutes of FX. I agree with bits and pieces of your review, but all in all, I thought there was more to cheer about.
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Scott William Carter
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 10:57 am:   

I think it's a matter of expectations. Some movies are just roller coaster rides and nothing more -- and there's nothing wrong with enjoying a ride like that, as long as that's what you expect and want. Not every movie needs to be an indy French film with a low budget and lots of angst -- god help us if they were. The cinema would be a pretty damn depressing place.

Though I do enjoy a good indy French film with a low budget and lots of angst from time to time . . . :-)
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 11:42 am:   

I really enjoyed the hell out of King Kong. I'm unapologetic about it. I just wish, though, for fucking once they'd put aside the stereotype of the black savage. It would have been nicely creepy to have the last vestiges of civilization living outside the walls to have been the offspring of Pitcairn Island sailors or something.

JeffV
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 01:18 pm:   

What I enjoy is a tight script, good non-intrusive direction, and acting that suits the materials. Qualities that apply to movies as diverse as Office Space and Laurence of Arabia, Slingblade and Donnie Darko, Out for Justice and Alien. Qualities not evident in Kong, which I consider an ego trip. The notion that I only like French indy movies is inapprorpriate. In fact, I can't think of a French indy movie I do like. The subtitled movies I enjoy are mostly dark fantasies and thrillers, movies such as Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make. In other words, my tastes are relatively middlebrow.

Kong was, for me, a trip to Vegas. Pretty lights, a modicum of fun, but basically a rip-off that I couldn't wait to leave.

With all due respect, Scott, I'm tired of hearing movies described as a roller coaster ride. Every other movie, it seems, is so described. To me, that signals that they are mindless and insubstantial. If Kong were one of a handful of such movies, I very well might have liked it more...I would at least have been more tolerant. But Kong is one among many, and not a particularly good example of the form, certainly lacking a tight script and non-intrusive direction; thus my review. By any standard of criticism, fairly applied, it is far from a good movie. Is it enjoyable all the same? Well, I leave that up to you and Jeff and Patrick. Given all the money thrown at the screen, I expected more than an inflation of the original, with here and there an attempt to dignify the proceedings. For me, it was tedious. There may be a reason for that. I suspect I see many more movies than any of you--and I enjoy a lot of bad movies--and perhaps that makes me intolerant. But one should never apologize for one's taste, for one's standards, and, in such trivial matters, one's judgments. I certainly don't apologize for mine.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 04:39 pm:   

I thought Naomi Watts was terrific in it and I enjoyed the film a lot. I loved the special effects; I just think they were lingered on too long. And the whole heart of darkness crap should have been cut out completely.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 09:20 pm:   

that three hours was one of the hardest three hours i've had to do for a film recently. i gotta agree that i thought the effects weren't very good on the most part--especially when kong and watts were in the same scene.

i did like the scenes on the empire state building, tho. they were very cool. not enough to justify the film, tho.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 10:36 pm:   

Kong stands out as the one really fine performance in the film. This is not the result of traditional acting, but the creative work of a large team rather than one actor bringing the character entirely to life. The end result is a performance, and (I think) a really impressive one.

To pick one nit in your review, Colin Hanks never dies (it's the sound man who gets killed first), and is still around in the last act.

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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 10:45 pm:   

Yeah, but too everything else.

Colins Hanks lived...Shit.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 11:02 pm:   

Heh!

Let's just say, if KONG had gone up against MONSTER, I'd have given the Oscar to da biga ape.

Speaking of Dino, I see that DUNE is getting a release of the Extended Edition...but I'm starting to think this is merely the Alan Smithee TV version that Lynch wanted nothing to do with, the one that swapped out the bizarre (yet endearing) original Princess Irulan introduction with a bunch of backstoryboards narrated by Jose Ferrer.

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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 11:14 pm:   

Yeah, well....Monster was badder than bad.

I remember those storyboards--that was truly lame.

Watched a cool Spanish thriller tonight that outmamets Mamet. Swindled, it's called. Starring the old guy from Chronos and the Devil's Backbone. Good stuff;
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Bob
Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - 12:27 pm:   

Colin Hanks lived? Now you have to change my favorite line in the review...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - 12:40 pm:   

Let's leave it. Sometimes falsity is more accurate than truth.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - 08:23 pm:   

I never bought the love angle with Watts & Brody either. (It was the Watts & Kong angle that I liked.) Brody's "character" moves the traditional Kong plot forward at least -- if he doesn't keep going after her (as in the original), that would've been that. He's needed...it's just that Watts/Brody/script didn't get us believing in that romantic angle. (Kind of like Natalie Portman telling Ani Skywalker "You're breaking my heart!")

These added up to an overall positive experience for me: the Kongster himself, Watts, & FX (or most of the FX, anyway).

Okay, damn it. I couldn't remember (still can't) remember what else I've seen Colin Hanks in... Help?

Lucius, what was (is) your overall opinion of the '70s remake with Lange & Bridges? Would you agree Jackson's KONG is at least better than that one in most respects? Some respects?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - 08:39 pm:   

Oh, God yes! Dino's KONG was awful. Lost in all this foofaraw (mostly taking place on the F&SF board), is the fact that I recommended the film, saying that at least some of the effects made it worthwhile, but overall, for me, FX just don't make a movie.

Hanks was in a couple of teen movies whose names I can't recall. Maybe something else.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - 09:59 pm:   

Yeah, I also think it's worth going back to your original summary: You'd recommend it for Skull Island alone. Something we can mostly all agree on.

Anyway, there are quite a few decent movies out right now that rely on more than sfx, so I certainly don't mind a film that's top-heavy in that department, and consider it to be a hell of a lot more satisfying than its recent competition (speaking of Sith...and War of the Worlds...and Narnia...and the Harry Potter and and and).

Hanks was in the completely FX-free and completely awful ORANGE COUNTY.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - 10:13 pm:   

Another Jack Black vehicle.

The movie I'm most looking forward to is Cachet, Michael Haeneke's new existential thriller. I loved his Time of the Wolf, the most accurate of post-apocalyptic films, and I loved several others. People are talking about this one as if it's his best. The word Masterpiece has been used. In Haeneke's case, I tend to believe it. He makes wonderfully complicated movies.
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kellys
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 07:32 am:   

As for Haeneke, he can also make films that are icy cold and devoid of any optimism, as he stares in the face of human bleakness witness The Piano Teacher.

But yeah, Cache is getting raves. Then again, so is Kong.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 07:46 am:   

"....he can also make films that are icy cold and devoid of any optimism, as he stares in the face of human bleakness..."

What's wrong with that?

The difference between Kong and Cache is that Punch and Ebert aren't reviewing Cache.

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kellys
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 09:30 am:   

"What's wrong with that?"

It all hinges on one's personal view of humanity and personal taste in fiction. I enjoy my fictional narratives to gaze into the darkness of humanity, but I also like the darkness to shine a glimmer of light. For me, bleakness needs to be offset by some sort of transcendent moment. If it's not, it feels too one-note.

Haeneke's The Piano Teacher, ultimately, felt too one-note to me. I haven't checked out Time of the Wolf though. Maybe it's different.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 10:10 am:   

"Hanks was in a couple of teen movies whose names I can't recall. Maybe something else."

Ah, now I remember! He was in the TV series ROSWELL.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 10:28 am:   

I was just reading a bit about TIME OF THE WOLF somewhere. I guess that'd get a recommendation then.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 10:56 am:   

Haeneke's new one sounds REALLY good, but I quite liked his earlier movies WOLF and FUNNY GAMES. GAMES is a sort of non-violent horror movie that is all the more terrifying for its bloodlessness than films like Wolf Creek. But yeah, FWIW, I recommend it.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 05:39 pm:   

Kong is a movie with Jack Black in it. And yet people are surprised when they hate it? :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 06:00 pm:   

I thought Black was quite good in Jesus' Son. But now he's become a "star," he mostly does Jack Black impressions. Still and all, he wasn't the reason I disliked Kong.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 06:08 pm:   

The Greatest Singer Songwriter in the Universe was the only good thing in Orange County.
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 09:30 pm:   

i liked black in HIGH FIDELITY and MARS ATTACKS! (i even liked him in SCHOOL OF ROCK, but by then he was just doing jack black impersonations. which is okay in that film.) i even thought he was okay in KING KONG. at least he didn't break out the machine guns and go hunting kong as action hero man adrien brody...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 09:37 pm:   

Yeah, he was funny in High Fidelity, I disliked Mars Attacks so much, I've blanked it out. Orange County...Pah!


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ben peek
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 01:55 am:   

i liked MARS ATTACKS! there was stuff to dislike (a lot, i guess), but i dug jack nicholson in it. jack black was the crazy soldier in it--the one who is the brother of one of the main characters. it's a pretty small part.
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Forrest
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 11:45 am:   

Loved Mars Attacks, though Black made no impression on me whatsoever in that movie. hated School of Rock. Just hated it.

Still haven't seen Kong.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 12:29 pm:   

I'm willing to admit that I may be blind to the charms of MARS ATTACKS, but about Kong I'm secure in my opinion.
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 01:04 pm:   

yeah, well, i'm with you on kong. that film was just a slog. the watts/kong relationship of a big ape and his jester really bored me.
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 01:15 pm:   

I didn't like Mars Attack either.

I haven't seen Kong, and I'm in no hurry to. There's just so many good and interesting films out there that I haven't seen. FX alone just doesn't do it for me and the racist undertones would bother me, no doubt.

But the opinions are divided enough that it may be worth a watch.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 08:00 pm:   

Mars Attacks was a long time ago. It's like being a Sean Connery fan: you leave yourself open to questions like "Oo really? What recently?"

I have yet to see Kong (waiting for the stepsons to arrive for the schoool holidays), but however bad it is, it'll have one saving grace: It's not 'Narnia'
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 01, 2006 - 10:03 am:   

A slog's a good way to put it, Ben. A very accurate assessment.

Lee, well, there is no rival to Narnia...currently, at least.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 11:37 pm:   

Meaning...Narnia was bad? Haven't seen it yet. (I'm sure I missed good (and bad) movie posts along the way...)
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 06:33 am:   

Not bad....awful. The awfulest. Muy Malo. It reeked, sucked, bit the big one, and was an insipid, vapid pile of hoo ha. :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 11:09 am:   

The worst thing for me is the realization that Narnia has fallen into the clutches of Disney, and will never again be free of them. It will be impossible for future generations to directly relate to the books, any more than it's possible to contemplate the merits of E.E. Milne without having to scrape off the shit that Disney slathered all over Winnie the Pooh.
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AliceB
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 11:12 am:   

You mean you didn't like the talking beavers? And that lion... what a mane!
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Bruce
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 11:35 am:   

Hi Marc,

A. A. Milne, that is. [Thinking of e. e. cummings, perhaps :0)]

I'm sure you'll be delighted to know that Disney plans to 'retire' Christopher Robin and give Pooh a new human friend...a young girl this time.

Considering the horrific revision the Mouse did to Victor Hugo - not to mention the D-cups they gave Pocahontas - one shouldn't be all that surprised.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 12:43 pm:   

Heheh...yep, A.A. Milne! I blame Disney for that, too!

Pocahontas has had so many interpretations that the Disney version barely sticks.

And it's not like impressionable kids were ever going to read The Hunchback of Notre Dame again.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 12:58 pm:   

Wait. Timeout. When did I miss the original Monster bashing session? For the longest time, I felt I was the lone voice in the wilderness. Oh look how the purty girl can make herself ugly. Here's an oscar, sweetie. UGH! Makes me yearn for Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas (sorry, Lucius. Couldn't resist.) I clearly have been much too lax in my reading of the movie threads.

Still haven't seen Kong. Probably will. I'm still a sucker for FX extravaganza's, even if I have to resist grinding my teeth to nubs during the slow, stupid bits.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 01:33 pm:   

When Monster came out, I reveiwed it along with a bunch of other crap.

In Kong, prepare yourself for a couple of hours of slow, stupid bits.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 02:07 pm:   

Lucius's review of Monster, that whole column, is one of the funniest things I've ever read. I didn't have a chance to bash it originally because I didn't bother seeing it until I could get it out of the library with no waiting. Same with Passion of the Christ (which I enjoyed a lot more than Monster).

On the other hand, Charlize Theron has done a pretty good turn on Arrested Development. A lot of people I wouldn't otherwise like have redeemed themselves on that show.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 02:40 pm:   

I agree. I've been addicted to Arrested Development since the first episode. Bateman has been fabulous.

with a wee one, I never see anything in theaters anymore. Only movies I've made it to since Rachel was born were History of Violence and Finding Neverland. (Well, I saw Hitchhikers and SW Ep 3, but those were free showings through work. And worth every penny...) I keep pondering taking the Netflix plunge, but haven't yet. And our library doesn't really get new DVDs (I think I'll have to donate my collection, thereby doubling its meager size.)
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, January 23, 2006 - 01:02 pm:   

Hi, gang! I realize I'm coming very, very late to this party, but with a toddler and an infant in the house, planning for an adults-only night on the town takes some doing (the last time Dara and I went out by ourselves was for our anniversary back in May). But there was no way I was going to miss a Peter Jackson-made remake of King Kong on the big screen. I've been (somewhat painfully) aware of the very mixed reception this pic has been getting in the fan press, and I cringed many times while reading Lucius's review. I walked into that movie really wanting and hoping and even expecting to like it, as everything I'd heard about Jackson being a huge fan of the original and wanting to stay true to its spirit and time period, etc. etc., sounded promising.

Well. . .

Not everything about the picture sucked. I thought the big ape himself was very well acted, and his range of expressions didn't suffer at all in comparison with the amazing palatte of feelings that Willis O'Brien was able to conjure from an 18" tall steel and foam rubber model covered with rabbit fur. The movie looked beautiful. The reimagining of Skull Island was impressive and memorable (even if it made even less sense ecologically than the original version did, for reasons listed below). I appreciated some of Jackson's quotes from the original, particularly his use of the music and choreography of the 1933 version's "sacrificing Ann Darrow" ritual for his schmaltzed-up stage version of the same, a nice touch.

But. . .

I think Jackson is the latest victim of a malady which has been increasingly deteriorating the skills and judgement of film makers of action and fantasy/horror/sf pictures ever since the release of The Exorcist back in 1973. I call it the "I can show it, therefore I will show it" disease. Modern movie-making techniques have simply added too many tricks to film makers' trick bags, tricks which are so beguiling that they are irresistable, both because they seem to promise the delivery of the all-important 13-25 year old male demographic and because they are so neato-keeno to the tech-geeks who are making these kinds of pictures nowadays. Watching this movie, I kept thinking that Jackson was the band member from This is Spinal Tap who bought the amplifier because he could turn its volume up to eleven. In virtually every scene, the new Kong wants to outdo the original, and the way it attempts to do so is to turn the volume up to eleven. The original had Kong battling one Tyranosaurus? We'll have him fight three, and then they all fall into a macrame of giant vines and swing around like pendulums until they drop another couple of hundred feet to the ground! The original had crew members getting eaten by a giant spider at the bottom of a pit, until some censor or editor thought this was too gruesome/too distracting and cut the scene out? What a WUSS! We'll have dozens of giant spiders, plus hundred of giant crickets and cockroaches and really creepy worms with extending sucker-toothed mouths like those aliens in Aliens, and we'll have the scene go on for ten whole minutes! The original had the rescue party from the Venture running away from a single Brontosaurus? We'll have them running away from a dozen stampeding saurapods, at the edge of cliff, yet, and we'll throw in a bunch of velociraptors for good measure! Etc. etc. etc.

But far worse, in my opinion, was Jackson's choice, driven, I'm sure, by the capabilities of his technology, to make his fantastical world look naturalistic. In a perverse way, this made his Skull Island far more difficult for this viewer to buy than the original Skull Island was. The Skull Island that Marcel Delgado and Willis O'Brien created back in 1933 didn't look like a natural jungle or swamp. It had features in common with actual jungles and swamps, but it was its own world, which accepting that this fantastical place played by its own rules much easier. Similarly, Delgado and O'Brien sidestepped the temptation to make their Kong simply a very large gorilla. They changed his anatomy from that of a standard gorilla, for reasons both practical (animating Kong with true gorilla-like movements would have taken much, much more work and time) and aesthetic (giving him a true gorilla's hindquarters would've looked ridiculous). The original Kong ended up as more of a gorilla-like monster than a giant gorilla. But Jackson must've decided that modern audiences, knowing what technology is now capable of, wouldn't accept an updated Kong if he weren't a fairly anatomically correct giant gorilla, rather than a gigantic beast with some similarities to a gorilla.

These choices on Jackson's part have consequences, and they aren't to his picture's benefit. If you make your Skull Island look like a "real" place with "real" animals, rather than a fantasy world, your audience is tempted to start asking questions which they wouldn't have necessarily asked of the original. Such as: how is Ann Darrow able to run all over this place in a nightgown and bare feet without ending up a bloody mess with two broken ankles? How big is this island if it can support huge herds of giant sauropods? How do the human inhabitants (and, based on their portrayal, I use that term loosely) of the island survive, crammed in as they are in a tiny enclosure between their wall and the sheer cliffs which fall into the ocean? At least the humans on the original Skull Island had had the sense to settle in the one spot which had a beach, so presumeably they were able to make do with an economy based around fishing and a small amount of cultivation (what do the inhabitants of the new Skull Island do for food -- pole-vault themselves over the rocks and into the ocean, stab a fish with their poles, then get pulled back by ropes? I'm sure that must be highly efficient).

Worse, Jackson's choice to make Kong physiologically like a gorilla made Ann Darrow's survival past the first minute or two of her encounter with Kong utterly unbelieveable, in the sense of, "I don't believe my eyes." In the original, Kong walks mostly upright, like a man with very long arms, which makes his ability to move with Ann in his paw, avoiding squishing her like a fig, somewhat plausible. This Kong initially flings Ann about like a new rope toy. I immediately thought, "What? Is she Wonder Woman? Is she the Girl of Steel? That babe's neck just got broken a dozen times over. She's dead. Kong's carrying around a pet corpse." My reaction intensified when Jackson made the laughable decision to have Kong hold onto Ann all during the Tyranosaurus battle (in the original, Kong places Ann in the branches of a tree, out of harm's way, before turning to box the dinosaur's ears). There is asking me for suspension of belief, and then there's making the unreasonable demand for me to accept events which violate the laws of physics -- a demand which can be made if I'm watching an absurdist movie like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but not when I'm watching a film whose style aspires to the naturalistic or "realistic."

Then there's the whole issue of Ann's relationship with Kong in this version. As Dara said afterward, "Maybe I could've bought it if Ann had been shown to be a radical animal rights activist." Of course, such persons didn't exist back in the days of the Depression. But I certainly agree that Ann's devotion to Kong, extending to her willingness to climb to the very pinnacle of the Empire State Building (and her amazing ability to not be blown off the top by the winds up there! Maybe, rather than Wonder Woman, she's supposed to be Spider-Woman?), into the face of machine gun fire from multiple warplanes, to protect him, was unearned and unsupported by the script. I mean, come on, Jackson -- if you're going to dick around with an hour or so of character build-up before getting us to Skull Island, don't waste it on the red-shirts; show us a Darrow family flashback where Ann's beloved father has hair down his back like an orangutang and little Ann caresses his fur with Lolita-ish intensity before her beloved Daddy gets buried in a mine cave-in or something. Or have him wrestle alligators for tourists down in Florida, and one bites his head off while Ann watches, scarring her for life. . . of course, you'd have to make Ann's father a Mikosukee Indian then, but that might be a plus.

How about we just agree to stop trying to remake and "improve" the old classics and just write some new material? I'm available. Lucius is available. Thousands of us are awaiting the call. Writers are a dime-a-dozen, much, much cheaper to be had than computer animation technicians. Sheesh.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 23, 2006 - 01:25 pm:   

You nailed it, Andy. I could go on with the review for more by far than the 2000 words i had just listing the flaws. But audiences and critics grade on a curve nowadays, so what can you do? The two key words here are "ego" and "money." The power to do anything and belief that he could do anything -- that's what brought Jackson down. In fact you could paraphrase what was said about his monster -- "It was booty killed the beast."
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PM
Posted on Monday, January 23, 2006 - 07:45 pm:   

One of the things I liked about the original Star Trek series was it's "alien" quality.

They'd beam down to a planet and it didn't look real. The rocks were fake and the lighting was unnatural. I never thought to myself oh they're out in the woods somewhere.

Everyone was wearing uniforms that didn't look like what one would expect a uniform to be.

And the technology. Sure it was of its time. But when we see those plastic cards and beeping lights it just doesn't look today's slightly modified computer.

Which is a roundabout way of agreeing with Andrew.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 06:50 am:   

My wife and I love the original Star Trek, but I can't help wondering how that series will appear to my two kids, now aged 1 and 2. I figure it will look about as archaic to them as the original Frankenstein and Dracula movies from the early days of the talkies did to me when I was a kid, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Those older styles of acting and set design certainly did add to the "alien" and mysterious quality of those movies for me. I figure that the USS Enterprise's computers and equipment will look about as weird to my kids as Victor Frankenstein's electrical equipment in the 1931 version did to me.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 07:11 am:   

Shatner, an older style of acting....?

For shame! :-)
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 07:16 am:   

Sure. . . older style, as in "Punch and Judy."

Not to rag on Shatner. "Punch and Judy" acting certainly has its place in the entertainment firmament.

"Stop. . . you're. . . KILLING HER!!!!!"
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 07:29 am:   

Have you seen David Caruso in CSI MIAMI? He's the new shatner, man. Everything's sotto voce and way gay: "Well....we'll have to see...about that...". The same Shatneresque intervals. He's a riot.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 08:20 am:   

Andy, I been trying to reach you at your office for a couple of weeks now. If you have a new number, email me please
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 08:33 am:   

Will do. The downtown office building got flooded through tunnels leading to Charity Hospital, and the water pressure in the building went wonky so that for a couple of weeks every toilet on the first three floors continuously overflowed (like something out of a Jules Duchon book, I tell ya). Anyway, I haven't been reachable at the old work number since late August. The State has graciously provided us with a temporary new office space just off the railroad tracks in a warehouse district in Metairie; I'm sitting at a table staring at my computer monitor and a wall, elbow to elbow with a room full of clerks. The new office space reminds me of the main character's workplace in Being John Malkovich. And I used to complain about my office at the old State Office Building. . . at least it had a window. . . boy, do I miss it now!
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 09:02 am:   

Sounds like Kafkaville. :-)
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Minz
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 10:32 am:   

I've got to say that Shatner has been chewing up the scenery on ABC's Boston Legal, and I have been friggin LOVING IT. He and Spader are having so much fun on that show it shouldn't be legal. It's on Tuesday nights at 10p eastern on ABC. Check it out. I kid you not, it's one of the funniest hours on television. It has some of the absurdity of Arrested Development, but doesn't rely on a narrator to pull it off, merely plot & events and well delivered lines. I'm not sure how much longer they'll be able to keep it up. Highlights include Shatner's character claiming he doesn't have early stage alzheimers or some such, but rather it's Mad Cow Disease (which came out because they were suing a town on hehalf of a steakhouse in order to lift a township ban on red meat.) When he's forced to defend child molester/killer, and he shoots the guy while talking in a holding cell. In another ep, a jr partner ends up hacking off the fingers of a priest accidentally, and then they use one of his fingers to blackmail the priest into breaking confessional to rescue a kidnapped child. Yes, at it's core, it's a smaltzy drama with heart, but it's friggin hilarious. Shatner more than deserved his Emmy for his work in this (okay, it's an Emmy, still...) I was leery of this show at first, having never been a Shatner fan, nor much of a Spader fan, but this show is seriously entertaining (or I'm just some sleep-deprived dad who'll laugh at anything when he finally gets a chance to relax at ten at night).
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 01:30 pm:   

"I!.... I! .... I am! .... I am Denny Crane! I! ....I am....Kurok! No wait! Where's that priest finger? Bones!"

(Never seen the show, actually, but the ads make it sound like it's quite a farce. And quite a departure from the original SERIOUS show it spun off from, The Practice.)
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 02:36 pm:   

David Kelley knows no end when it comes to absurd storylines. But Shatner and Spader keep a straight face and make it believable while maintaining entertainment.

"I think I have an erection." Not an easy line to pull off but Shatner delivers it convincingly.

Shatner starred in Incubus, a film in Esperanto, back in the mid 60s. It's a bizarre film and a captivating look at the early Shatner before he became "SHATNER".
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 06:58 am:   

I think it's tough to beat William Shatner for pure, unadulterated entertainment value. Plus, I, like most Americans, love a great late-career revival. I mean, look at the national outpouring of affection for George Foreman when he came out of retirement a while back and started fighting again. If he'd been a complete tomato can, of course, he would've been quickly forgotten after five minutes of renewed attention, but the fact that he was able to be at least somewhat credible in those late-career fights opened the door for his true avocation. . . selling George Foreman Grills.

By the way, does anybody think Shatner would've been cast in Boston Legal if he hadn't have gotten people to sit up and take notice of him in all those Price Line commercials?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 07:26 am:   

Yeah, but I think playing himself in Free Enterprise really served a career boost -- he got a lot of industry play from that movie.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 07:30 am:   

Hrmm. . . never heard of Free Enterprise. . . sounds like something up my alley (and my wife's). . . any chance you might share a few details???
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 07:42 am:   

It's a pretty funny movie. These two young hustlers (one of whom is having Logan's Run flashbacks in his head) are trying to peddle a movie called Bradykiller about a serialist who's stalking Marsha Brady, and they get involved with Shatner, who's trying to get interest in a rap version of Julius Ceasar in which he plays all the parts. It was Shatner's willingness to parody himself that sparked a renewed industry interest in him.
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 03:48 pm:   

That rap is a classic as are a few tunes he recorded all those years ago. Forget the plagiarist.

Shatner had a new release last year which had a couple of interesting tunes.

And maybe it's just me but Logan's Run is somewhat cheesy and dated but a rather fine film for sf.

Free Enterprise...one of us!

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