29 December 2005

King Kong: worst movie of the year

okay, maybe not worst. But definitely worst out of the films I've seen this year, and I saw War of the Worlds. Which was bad. so in my first post back in a while, I just need to vent and rail against this unrepentantly primitivist—strike that, it's plain racist—boring, waaay too long (sageblue suggests half an hour, I suggest at least an hour and a half), and way too proud of itself. Yes, it's beautiful (to steal the only line of the film), and it shows that the director, cinematographer, and editor love the widescreen shape and composing things within it. so we get to pause on the ape's face for about 15 minutes of the total, and poor Naomi Watts gets to scream, cry, moon at the camera for another 20 or so, giving them some time to cut right there! see, it's not hard!

And yes, it's a remake, so we can forgive some of the Orientalizing/Primitivism/racism, but could he have played it a bit differently for the 2005 context? Oh, no, instead let's play it up, making the "natives" a cross between the infected people in 28 Days Later, images from 19th century freak shows, and Linda Blair in the excorcist, only very very black? I know Orientalism is cool these days, what with Peter's earlier use of the turban-wearer-riding-large-elephant-as-evildoer motif in the Rings trilogy, but this is way way over the top. And where do these folks go after the initial hour? a bit of a narrative hole there, no?

the writing could not have been worse, wasting the excellent acting ability of Naomi Watts (yes! beauty! beauty!), Adrian Brody, and even Jack Black, whom I enjoy and respect—comedy is hard, and he's good at it.

Sure, special effects, blah blah blah. really? do we have to be impressed by this anymore? didn't Lucas prove that special effects do not a decent movie make? or a bad movie save? the dinasour chase through the canyon was fun, for the first age and a half, until it turned into the endless Agent Smith fight from Matrix 2 and became utterly ludicrous. the bug/snake/centipede etc. thing was way way better in the Indiana Jones series, and they could write back then (snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?)

I'll close with this: the moral of the movie is that if you are a manly man you protect your womanly woman by fighting other manly men for her. So if anything redeems the film it's its support of patriarchy, which as my readers know, I'm so completely behind.

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