- animation powers: mightier than a 25 foot gorilla
It's Christmas Eve! Folks are scrambling to finish their shopping, kitchen's are going full steam baking cookies and I've decided now would be an excellent time to give me review/thoughts on Peter Jackson's King Kong.
Clocking in at 3 hours Kong is nothing if not a long film. Now my bladder is the size of a pea, which causes me great anxiety when going to see long movies. The fact that I never went, nor needed to pee once, is a good sign for the film. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. It was after the movie, looking back at the film, that I realized how much better the film could have been and where it was lacking.
Some spoilers ahead so beware hobbits.....
The set up for the film, in my opinion, was great..I really enjoyed it. Some folks I went with found it rather boring and just wanted to get to the island and see some huge animal fights. But for me, I enjoyed the way they introduced the characters and set into motion how they all ended up on this boat which would land them on Skull Island.
In fact from a character/story point of view, the arrival on Skull Island is the problem. Leading up to this point we are introduced to a variety of characters. Not just the main characters mind you but some secondary ones as well...ie Hayes and Jimmy two members of the crew. However once on Skull Island, character development stops and it turns into Jurassic Park....running, screaming, dieing. There is nothing wrong with that, we want to see Kong bringing the pain to some T-rexs, but looking back it's like two different movies. In fact once they subdue Kong, to being him back to NY, there is a time cut...bam we are back in NY. I would have liked to see what the journey back was like. What are these characters feeling now? We know how they felt on the journey to Skull Island but how about now? A missed chanced to get back to character development and motivation, this would have made the film stronger (and longer) But, as the film is we have a strong character set up which basically goes no where. Shall I explain...yes I shall..
Carl Denham (Jack Black): When the film begins he is a wild eccentric, a little bit of a jerk but still likeable. He is probably the only human character with a clear arc because by the end of the film is still a wild eccentric, totally a jerk and is not likeable at all. Many times I wanted him to be stepped on.
Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts): At the beginning of the film we see her longing for film career, kind of down on her luck and has apparently been burned by love many a time. By film's end she has no film career, still seems down on her luck and has witnessed Kongs death, for whom she felt some affection.
Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody): He basicaly gets conned into coming along on the voyage, but really really wants to get back to his play. Falls for the lovely Ann. Battles the many dangers of Skull Island to find Ann. Writes a play for Ann when he gets back to NY. And when last we see him he is consoling dear Ann after Kong has died.
All three characters, while fun to watch, never really go anywhere beyond their initial set up in the film. Sure Jack falls for Ann mid movie or so but who wouldn't, she's beautiful, there was nothing to overcome here. Hell half the boat was probably in love with her.
Hayes and Jimmy (Evan Parke and Jamie Bell): Are secondary characters that needed to remain secondary like the ships captain or Lumpy. Time is spent showing the relationship between these two guys, but once Hayes dies and the gang sets sail back to NY we never see or hear about Jimmy again, so what was the point? Less screen time for these two, mostly pointless, characters would have also made for a shorter movie.
King Kong (Der Kaiser die Kong...yes he is German): The only character with a strong arc that you really care about. He's on an Island doing his giant monkey thing. The locals give up the usual offering but what's this....the little human is beautiful and can juggle...why...I've never seen such a thing. She makes him laugh when he never thought he'd laugh again. Is this love that I'm feeling? Giant reptiles wanting to snack on his girlfriend. My god defending her is a full time job! What's that smell? Chloroform? Hurt. Betrayed. Flashbulbs make him angry. Wait there is my love. I will protect her again. Keep her safe. Ah a sunset. Protects his love until the bitter end. Yes indeed. Kong is the king.
Ok if your still reading the bottom line is this: in my view, the film has weak character development but kiss ass Kong action...the latter is probably the reason most people are going to see it anyway.