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Location: Oslo, Norway

I am Andreas. Day time programmer and technical consultant. Night time musician and game developer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Kong!

Saw King Kong yesterday. Meh.

It really hurts to say this. I really like Peter Jackson's work, he has an excellent eye for entertainment, and when he nails it he nails it. King Kong the game was bad ass. I was totally stoked to see the movie after that short but dense experience. King Kong the movie however is almost an exact opposite of the game. The game takes the best parts of the film, makes them even denser, and then plays that out over what is essentially a fairly short game. The movie takes maybe 45 minutes of awesome footage and spreads that out over more than 3 hours, interleaving it with melodrama and slowmo shots.

There are outstanding scenes in King Kong the movie, but there's just so much dead time it's easy to forget all about them. Both me and my girl were totally stoked to see it, and both left the theatre tired and a little put off.

The film's screenplay suffers immensely. Whenever there is not spectacle, and Naomi Watts has to say more than "Aieeee!", the writing falls flat. It speaks volumes that the best lines of the film are by Kong (who emotes more effectively than anyone in the cast). It doesnt help that the film CONSUMES characters. It creates a bunch, introduces them deftly, then completely discards them with no fanfare. The now infamous spider-pit scene (made far better by its restraint in the soundtrack department, THAT caught my eye more than any bugs) has a couple of guys croak that i didnt even realise were there. The most moving death of that entire scene is the guy that simply fell down and died. It doesnt help that the movie spends 2 hours acquainting you with the Venture's crew, only to forget about them completely once the movie goes back to New York (literally. They are never mentioned again). A potentially interesting plot point, capitalized on in the game, is the Skull Island natives, who make for a sinister presence throughout the game. In the movie, after an intense introduction, they are again completely forgotten and never discussed.

It's not a crap movie by any standard, and as a spectacle, well you probably won't ever see t-rexes get curbed in any other movie to come. It's just so long. It's hard to accept its campy creature-feature nature when it spends so much time with its characters delivering flat lines. There aren't even any memorable one-liners here, which leads me to believe the Ring trilogy and its lovely dialogue was far more Tolkien's work than the screenwriters have given credit for.

Final verdict? Hard to say. Disappointed? Kind of. Impressed? Very. Funny how that juxtaposition works out isn't it.

The thoughts i left the theatre with were basically these:

  1. There is no blood in the film at all, in spite of all the carnage.
  2. Cool ape, shame about the unrealistic girl. When are movies like this just going to understand that they're CG cartoons and that greenscreening people into them are what ruins the suspension of disbelief? We've flipped the coin, rear-projection effects looked fake and the people looked real. Now the people look fake and the CGI looks real. Strange stuff.
  3. What's up with the boring deaths? On a scale of 1-10 on the entertaining movie death scale, falling off cliffs, getting crushed and being swatted aside are all low ones, and that's pretty much 90% of the deaths in the film right there! Come on Peter, there better be more interesting footage on the DVD...

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