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Thread: Kong

  1. #1
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    Default Kong

    Lowering the tone momentarily, was anyone else shocked at quite how awful Kong was?

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    For such a long film its characters really were paper thin. Infact there are so many things I disliked about this film I don't even know where to start.

    The main problem is the hype that surrounds it. In terms of artistic value, I would put it on a level with something like Mr &Mrs Smith, but for some reason many people take Kong more seriously. There are reviews raving about its emotional content and so-forth, which raised my expectations of the film, only for me to shocked at how bad it was. Mr & Mrs Smith, on the other hand, was just something I could turn off my brain and enjoy.

    Interested to see what other Dissensians think of it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mind_philip
    Lowering the tone momentarily, was anyone else shocked at quite how awful Kong was?
    it wasn't up to the standard set by lord of the rings, put it that way. more in the mould of your typical blockbuster. but you expect more from peter jackson, don't you?

    i found the cgi really hard to focus on when i saw it in the cinema too. there seemed to be so much packed in that it just washed over my eyeballs.

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    You are WRONG. Not only a return to form after the uberboring Tolkien trilogy but King Kong is Peter Jackson best film, ever.
    If you don't feel why, your loss.

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    There's this guy on IMDB who writes weird cryptic comments. He is obsessed with self-reference and draws no boundary between characters, viewers, the movie and the outside world. He liked the movie a lot, here's the link:

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0360717/usercomments-1409

  6. #6
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    it was good in the sense that it was almost scientific way, its so full of mnemoic emotional hooks, sights and sounds and cinematic triggers that its almost like a funfair or overloaded psychedelic experience than anything else.
    in someways i hope cinema can get more like this but in a less cliched artful manner.

    As for the narrative, it was completley ridiculous, and the jack black character is totally ambivalent, are we supposed to like him , is he a brave man or a figure of hate or fun, he strikes me as the bastard of the piece but he never gets punished, he gets the last line which is a really odd way to end the film.
    There seemed to be attempts at some kind of subtexts but they were so flimsy that they were laughable. the main narrative was about an interspecies love affair really.

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    it was too long. after 3 hours i didn't give a fuck, i just wanted it to end. since when did studios allow cinema releases of this length? lord of the rings?

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    The whole film was visually bland, the characters hugely unappealing, and the CGI tedious (seeing a human perform outrageous stunts has some defamiliarising impact, watching a monkey jump around it's just, well, a monkey).

    The biggest turd jostling in the bowl though had to be that repeated sunset scene where we are supposed to tear up at their burgeoning relationship, but where I half expected a gruff-voiced Kong to attempt to say the word 'beau-ti-ful' to comic effect.

    Contrast this bloated stinker to 'War of the Worlds' which I also expected to hate, but found to be taut and full of great photography.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mind_philip
    The whole film was visually bland, the characters hugely unappealing, and the CGI tedious (seeing a human perform outrageous stunts has some defamiliarising impact, watching a monkey jump around it's just, well, a monkey).

    The biggest turd jostling in the bowl though had to be that repeated sunset scene where we are supposed to tear up at their burgeoning relationship, but where I half expected a gruff-voiced Kong to attempt to say the word 'beau-ti-ful' to comic effect.

    Contrast this bloated stinker to 'War of the Worlds' which I also expected to hate, but found to be taut and full of great photography.
    war of the worlds was curiously unsatisfying too. the problem with that film is that it lost its pace half way through. the scene with tim robbins just went on for ages and then its all over. there was this feeling of lots of things going on, but you didn't get to see them. the original is much better imo.

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    I agree, WoW wasn't great, but in terms of unnecessary remakes, it's first hour basically justified the effort. With Kong, I found absolutely nothing to enjoy in it at all.

  11. #11
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    Default Kong is King

    As an occasionally genius but otherwise latently schizophrenic and really quite tragic friend of mine remarked: "You may try to derive all sorts of imaginary meanings out of it, but it's just a fairytale of a huge ape, and a silly one at that". Now, one can always sneer with the cynics, which I often do, or one can choose to embrace and investigate the illusion.

    I liked that beast. I appreciated its being-in-the-world, as opposed to the being-in-front-of-it (and here's what I mean by that) which Jackson unmistakenly attributes to just about every human creature in the movie. What hooked me was the theme of "Savageness"/Otherness being abducted from its context and pulled into the self-oiling cultural machinery of a panicked civilisation. What in the beginning of the film appears to be one man's hubris, is later transformed, through the immense popularity of the Kong show in the last act of the movie, into a much broader allegory: the civilised world not only revels in the exoticism of the Other; it reaffirms itself in the face of savageness it purports to have laid behind, while enjoying, in the velour-clad theatre seats, the illusion of the stability and superiority of its own solutions, schemes and order.

    Except savageness runs in our veins, and human progress as opposed to the stasis of nature is an illusion prey to temporary resources, limited sustainability and, some say, finite human ingenuity. And since that depression one century ago only foreshadowed a crisis closely impending, much more permanent and shattering, so is our need for an elaborate distraction/affirmation increasing. That's why Kong, offering sentimental entertainment on the theme of a dislocated Nature, while at the same time commenting on the ideology and the very impulse that drives us to create and consume that sort of stuff, is one of those movies that, unlike the Ring trilogy, seems to be the right film to make at the right time. Not that a movie ever makes any difference.

    Of course there were problems with the overall structure, what with the overblown mid-section overcrowded with fanciful bestiaries (those CGI guys just don't know where to stop) and the indigenous tribe sequences of whose point I remain uncertain. All characterisations except for Kong and Naomi Watts' character remained sketchy - albeit I think there's a reason for that - and quite a few scenes and dialogues were plain stupid. But in spite of the indulgent script and the CGI tedia, the director keeps a steady course and the storytelling is quite masterfully done; I only wish Jackson didn't abandon the aphoristic style and image economy that mark both New York sections of the film as soon as he got on that boat.

    As for Jackson's endings: I was appalled to see Naomi Watts fall into Adrien Brody's lizzardly arms. I hoped for her to gather up and jump into that abyss. But how did you guys feel about the way the Ring trilogy ended: with the cute little cottage sheltering a hobbit's family idyll and its heavy wooden door closing on us. Cheeky way to round off the damn thing.
    Last edited by nick(s)kin; 03-01-2006 at 04:43 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick(s)kin
    As for Jackson's endings: I was appalled to see Naomi Watts fall into Adrien Brody's lizzardly arms.
    he reminds me of rodney trotter for some reason. sort of spoils the illusion.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mms
    As for the narrative, it was completley ridiculous [...]
    You mean, you went to see a movie about an ape 5 storeys tall and were expecting something entirely serious?

    Quote Originally Posted by mms
    and the jack black character is totally ambivalent, are we supposed to like him, is he a brave man or a figure of hate or fun, he strikes me as the bastard of the piece but he never gets punished, he gets the last line which is a really odd way to end the film.
    I have to say, I thought his character was by far the strongest in the film, and it's certainly refreshing to see a relatively 3-dimensional character - one that inspires totally contradictory responses in the viewer. I think, yes, he is brave, and visionary, but also totally ridiculous, and single-minded and mercenary.

    One of my favourite bits was when he's pouring over the smashed camera, running the tangled film reel thru his fingers. The look on his face is just priceless - this idea that 'the camera never lies', that having the life of the island captured on celluloid represents irrefutible proof of its existence. And at the same time, we're watching something of which not a single frame is trustworthy. I think the movie is full of little details like that, and I'll probably need to see it a few times before they all come tumbling out.

    I think Jackson's written a love letter to the movies. He's quite vocal about the impact that the original King Kong had on him as a young boy. It's about escapism, spectacle, illusion - we, as an audience, thrill to the illusion of danger, but only rarely give thought to the reality that lies behind that facade.

    I also love the fact that Jack Black's character has previously made only travelogues (which, incidentally, was true of the original film's directors) - I think the movie does a great job of capturing that period, and the emergence of cinema as a narrative medium.

    That said, it's more than a little self-indulgent when it comes to running time - I'm not sure we really needed all those set pieces in the middle section of the film. And I agree with bassnation about some of the CGI work being a bit too overwhelming - tho I'm prepared to put that down to age

    It's not the best movie ever made obviously and I don't think it's even Peter Jackon's best film (I think I'll always have a softer spot for Beautiful Creatures) - but if only big blockbusters were always made with this much love and attention to detail...

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    i thought kong himself was the most endearing, interesting, complex character there. everyone else revealed everything interesting about themselves before they reached skull island.

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    Didn't like the slo-mo handycam-style shots toward the start - incongruous with the rest of the camera work.

    Kong himself was great.

    Too long and entertaining (over stimulation?).

    Enjoyable!

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