Wednesday, December 21, 2005

King Kong -What went wrong

(Picture courtesy: imdb.com)

Having watched at least three versions (including the 1933 black and white original) of King Kong and laughed over them, I decided I should watch Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong, if only to keep up with the cinematic regression of the great ape. Of course, the fact that elite box tickets in Sree were coming free helped.

I was forewarned to go after the interval, if I wanted to get the action and the ape. However, I quite enjoy period depictions on screen and I am among the group that swears by newsreel clips. The first half is cliched, nevertheless delightful. My companions though, who came to see the ape, went to sleep setting the alarm for an hour later. A tad lengthy, I must admit.
When King Kong did come up, give Jackson credit, he was the more believable version of the fantastic monster that moviedom created. And perhaps, most human. An old bag, greying and wheezy, but with a lot of fight left in him, I liked this guy the best. After all, if the bugger has been around since 1933, he should be an old bag, greying and wheezy, nevermind willing suspension of disbelief.

King Kong might have well be called King Kitsch, considering Jackson has not missed any opportunity to put every prehistoric predator ever known to man in his movie. I could identify the dinos, the drones and the wild bats, but there were a lot more molluscs, arthopods and sci-fi characters that are either killed by Kong or by the humans. These humans are part of a ship's crew and a movie crew that land up in a ghastly isle, inhabitated by prehistoric (?) tribes, King Kong and all creatures great and small. Kong, as we know, falls in love with the lead lady (An angelic-looking Naomi Watts) and dies, fighting to keep her, atop the Empire State Building.

What's different? Clearly the SFX is a class apart, particularly the scene where sailor-boy Jimmy narrowly misses falling off a cliff, pursued by dinos. Most of the humour is meant to be unlike the other versions where is it not meant to be. Rather endearing are the scenes where the former-vaudeville actress, Watts, tries to amuse the petulant great ape. Jackson, who has co-written the screenplay must be commended for the excellent characterisation of Carl Denham, the ne'er- say-die-entrepreneur-moviemaker.

But, there are parts of the movie that drag: the battle against the forces of nature is protracted and exasperatingly Tamil-cinema like. Though the humour is clever and intended, there are indeed parts of the movie that make you laugh without actually meaning to; sometimes the kitsch is so heavy you cannot but howl. Denham's closing punchline, "It was beauty that killed the beast" especially, makes you laugh hours later. It is likely to go down as the cheesiest closing line Hollywood has heard in a decade.

Somehow, the cumulative effect of tackiness, kitsh and cheese makes you want to say at the end of the movie, "King Kong, Ding Dong" as tears roll down your eyes and run down your laughing lips! If you don't like that you could say Sing Song or Ping Pong - just make sure it rhymes!

x

19 Comments:

Blogger Nanyaar? said...

Ha ha I havent seen the movie but you do make me laugh already.. while also telling that if one is a sentimental lot.. they are sure to have a tear

4:51 pm

 
Blogger IBH said...

:) i do accept that the movie islengthy but iguess if it is Peter Jackson then it is lengthy :)....LOTR was so long that it had to be in parts :)

coming back to this movie, as u said this was the best portrayal of the king himself..he was more human than the other ones..

i didnt realise till the end of the movie that Naomi Watts actually didnt have much dialogue in this movie...didya?

10:08 pm

 
Blogger Supremus said...

I so absolutely hatd this movie, and most of the movie had me laffing for all the wrong reaons lol - esp the dinosuars tumbling upon each other had me laffing for hours later!

I just hated king kong. Good revu on the movie!!

Cheers,
suyog

10:14 pm

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Akka,
I'm grinning like hell over here reading your review; in particular, the last para!
Super stuff!
:)

10:22 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ramya,
Between you and Suderman, you've made me curious enough to take a peek at the King...
Great review!
Shelob.

6:57 am

 
Blogger UD said...

not yet seen the movie.so how the movie.

10:01 am

 
Blogger Sriram said...

Movie is the that worstest-a?

2:33 am

 
Anonymous b a l a j i said...

I think it was PJ's dream to make Titanic, Jurassic Park, Bats, Spiders, Godzilla, King Kong original into one movie and made this one.

5:45 am

 
Blogger None said...

nanyaar?

go watch the movie. you'll be rolling! :)

cheers!

1:10 pm

 
Blogger None said...

IBH,

King Kong is so ubelievably tamil-cinema like. in many aspects. the under characterisation of the heroine is one essential part of a tamil movie, isnt it? angelic looking appendage, eh?

cheers!
ramya

1:11 pm

 
Blogger None said...

o yeah, supremus,

there was a lot of dino ass-kicking! and it was hilarious, when it was not gross, that is!

cheers!
ramya

1:12 pm

 
Blogger None said...

thambi!

hey, welcome, been a while eh? thanks! btw, this tsunami thing has every one here by their hair. so waiting for fist anniversary to be over so we can get someone to meet your friend!

cheers!
ramya

1:14 pm

 
Blogger None said...

shelob<

go girl, watch it!
btw, did ya get my mail? no one else seemed to have got my replies, so checking...

cheers
ramya!

1:15 pm

 
Blogger None said...

arun,

maan, I dont believe this?!!! did you read this post at all?

cheers!
ramya

1:16 pm

 
Blogger None said...

sriram,

there are some nice parts, but semma damasu! :)

cheers!
ramya

1:17 pm

 
Blogger None said...

b a l a j i

yeah, i think you are right!

cheers!
ramya

1:17 pm

 
Blogger unknown said...

nowadays am knowing most of the film stories from blogs only...
nice work...
fisrt time here:-)
reach me at my site

1:15 pm

 
Blogger None said...

ammu,

welcome! i too am comtemplating writing in tamil transliteration... are you happy with it now? do people have problems understanding the transliteration? i'm checking out before i launch...

and hey, do keep coming bak!
cheers!

10:15 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey
got mail,
have replied,
albeit late...(apologetic 'hi hi')
shelob.

1:08 pm

 

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