Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I had to see "KIng Kong" today. No, I wasn't forced, nor was I particularly compelled to. But I knew I had to see it as close to opening day as possible before the marketing gets even more crass and scenes/ads/tie-ins become inescapable.

The verdict? About as good as it could be, which is not the same thing as great. Really, the 1933 version had it all, and Peter Jackson is very faithful to the original, so all the new one can really offer is better effects. Some are great - Kong, the tri-dino struggle, the spider pit - some aren't (the stampeding dinos). The film should have been shorter, with either a little less emphasis on effects/cityscapes, or with more interaction between Naomi Watts and the ape (she and he are stellar, but anyone who saw her in "Mulholland Drive" or Andy Sirkis as Gollum knew the pair are capable of anything), and probably the latter. As it stands, too much introduced falls by the wayside (what happened to Jamie Bell?). Not surprising, considering the movie is called, after all, "King Kong," and not "Just More Than Minimally Fleshed Out Supporting Characters."

Oh, and Jack Black? About 13% miscast.

But I still love Peter Jackson for turning this thing around so quickly, and approaching the subject matter mostly with good taste, modestly and heart. It never feels like the first installment of a franchise or a mere summer movie, nor does it feel quite as portentous as the "Rings" trilogy.

The "Miami Vice" trailer looked pretty good, but I love Michael Mann. It looks like a continuation of a his late night hi-def obsession begun with "Ali" and continued to good result with "Collateral."


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