Thursday, December 15, 2005

Naomi Watts is pretty

I fucking hate Peter Jackson, that fat sweaty mongoloid. As per usual, we've been over this before, but shit like this bears repeating. You know exactly what Jackson thinks of himself and his moviemaking ability just based on how fucking long his films are. He also thinks that if a film is three hours long, it's automatically epic and important.

So I obviously saw King Kong just recently. As per usual, this is more a bunch of general musings and a loose synopsis. I don't really give away any major plot points, unless if you count giving away the end. But if you don't know how this movie ends already, you don't know anything. Anyway, you've been warned. If you're a weenie (like me) who doesn't like anything being given away in advance lest it be totally ruined, just revisit this after you've seen the movie if you were really planning to.

As a prelude to this, I have not seen the original film (although I know some of the very basic elements of it), so as I was watching the movie I didn't know how well Jackson's version followed the original. Just so you don't think you're clever, I learned after watching the movie what the original was like and hence that a lot of these comments aren't quite valid; most of what follows are the thoughts I had as I was watching the film. You can't get it any more raw than this unless if you were there with me, and you weren't.

One thing I kept thinking was that Jackson couldn't make up his mind as to what film he wanted to do. Not that this is an excuse for it's length; he would have made it long no matter what. But you know how Hot Shots billed itself as "the mother of all movies" because it ripped on so many things? Well, I think Hot Shots has lost that title because Kong has surely taken it. Of course, whereas Hot Shots was ripping on other films, Kong is ripping from other films.

The movie starts out as a depression-era period piece on struggling Vaudeville and Broadway actors. Then it turns into a National Geographic special on freaky-ass African tribes (way beyond plates in their lips and FUCKED UP afros). Then it's Jurassic Park. Then it's a movie about Jane Goodall. Finally, after about four days of film (does this guy even do any editing?), Jackson decides what kind of film he wants to make: one about hot, hot woman-on-gigantic-ape action.

Ape, gorilla, whatever.

Before I continue, I was not aware of the nine-minute anal rape scene before watching this movie. And don't give me any shit; Naomi Watts may have said "yes," but once a 50-foot gorilla starts putting it in, it's fucking rape.

Rape aside though, Jackson does do one thing right, and that's make a powerful commentary on human-gorilla romantic and sexual relations. Just when you're getting to the good stuff (at least for one party), the fucking government steps in and starts shooting at you and blowing shit up. Bastards.

Again, as I said, I know now that the phases that the film went through were in parallel with the original King Kong. So you could say instead that the creators of the original were the ones who pre-emptively ripped off everything that I mentioned. But with how excessive Jackson is with everything, and how horribly he draws everything out, a lot of the thoughts are still applicable even if it's holding true to the original. Take for instance all of the dinosaur shit. Look, Peter, we've been there, we've done that. If you're gonna keep that in there, fine -- but we don't need that fucking much of it. I know this bit of advice, which is applicable to EVERYTHING YOU DO, is falling on deaf ears. Ears, of course, that went deaf from all that "cha-ching!" he's been hearing these past few years.

Yeah, excessive. There were so many times where I was thinking to myself "Okay, that's enough. I'm sick of this." We don't need another dinosaur fight. We don't need this one to start at the top of the cliff, then move down to the vines between the cliffs for another hour, then complete about a day later down at the bottom. Stop that!

Oh, and we get it -- scary creatures! Once they're exploring the island every fucking moment of this movie is dedicated to what creepy creature they're going to run into next that will give them problems. I know that this is a remote island filled with strange things, but I've gotta think that even the most infested places have a couple of spots that are unpopulated by something that wants to kill you. But no, not on Jackson's vision of Skull Island. We've got an effects budget, and fuck if we're not going to blow through all of it. Nevermind developing characters or story or anything, if there's always some kind of chaos, that makes a movie good.

Speaking of chaos, there are a lot of stylistic things that Jackson does that piss me off. Well, at least this is what Jackson is passing off as "style." One of the things I hated the most about the Lord of the Rings movies were the battle scenes. They were so hectic with so much shit going on that you couldn't follow what the hell was going on. Yes, I know, real battles can be like that, but it doesn't make for a good scene. But anyway, he follows this same bad pattern in Kong with some of the action sequences, so I continue to hate him for it. I paid to see this shit (well, today I didn't, but still), so I'd like to follow what's happening. Really, though, they could have just replaced some scenes in LOTR and Kong with some totally random shit being strewn about, and it would have been all the same.

Another thing, Peter: slow-motion does not automatically make something really dramatic or poignant. Don't do it if you don't need to, and rarely if ever did you need to in Kong. Oh, and don't have characters whispering stuff to each other that the audience can't hear if you're going to reveal what they're talking about six seconds later (the revelation coming in slow-mo, of course). That could be a good device to set up some suspense, but this wasn't something that was really suspenseful to begin with, and you fucked it up anyway by telling us the secret immediately.

The biggest element of Jackson's "style" that I hate, of course, is "long and drawn out." But of course, when I actually want him to explain something, when I really want him to go deeper, he doesn't. Riddle me this, fat man: once Kong is sedated, how the fuck did they get him back to New York? That wasn't exactly a big boat that they had. And I'm only guessing that they were able to keep him sedated on the way back, as well as once he was in New York, but we'll never know. I really shouldn't complain about this, though; had he covered these things I wouldn't be here right now to type this because I'd either still be in the theater or I would have slit my wrists already.

A comment on the special effects needs to be made. Some of them? Weren't that special. There were a lot that I was looking at, and I'm like, that's fake. I mean, I know it's fake, but when you're spending that kind of jack for FX, it's usually a bit more convincing. A lot of the FX were good, but at those prices (I don't know the exact figure, but it doesn't take a genius to know that they were high), they should all be good. There were a few other things that I can think of off the top of my head that were bullshit. After Kong falls to his death, from the top of the Empire State building, his lifeless body is surprisingly well intact on the street below. And then there's one point where Adrien Brody is flying around Manhattan in what I'm guessing is a Ford Model A, but he's outrunning Kong and maneuvering it like it's my car. No. Oh, and I'm no behavioral expert when it comes to dinosaurs, but I'm guessing that their reactions and motions during fighting aren't going to be just like humans. Or at least, that's how it came across to me. But at least one T-Rex no longer needs his Reach toothbrush now that he has a flip-top head.

Throughout the movie, there were three trains of thought that I was constantly on:
  1. Where's my jacket I wanna leave. I've been at this movie six years; I want to see other movies.
  2. When are they gonna get to the part where he climbs the Empire State building?
  3. Holy Christ Naomi Watts is hot.
So yeah, there's a second thing that he got right -- he at least had the decency to cast someone stunningly gorgeous for us to be looking at. Granted, there was no scene where we get to see her masturbate and it's not so much hot as depressing, but it was still a good call. For the better part of the film she's in a nightie and robe, running around barefoot. That was pretty nice. And I guess if I had to find a third thing that I liked, using the old-school graphics and fonts in the opening and closing credits was a nice homage to the original film. Thinking about it, though, with how long Jackson's Kong is, I wouldn't be surprised if he started it at the same time as the people who made the original in 1933.

One more thing I liked about seeing Kong was something that the makers of Kong had nothing to do with. I saw a preview for a movie coming out next year with Denzel Washington and total bad-ass Clive Owen called Inside Man (I believe). Movie previews and commercials are the most god-awful fucking things, but at least for once I got something useful out of all that nonsense.

The thing is, Jackson's King Kong wasn't a horrid movie. It would have been decently good if it wasn't so goddamn long and another crucial part of Jackson's Master Self Aggrandizement Plan. Dude, hit the cutting room from time to time, and I hopefully won't be complaining as much. Or at least, I can get out of the theater before cockroaches are extinct. An hour-and-a-half, and this movie would have been pretty solid. Over three hours, it's Peter Jackson, and we know what that means to me.

Okay, so let's do the list:

Style points, drawing things out: -100
Style points, exaggerating everything: -50 (I'm feeling generous)
Other excesses: -10
Peter Jackson: -1000
Jack Black, who I've never particularly liked: -5
Jack Black, being somewhat tolerable despite above: +1
Naomi Watts: +100 (god, she's hot)
German guns: +1
Slow-mo: -1
All that money on effects, and you give me this weak-ass shit?: -5
Misc. Bullshit: -10
Inside Man preview: +1
One point detracted for every minute of the film: -187

So we have a total of... -1265. That's the worst I've ever rated anything, and it was pretty much all on the weakness of Peter Jackson. Take him out of the equation (making sure to do it Speed style by fucking killing him), and this movie fares much, much better.

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