It Rhymes with “Long”

KingkongI saw King Kong last night at the Ziegfeld. A very, very enjoyable movie all around but it won’t make my Top Ten. Some bullet points:

• If Naomi Watts isn’t considered a superstar yet, she will be after this. She knocked this role out of the park, easily the best thing in the movie.

• Adrien Brody, not so much.

• Kudos to all the effort that went into Kong, the character. It’s maybe not on a Gollum level of empathy, but it’s pretty darn close.

• Jack Black keeps his Jack Black-isms in check and only does a minimum of eyebrow raising and going wild.

• The action scenes are insane. The hour-plus spent on Skull Island is relentless. For once, the trailers haven’t given the best bits away. I’m not going to spoil anything, but lets just say those with extreme bug phobias may want to think twice about going.

• Relentless isn’t necessarily a good thing. The action just keeps going and going and going. Just when you think it’s the climax… there’s more!

• That said, the "more" is where it gets really good. When you think it should be over, the action goes over a cliff and gets stuck in some vines… this is something we’ve never seen before. It is very cool.

• And then, past that relentless CGI thrill ride comes the scariest bit set against a eerie, quiet score that makes it much creepier and scarier than if it had been set to a typical suspense or action soundtrack. The whole audience was audibly freaking out.

• At three hours, the whole damn thing is too long, for that matter. This coulda been an awesome two-hour movie. And you know there’s going to be an even longer version on DVD.

• A movie like King Kong is all about suspension of disbelief, but some questions: How long can a woman run for her life in the jungle while barefoot and not get her feet torn to shreds? If you’re being held by a giant gorilla while he’s fighting three Tyrannosaurus Rexes, wouldn’t you at least get a mild case of whiplash? If it’s Christmastime and you’re on the Top of the Empire State Building wearing only a spaghetti-strap dress, wouldn’t you at least shiver a little? (It is cold on top of the Empire State Building in July.)

• Best place to eat post-Ziegfeld is Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meridian Hotel.  We dashed out of the theater in case other theater-goers might’ve had the same idea. A smart move on our part, as it got jam-packed about ten minutes after we arrived. Even when that place is slammed, the staff is always friendly and the burgers are always cooked to order. Maybe it’s the wood paneling, maybe it’s the ’80s rock music, maybe it’s the consistently great burgers, but I never see anyone in there having a bad time.

• Who cares what I think? You know you’re going to go see King Kong. Just take it easy on the fluids beforehand and go to a theater with the most legroom possible, ’cause your knees are going to feel it.

4 Comments

  1. 1) I freakin love Burger Joint. I was bummed when I found out that place at Scenic wasn't somehow associated. Their mini-burgers are not as good.
    2) Did you see that feature on the dvd of the original King Kong where Peter Jackson and his team recreate the lost footage from the original film just for kicks, i.e., not for the remake? That is dedication.

  2. hungover on sunday afternoon, i napped through the first hour of the movie and woke up in time for the jungle action. I didn't feel deprived or confused, so two thumbs up for hours 2&3.

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