December 15, 2005

King Kong (2005, dir. Jackson)

It's pretty good. What are the cons? It IS too long (there needed to be some from the middle cut out), some of the effects are actually surprisingly bad (closeup greenscreen shots are particularly bad, and while it certainly looks glamourous on ground level, their recreation of New York looks awfully alot like an animated Sin City model - granted a really nicely animated one), the score is... meh. I'm sure it's because the guy had very little time for it, but I couldn't identify a great memorable theme.

I also didn't really feel this relationship between Watts and Kong until the Empire State scene. Actually, no, the scene before it when they're on the ice. That scene was quite touching and beautifully done - but, again, it looked like something from The Polar Express. Also, there is an action sequence on the island involving a stampede of dinosaurs that actually made me laugh. Most of these characters are somehow avoiding being crushed while many many many giant dinosaurs charge through them - and some of them barely get touched. It's a great action scene, but it felt poorly conceived.

But, still, (most of) the action scenes are extremely well done. The dino vs. kong fight is probably the best one. Loved the bit where all of the players are trapped in vines and are swinging procariously near one another. Also, the log crossing scene - probably the best in the original - is equally as exciting here. The constant insect scenes however are utterly pointless, except as a way to exterminate some more supporting characters. The performances for the most part are great (Jack Black is oh so right in some scenes, but a little off in others), the New York scenes have that great sepia-like glow to them and look fantastic. The sets are wonderful. The scenes in the jungle look fabulous. So, yeah, pretty good. B

In terms of Oscar I can sort of see how it could go Picture/Director, but i dunno... that seems like a bit of a stretch. All the of big epics that get nominated have something extra that I personally think was missing from here. And Naomi Watts is good and all, but for a while she doesn't really have ANYTHING to do. Technicals should be easy gets and even wins. But i dunno... i don't think it would sit right with me to see Kong up for Best Picture.

And because I just know you've all been waiting for this movie review... here it is...

House of Wax (2005, dir. Collet-Serra) - For a Horror movie, it's pretty good. It's definitely above average! There's some really good gore in here (if you're a gorehound this is probably your best bet from 2005 methinks) and there are actually some scares (and not just of the "boo machine" variety). I was legitimately surprised by how gory they made this. It so easily could have been a lame PG-13 movie but instead we get fingers being cut off, poles through heads, decapitations, arrow-shootings, scissor-cutting of an achiles heal, faces being peeled off and some good ol' fashion stabbings. The special effects in this movie are truly impressive (the melting house is quite a feat).

However, this is one of those movies where you can nitpick at a lot of things. Why does Elisha Cuthbert's singlet-top suddenly turn into a size 2? Why are they running UPSTAIRS IN A MELTING HOUSE? Why did they make Paris Hilton pregnant? lol@that last one. The movie also didn't really have that sense of dread that I really like in horror movies. The feeling I got during Wolf Creek, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead for recent examples. It's one where you WANT the characters to be killed. I know a horror movie's worked when I want them to survive. Here I was like "when does Paris die!!!"

But, still, it was sort of fun! And it looks fantastic and is purely some good ol' violent horror. What's wrong with that? B-


adam k. said...

Yeah, agreed that the effects in Kong looked kind of bad, at least in the trailer. And it probably is too long.

I've always thought, maybe art direction, sound, sound editing, visual effects. If it's really too long, then film editing is probably out. Pic, director, screenplay, actress, and score seem like real stretches here.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Have you seen it? "at least in the trailer" makes it sound like you haven't.

They don't look as good on the small screen, i'll give it that. But, on the big screen some parts just didn't look good. Even Ebert acknowledged this in his 4 star review (ANOTHER 4 star review)

And I wouldn't cut editing out. The action scenes are well cut. It's just that Jackson didn't know when to stop.

I wouldn't place it any further on my own personal awards than the technicals.