Eve Of The War

King Kong
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Author:  Alland [ Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:32 am ]
Post subject:  King Kong

Well, the remake of King Kong has finally appeared in theatres here in the States, and I treated myself to a Christmas afternoon viewing. Here are my thoughts on the film:

Special Effects: TERRIFIC! Computer generation-creation of dinosaurs by Hollywood is no longer a monopoly of Spielburg and the "Jurassic Park" franchise. Even before the monsters start appearing, the final approach to Skull Island takes place in the fog and at night, and the Venture's nighttime arrival scene is a classic in the creepy-film scene department.

Shortly after the rescue party lands to save the kidnapped Ann Darrow (and the initial meeting with the natives is less friendly than in the original novel and movie version), they discover that the island is inhabited by dinosaurs as well as a giant gorilla, and find themselves getting involved in the attack by a raptor pack on a herd of sauropods. Enough said. Anything more would spoil it. All I'll add is this: what follows is a candidate for the most exciting scene of the film, far more so than Kong's final fight with the biplanes (yes, that scene was kept in the new version). If you have the urge to go to the restroom or for refreshments, make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you do so before the rescue party lands. DO NOT RISK MISSING THIS SCENE!

There are far more creatures shown in this version than the original one, and the men-on-the-log-bridge scene and the Kong/carnosaur fight are thrillingly reproduced, as well as the Kong/winged monster scene at the top of the mountain that gives Driscoll his chance to rescue Ann. Be warned, though, that there are changes from the original. Whether you think this improves or reduces the impact of the scenes is up to the taste of the individual viewer. The crew of the Venture also is given a harder fight in the scene where Kong is finally captured (the expedition's body count is 17, as opposed to "only" 12 in the original film).

Characters: The new version of Carl Denham is a lot slimier than Robert Armstrong's original never-say-die hustler. You might say the new guy (can't remember his name at the moment) is as much the unsympathetic loser as Tom Cruise is in the new version of "War of the Worlds". The new version of Jack Driscoll is also a lot less manly than Bruce Cabot's was, and he portrays a screenwriter and playwright instead of the first mate of the Venture. Naomi Watts makes a great Ann Darrow by way of compensation, and we see some early scenes of her as a struggling actress before the apple-grabbing incident where she meets Denham. Be warned, though, that she winds up as far more sympathetic to Kong than Fay Wray's character was, and oh, what she does after capture to persuade him not to eat her! (No, I'm not going to reveal THAT, either! It's for your own good, so the scenes won't be spoiled before you see them. You can thank me later.)

As for the other characters, it might interest you that in this version, we have a Captain Englehorn with a European accent (I have a paperback copy of the original novel, where Englehorn was a Dutchman.). Aside from carrying freight, he and his men make a living capturing wild animals for zoos, circuses, and private collectors. There is a humorous scene after the ship's departure when it is revealed that there aren't enough staterooms for all the passengers. Driscoll (who was virtually shanghaied at the last minute by a classically-conniving Denham) discovers that his new home away from home is a hold filled with empty cages, where he not only lives, but also writes script changes for Denham. The hold also has a large stock of bottles filled with chloroform, which is how they capture Kong in the end.

Driscoll's old first mate slot is now taken by a black actor, and the rest of the crew includes a very-young Jimmy (who was the original bearer of gas bombs in the first film version). They even kept the Chinese cook, for those boss men out there who likee racial stereotypes with broken English. (You likee racial stereotypes with broken English, boss man? If so, then you likee this version for sure.)

Scene and Plot Chances: I won't detail every single change from the original, but I WILL let on that when Kong escapes in New York, the ground troops of the US Army get involved---World War I-style uniforms and tin hats and all---before the planes show up. In the final scene, there are also SIX biplanes involved in the attack instead of the four from the first movie; I guess the new CG Kong looked so formidable that they decided to call for reinforcements. I also won't mention the casualty rate; another thing to look forward to.

In this version, Denham has never heard of Kong. All he knows is that there is an unknown island out there with mysterious ruins: the perfect place to shoot his movie. He spies on his backers with an interesting trick you have to see to believe, finds out they're going to confiscate the wildlife footage he's already shot and sell it as stock footage to recoup what they believe will be the losses from his latest film, and flees New York with his cast and crew literally one jump ahead of the police. The film's former backers apparently launch a worldwide manhunt to find him; right before raising Skull Island, the Venture's radio operator picks up a broadcast stating that there's a warrant out for his arrest, and they raise the island just as Englehorn is about to turn back and turn him in.


Denham: "Captain, I've risked everything I own!"

Englehorn: "No, you've risked everything I own."

I have to say that the movie gives an excellent impression of life in New York City during the early 1930s. Scenes of the glitter of Broadway and similar spots are interspersed with reminders of the Great Depression, such as breadlines and poor people living in shantytowns, all of this being shown while Al Jolson sings "I'm Sitting On Top of the World" in the background. As a final touch of trivia, when the captured Kong is displayed in the theatre, the band plays the same native sacrifice music that was first played in the original film.

Is this movie better than the original? In some ways, such as special effects, yes. In other ways, no. Comparing these two versions is, in a way, like comparing apples and oranges. Each has its own charm. Watch and enjoy. The movie's long (three hours and seven minutes, making it exactly one hour longer than the original "Jurassic Park"), but sitting through it will NOT be tedious, I assure you.

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:33 pm ]
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=D> Good review 'Alland' =D> It's always a risk doing a remake of a great classic and I'm sure Peter Jackson is one of the few who could do it without screwing it up :D

Author:  eveofthewar [ Wed Dec 28, 2005 12:21 pm ]
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Just a short review from me.... IT'S FANTASTIC!

There is a scene with Kong fighting 3 dinosaurs and it's just amazing.

My girlfriend and I loved it, can't wait to see the DVD version of it :mrgreen:

Author:  Alland [ Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:25 am ]
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The artists and other designers for the film created a huge menagerie of creatures for Skull Island, only a handful of which actually appear in the film. By way of compensation (and so they can make money off of ALL the stuff they designed), the entire collection is on display in the new book "The World of Kong" (Pocket Books; 2005; introduction by Peter Jackson), which assumes that later explorers arrive to examine every environment on the island and its inhabitants. Terrific artwork.

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:21 pm ]
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I have just seen 'Kong' It was a brilliant, action packed three hours, One of the best films I have ever seen, When the T'Rexs attack I was sat there and suddenly realised I had my mouth open with amazement, something I haven't done since I was a kid. if you haven't seen it yet, go before it's too late, it won't be half as good on DVD as it is on the big screen.

Author:  Loz [ Sat Jan 28, 2006 11:51 pm ]
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Jus seen KK with my lady and we loved it. The origional is one of my favourite films and so is this. Very impressive. I think Jackson has taken Speilbergs mantle of Uber Fantasy Film Maker.

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Sun Jan 29, 2006 10:34 pm ]
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Can't argue with you there.

Author:  Loz [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:29 pm ]
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But you can here ->

Author:  Gone for a BURTON [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:55 pm ]
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I too think Kong is an awesome remake. Jackson again has shown his genius by allowing us to really empathise with the monkey (can you call it a monkey, discuss.........) Similarly to Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I think Andy Serkis should take alot of credit again for his bringing Kong to life in such a realistic way as he did Gollum. Oh and by far and away his 'real life' character had the most wicked death I have ever seen in a movie (the giant grub like snakes). Something I believe he thought up and requested himself!!! I actually felt physically sick watching it!!

I would really love to see Jackson tackle similar projects like Godzilla as the recent remake was awful, and 20,000 leagues under the sea. A Jackson remake of Jason and the Argonauts would be amazing. Oh hang on I'm really getting into this. I think I'll start a new thread.......

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:15 pm ]
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There was an interview with Andy Serkis on CH4 when Kong was released and he said he spent so much time on his knuckles playing KK his Doctor thinks he may have done permanent damage to them, that is a dedicated actor. but a great performance.

Author:  Loz [ Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:55 am ]
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You can call him a Monkey but you'd be incorrect in doing so. Kong is a giant Gorrila and Gorillas are apes. Monkey's have tails and are lower down the evolutionary ladder. Chimps,Orang-utans, Gorrillas, Humans are all apes.

A remake of jason and The A's would be fantastic in Peter's hands. Hoppe he does it. Or Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

Author:  Alland [ Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:23 am ]
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Well, the Academy Awards are in, and "King Kong" won three awards (Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and another sound-related category I can't think of at the moment): exactly as many as Hollywood's much-touted "Breakback Mountain". So it didn't win Best Picture; neither did "BM". I read this in the paper the next day, of course; who in their right mind would actually WATCH any Hollywood award shows live on TV?

Author:  Loz [ Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:37 am ]
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what are the Academy Awards? Are they like the Baftas? :-k

Author:  Alland [ Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:03 am ]
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The Academy Awards are some sort of movie awards. I don't know why we bother with them, because we've got a BUNCH of award shows: the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the People's Choice Awards, and the Oscars (supposedly the biggest and best of all). I never bothered watching any of them myself; I learned about the "King Kong" awards by reading the paper the day after the awards show. Basically, they're just an excuse for the Hollywood glitteratti to show themselves off in public and on network TV.

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:38 pm ]
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There are so many award shows now, they will soon be giving an award for the best award show..... :-s Or maybe they already do :-k

Author:  Loz [ Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:10 pm ]
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I think I heard of the Oscar. He was in tthe Six Million Dollar Man.

Author:  Alland [ Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:07 am ]
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Funny you should mention that. An award would be made of rare and precious materials, right? And the Oscar is shaped like a man. Well, in the series you mentioned (and "The Bionic Woman" as well), the last name of the character you mentioned is "Goldman". What a coincidence...

Author:  Loz [ Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:26 am ]
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Hmm! :roll:

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:28 pm ]
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Loz wrote:
Hmm! :roll:

Well at least try to contain your excitement :lol:

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