Week Two: #50 – King Kong

The Nitpicker Guide to the Movies

 

“See the films you love in a whole new way!”
 
After the phenomenal and well-deserved success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson could pretty much do whatever he wanted.  My theory is that nobody wanted to tell him that King Kong, his pet project, was running a little long. 
            From the unnecessary Jimmy-is-a-bad-boy subplot (that never goes anywhere) to the flat-out stupefying ice-skating scene (what else would you call it?  Ann and King Kong slide around on a pond for three minutes!) this movie is way too long.  As I reviewed the film I kept track of all the times where we sat through scenes that were cool and special-effecty yet did nothing to advance the plot.  You could cut out forty-five minutes of this film and not lose anything.  That’s one-quarter of the film that could be done without.  Shame on you, Pete!
                       
            -0:28:30    An official nit to warm us up: the radio operator’s left hand is on the earphones–shot changes–and his hand is off-screen.  Then it’s back again next shot!
            -0:45:40    We’ve watched the compass go screwy.  The first mate has reported no stars to check location.  Now the Venture ventures into a fogbank so thick you can’t see five yards in front of the ship.  Yet it takes more than a minute for the captain to reduce speed.  Full Stop, for the love of all that’s holy!!
            -0:48:06    Jimmy the Lookout stares at the oncoming wall for a good five seconds before he starts shouting about it.  Maybe they should have posted a better lookout! 
            -0:48:25    Then again, the Captain stares dumbfounded at the wall for twenty seconds before he does anything.  This wall must be really mesmerizing!  (Or this crew sucks!)
            -1:20:21   “Welcome…to Mesozoic Park.”  It is never even remotely explained why this island has giant gorillas.  And dinosaurs.  And bugs.  And vampire bats.  And spiders.  Honestly–everything on this godforsaken island is huge, except the local human natives!  What gives?
            -1:45:20    A full-fledged battle royale between King Kong and three (count ‘em) Tyrannosaurus Rexes.  It is truly amazing that in all the brouhaha, Ann doesn’t get even a little broken, much less seriously so.  (I know someone who broke a toe on a plastic laundry basket!) ((I want to give this the Will Award, but there’s something even worse.  Stay tuned.))
            -1:48:04    As Ann swings around between two dinosaurs and a raging giant gorilla, I can’t help but wonder at the strength of the flimsy underthings that she has been wearing all day.  Not a rip, not a popped seam–1930s silk had some chutzpah! 
            -2:11:51    Angry giant Kong breaks through the massive gate, and the men who want to capture him are kind enough to give him a moment to compose himself.  Guys, we’re trying to capture a giant gorilla.  Why are we sitting around for nine whole seconds???
            -2:13:20    Ann has been running through the jungle, across a splintery bridge, down some stone rock steps and now through a cave.  She’s barefoot.  Owie owie owie!
            -2:14:48    When the Captain fires the harpoon, there’s a rope is connected to it, but once fired, the rope disappears.  (From the harpoon and from the harpoon gun!  Magic rope!)
            -2:15:54    Ann watches the beast go down, looking like her world is coming to an end.  If it was one of the T-Rexes coming after them, would she be upset?  Of course not.  She would volunteer to fire the harpoon.  So what’s different?  She’s discovered the giant gorilla has a soul?  Kong ran off with her into the forest to make her his MySize Barbie plaything.  What is her deal?
            -2:17:55    “His name will be up in lights on Broadway!  Kong–the eighth wonder of the world!”  Fade to black.  Wait.  Even with a hundred guys and a dozen boats, which they don’t have, how in the name of all that is holy do they get the 8000 pound gorilla back to the ship? 
            -2:18:05    Or from the ship into the city?  Into the theater?
            -2:25:45    The ridiculous stage show goes on and Kong hunches in the background, oblivious to the world.  He drowns in his sorrow.  Wait, what?  The lights, the noise, the chains don’t matter because he’s lost his 5’5” Mattel toy?  Come on! 
            -2:35:12    King Kong flips the 1930s cab Jack is driving, the cab which has no safety devices to speak of.  Jack is knocked unconscious but in no other way injured.  They sure made guys tougher back then!
            -2:35:34    Kong rages through the city, finally catches Jack, turns and Ann is standing right there?  “Out of all the streets in New York, you had to drag your knuckles into mine…”
            -2:36:38    The Will Award!  I can’t stand it any longer!  The rampaging giant gorilla stops everything to stare in wonder at Ann Darrow.  This is a wild animal, in a completely unfamiliar environment, who has just pulled free from huge chains to escape his captors…but all he wants is to find her.  The Will Award goes to: the premise, the concept, the entire idea that this 8000 pound gorilla has fallen in love with a hundred-or-so pound female no larger than one of the bamboo shoots he eats for lunch. 
-2:44:33    Up the Empire State Building we go.  Ann is wearing a flimsy dress.  No coat, no gloves, no scarf, it’s winter in New York and she is out in the open air, over a thousand feet up.  You would think she’d be shivering just a wee bit…
-2:53:10    I don’t know about today, but in the 30s, the Empire State Building cleaning crew really knew their stuff!  Kong drops Ann onto the top of the tower.  The top of a skyscraper, and she’s wearing a pure white dress.  She gets onto her knees, chases Kong around, and the dress remains spotless.
            -2:57:04    “It wasn’t airplanes.  It was beauty killed the beast.”  Well, the 1,200 foot fall might have had something to do with it…
            There was a lot more to be found in King Kong, but we’re out of time.  Try www.slipups.com if you can’t stand the wait, or just come back here next Friday for…Armageddon!  (They put Ben Affleck into space–why didn’t they keep him there?)
 
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4 Responses to “Week Two: #50 – King Kong”

  1. John Turley Says:

    Great reviews. Keep it up!

  2. mark_cpa Says:

    Keep writing. I enjoyed your nitpicking.

  3. Garr Says:

    My father said that this wasn’t very good. I didn’t like the 80’s version, and thought that the first should have been left to history as a good use of special effects.
    I appreciate the time coding of the incidents, as it would help anyone who thinks this is among Peter Jacksons gems, to realize that all humans are fallible.
    Good job.

  4. Zac Says:

    Very nice Will! Next time I watch King Kong (which probably wont be for a while), I will look out for all of these! I look forward to Armageddon!

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