‘King Kong’ too long, but still solid
At 187 minutes, “King Kong” really does believe it’s the eighth wonder of the world.Had director Peter Jackson shaved 30 minutes off the movie, I think I would have rated it an even four stars. But as it stands, it’s just a little too long. I can see how it happened. On a much lesser scale, I do it about once a day: Put effort into a creative piece, then wince because I have to cut it down. I can only image how hard it would be to toil over special effects blending computer animation, live action and miniatures and then try to shorten the masterpiece. Still, as Dan, my copyeditor, often tells me: Less is better, dude.At least Dan got his revenge: I made him squirm through the musical emotions of “Rent”; he made me watch a big long ape movie.Luckily, the movie warms up to the idea of a huge gorilla falling in love with a woman. The beginning drew me in with its portrayal of vaudeville actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts). While Watts seemed to be a natural for the story line – petite, nice mix of vulnerability and strength, and just the right amount of drama in her screams – I wasn’t so sure about Jack Black. I loved him in “Orange County,” saw too much of him in “The School of Rock,” and thought his shifty eyes were a little much for “King Kong” – until I realized his character really was crazy. So, his acting grew on me.According to imdb.com, Adrien Brody was the only actor producers wanted for hero Jack Driscoll, and they were right on with that selection. Brody balanced sensitivity and sentiment without taking either over the top.And then there’s the King. Sensors – 132 of them – attached to Andy Serkis’ face captured his every facial expression, which ultimately translated to Kong’s human-like emotion. From rage to love, Kong’s reactions captivate. The realistic special effects allow audiences to feel compassion for Kong, who eventually becomes a victim of beauty.The cinematography, scenery and special effects in Kong are good enough for the movie to present itself as a serious work of art, but producers take it a step further and sprinkle in some tongue-in-cheek dialogue – and it works.In fact, the entire remake works – just not quite for 187 minutes.Editor’s note: “He Says” reviewer Dan Thomas is taking the week off.
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