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Kong is King, more or less

Well, and Your Humble Blogger saw Kong. And it was ... long. Really, really long. It wasn’t tedious; there was a lot of stuff in there, and most of it was entertaining and well-made, but by the time Kong stands on top of the Empire State Building and beats his enormous gorilla chest, I was exhausted and fidgety. I wasn’t cheering. I wasn’t yawning, mind you, and I wanted to be cheering, but my head kinda hurt, and I was ready to get out of the movie and breath fresh air.

It’s a matter of sitzfleish, of the ability to sit still and watch a movie for three hours. I don’t have it. I was thinking that the thing was made more or less like a miniseries, with a big dramatic build-up and a big, slow ending for each of the three hours, and if I had the DVD on, I would know when to stop the thing and pick it up the next evening, or even just stop for a stretch and a top-up on my tea mug. There was lots of suspense, and lots of wow, and really by the time they got Kong in a net, I was all done with suspense and wow. I didn’t want any more. The rest of the movie was annoying to sit through, not because it was annoying as such, but because I was all done with it. I mean, how many minutes did we watch the writer watching his play? I recognize that those scenes served a purpose, and one purpose that they served was that they drew out the tension before we saw Kong again. Yep. But mostly they were between me and the exit, and I just wanted the monkey to climb the tower and get shot by biplanes.

While I’m whining, I should mention that one thing I thought Mr. Jackson and company did remarkably well was individuate Kong. That is, Kong was not just a twenty-five foot tall ape, he was Kong. I had the sense that if, later in the movie, we met another twenty-five foot ape, I would recognize that it was not Kong. At least as easily as I recognized that the blonde screamer wasn’t the lead. I’m not talking about believing that there really was a big monkey; I’m always ready to do that. I’m talking about believing that this particular big monkey is Kong, and not just Big Monkey. Of course, it doesn’t do to think too much about what life on Skull Island was like before Our Heroes arrived, but then I didn’t demand that sort of thing from the movie.

The other thing I noticed was that Mr. Jackson (and his colleagues) did a lot of rather marvelous looking lighting, early in the movie, that was totally not naturalistic, and was not intended to look naturalistic. I was thinking, at the time, that this was probably setting us up not to notice when the special effects required some odd lighting later on, but if that was true, it worked, and I didn’t notice it. Also, the juggling looked totally fake.

Other than that, I enjoyed the movie, at least for a couple of hours.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

Can you describe, without too many spoilers, what the best points would be to duck out of the movie for a bit to get popcorn, stretch, check e-mail, etc.? 'Cause I really don't want to miss the whole Empire State Building thing. Nor the part where Kong stands at the bow of the ship leaving Skull Island and stretches out his arms all DiCaprio-like.

When the extended FoTR DVDs were released, I thought that I'd want to see the longer movie out of curiosity, but had thought the theatrical release was already too long. Oddly, the extended release felt shorter. I know part of it is that it's easier to watch a movie at home, but also the story just felt properly balanced.

It's disappointing to hear that Kong is so long in the theaters, since Jackson must know by now that he could release an extended edition on DVD later, and could have trimmed the theatrical release to fit our sitzfleish (what a great word).


The Entertainment Weekly with Kong on the cover has a sidebar with suggested toilet breaks. 35 minutes in is a romantic interlude that goes on for a while, and 139 minutes in is a slow build-up of suspense before the monkey gets loose in the city.
I should point out that the slow build-ups of suspense are really well-crafted, but that they are easily recognizeable as slow build-ups of suspense, and if you don't particularly want the suspense built up, you could easily go out for a smoke and be back by the time the thing happened for which the suspense had been built.

Thanks,
-V.


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