So, I’ve seen two romantic comedies in the last few days. Hitch and King Kong. I think Hitch has been most aptly summarised as a by-the0numbers effort that’s not going to let you down on the core point of a Romantic Comedy. It lacks the zany zest of something like The Wedding Crashers, and Will Smith just isn’t as cute as Owen Wilson, but whatcha gonna do…
King Kong‘s a bit trickier to talk about, but then since it’s twice as long you’d expect there was more to say. It’s been a long time since I saw either the 1937 version of the 1975 remake, so can’t really compare what’s going on between editions.
My overwhelming feeling through the last hour of the movie was on the pointless waste. I think Peter Jackson captured the essence of Sophocles’ bleaker tragedies perfectly. Kong can’t end well, and so you watch the unfolding disaster with a kind of morbid fascination. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to really feel a human connection with Kong because when you boil it down, he’s a giant ape. Naomi Watts tries to breathe life into the endeavour, but come on, it’s a love story between an “actress with a heart of gold” and 25′ APE!
The ending is … unsubtle. If you’re surprised by anything that happens after about 25-30 minutes, you were asleep for that time. The foreshadowing is blatant and frequent, and the imagery loudly signposted. When the cabin boy first turns up with a copy of Heart of Darkness your astute viewer goes “cool – this is a journey about obsession”, and if you didn’t then there’s a 5 minute narrative monologue to explain it. The whole “love doesn’t need words” line being peddled by Brody’s character is also tediously expository. I could go on, but you get the point.
The other thing I’d say is that the movie had too many climaxes. The middle hour is just a Lucasian orgy of FX which makes the actual climactic rampage through New York seem pretty tame. I think other people have also commented on the odd pacing: fast then slow. I thought that almost worked.
The dialogue wasn’t that flash in places, but by god there were some good lines at other times. I think all the human cast put in solid efforts, especially Jack Black who just owned the screen. I find Adrien Brody very samish – slightly bemused and concerned.
Overall recommendation? Go see it. It’s got its faults, but it is extremely beautiful (though not as pretty as Hero) has some truly tense and frightening moments and stands acceptably as a pulp-era tribute.