Monday, December 19, 2005

Peter Jackson needs an editor, badly. The Lord of the Rings movies might have permanently broken him. King Kong is about nine-sevenths of a great movie. There are great bits of action, characterization, comedy, drama and romance. There is also far too much gross-out nastiness, CGI-action overkill, and wildly tone-inappropriate material which breaks up the narrative at crucial moments. It's as if Jackson filmed a bunch of material destined for an intended "extended version" and then just forgot to purge the extra footage from the delivered movie.

There's a light-hearted bit on a frozen lake in Central Park which is a grand example of what I'm talking about, here. As a scene on its own isolated merits, it's delightful. Sweet, cheerful, happy. Nice. Except it's sandwiched in between scenes of breakneck violence, death, carnage, and high tragedy. This light romantic comedy moment is in the exact wrong place. It comes across as hallucination, or worse, satire. My god, how much did that scene need to get axed?

There's been a good deal of yammer about the interspecies romantic element in the new version. It kind of works, for the most part. The only real problem I had with it was how Ann Darrow's Ape Rochester is apparently a man-eater, as he BITES A MAN'S HEAD OFF RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. Our starry-eyed heroine apparently goes for the serial-killer type.

She's a remarkably tough heroine, though. She spends a good chunk of the movie running through some of the most hostile jungle terrain imaginable in bare feet and a borrowed silk nightgown, then again climbs several hundred feet of iron ladder at the top of the tallest sky-scrapper in the world in the predawn hours of what looks like a bitter cold New York winter. Tough, hell, she must be made of tenpenny nails. I half-way imagined one of those dinosaurs actually biting down on her, then pulling back a maw of broken teeth, shattered from attempting to chew on the protagonist equivalent of blue-steel feminine indominability.

No comments: