And now, Scary-Crayon reviews...
KONG: the long as fuck movie
by: Wes

Yeah, you knew this was coming. Ever since I watched the King Kong teaser trailer featuring that beautiful widescreen shot of Kong about to battle a T-Rex (or whatever the hell Jackson wants to call it), I've had Kong on the brain. I've drawn Hot Flashes alluding to his exploits; I've drawn Hot Flashes about him; I've talked about him incessantly and acquired the 1976 remake and its utterly hilarious sequel, King Kong Lives. I've learned that it's a good thing that the American alligator population had largely recovered in 1986, because otherwise King Kong's appetite would surely have led to the extinction of these ancient reptiles. But though I've pined for the King Kong Collection tin gift set, the closest I'd come to seeing Kong until these recent acquisitions was watching the Simpsons Halloween parody featuring Homer in the role of the giant ape, and while it probably hit most of the important points I somehow doubt that it was an entirely accurate reproduction of the 1933 film. Sure, I'd cried my eyeballs out during Disney's 1998 remake of Mighty Joe Young, but this far-removed cousin of the famed giant gorilla was as close as I'd come to witnessing the 8th wonder of the world.

Kong... the animated series.Seriously, he eats alligators.

So it was that nearly a month later and with exceedingly high hopes I plopped down in the theater with my banana schnapps-filled flask hidden in my trench coat pocket and prepared to witness the magic of Peter Jackson's King Kong. I don't know why I expected to see the greatest movie ever, but I did. I knew the movie is three hours long, and I knew that very few movies need to be three hours long, let alone ones that can largely be summarized in a single sentence: A giant gorilla fights some dinosaurs, falls in love with a human woman, runs amok in New York City, and falls to his death from the top of the Empire State Building. I knew that this is a remake of a classic film, and experience and intuition have taught me that classic films do not need to be remade because if they had been poorly done in the first place they wouldn't be classics. I also knew that this remake suggests a mutual romantic connection between Kong and the actress and features a ridiculous scene in which Kong slides around on the frozen Central Park pond. (Okay, I was actually looking forward to that scene, but still...) I knew that Ebert and Roeper and a number of my mother's friends had gushed at length about how great the film was -- but then again these people also praised Flightplan and oh god I fucking HATED that movie. Despite these reasons, I thought King Kong would truly be an awesome film.

Giant gorillas have nosebleeds too.RAGE!

And boy was I fucking disappointed. Granted, it wasn't a terrible film, and there were quite a few things about it that were actually good. People go on and on about how good the ape looked -- and yes, the ape looked good. The direction of certain scenes, such as the final battle atop the Empire State Building, felt particularly inspired. And that gorgeous shot of Kong and the Rex with Darrow in between should be framed and on my wall. Unfortunately, great special effects, a few well-directed scenes, and the occasional posterworthy shot do not a good movie make, even when it does feature a giant homicidal lovesick gorilla.

The Neverending Battle.King Kong on life support. Not a joke.

The major problem with the film, of course, is the running time -- and you know it was bad when a guy who writes a 6000+ word review of a 15 minute cartoon is complaining. While more stuff happened in the film, it really could accurately be summed up by the above sentence, which meant that a good 75% of the movie consisted of filler. Relationships between minor characters were developed at length and entirely forgotten when Kong showed up. Action sequences ceased to be action sequences because they went on for so long that there was nothing invigorating about them, with more extended adventures of characters that weren't even important enough to make it into the third act. And Kong's famous fight with the dinosaurs? It went on forever. Seriously, I fell asleep while he was fighting T-Rexes and when I woke up he was still fighting the damned T-Rexes. I actually admired the dinosaurs' perseverance, because if I had to battle a giant gorilla for the equivalent of a single fun-size Snickers bar I'd probably toss in the towel shortly after the 30 second mark.

Fresh!Kong frightens children.

There were other problems with Jackson's King Kong. For instance, I'm actually surprised that so few of the reviewers who have commented on the film have addressed its subtle racist undertones. Now, I'm sure that a few readers are rolling their eyes here, given that I've discussed the issue of racism in commenting on Flightplan and even the Harry Potter books, but given the obviousness of these elements, I wonder if people are ignoring them on purpose or if they simply lack the relevant life experiences that would enable them to spot these nuances. For one, the movie subscribes to the unfair racial cliche that dictates that ALL MINORITIES MUST DIE (with the monstrous savages on Skull Island perhaps being the only exceptions to the rule). Except in King Kong it's even worse because Jackson goes out of his way to showcase Hayes (the resident "black" guy) by giving him tons of pointless dialogue and making him one of the two principal characters in the leading plot thread that goes absolutely nowhere and is abandoned entirely when Kong is relocated to the Big Apple. Moreover, Hayes is the first human to die by Kong's hands in the course of the film. How could anyone watching this movie fail to notice that point? Or the fact that Kong is a monster that apparently ate (seriously; he keeps their bones in a nest) everyone else who was ever given to him, but now that he's got a tiny "white" woman he's suddenly gazing at sunsets and sliding around on ice? Granted, I'm not sure how much these developments owe to the original 1933 version, but the stuff with Hayes is so blatant that I wonder precisely what Jackson was trying to say -- particularly because the movie would've been shorter and more focused without it.

I'd rather play Warpath: Jurassic Park than watch King Kong.Lady Kong is a flirt.

I could discuss my problems with the film further (and I encourage those of you interested in reading more about the remake's shortcomings to check out this well-written analysis on IMDb), but doing so would not only require me to devote more attention to this film than it deserves, but would also cause me to make the same mistake that Jackson did in making his movie far longer than it needed to be. Ultimately, King Kong was made for moviegoers who really don't pay much attention to what's happening -- or isn't happening -- on the screen. It's a movie for people who go apeshit for special effects sequences and have nothing better to do than to watch CG creations battle each other ad infinitum. (For my part, if I wanted to see dinosaurs fighting at length, I'd just play Warpath: Jurassic Park and mash buttons for a half hour or so -- and if it were imperative that a giant ape be involved, I'd break out Primal Rage and get it on with Blizzard and the gang.) It's a film for people who are too easily manipulated by cheesy music swells and facial closeups to be disturbed by the suggestion of a human woman falling in love with a giant monster that has killed and eaten a whole mess of people and may or may not exhibit racist tendencies. It's a film for people who have an incredible tolerance for scenes that drag on and on and on and pointless plot threads that develop characters in depth only to have them killed off or utterly abandoned when the titular character lumbers onto the scene. It's a film for people who obviously are not me.

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