King Kong

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christopher_robin
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King Kong

Postby christopher_robin » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:03 pm

I watched the original last night for the first time in many years.

This is an incredible movie. I got so excited I'm thinking of renting the late 70s remake, which I have not seen since it came out, and concluding with the Peter Jackson, which I have not yet seen at all.

Then I deflated, as reality set in: nothing can match the original.

Opinions?

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Postby Shipley » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:25 pm

I liked the Jackson one, but there is a certain charm to the original that can't be matched.

Jackson did insert one of the most gruesome screen deaths in history(the bug scene), but as a story about Kong its no better or worse.

that 70s remake though... boy, I made it 20 minutes into that before having to turn it off. I'd rather play Donkey Kong Country's night level again.

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Postby supaunknown » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:15 am

I agree with Darwin's old post that the 70s Dino version holds a certain charm for me. Jessica Lange is damn sexy in a spacey pill-poppin' kinda way. I bet the gigantic fake Kong hand had to be hosed down after scenes with her. Hurk!

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Postby TAsunder » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:20 am

I liked a few moments in the Jackson one, but that was about it. Like most of his films, including the first installment of Lord of the Rings, he seemed more interested in everything except plot and storytelling most of the movie.

The original was much better.

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Postby Bucky Goldstein » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:51 am

are you kidding me? fellowship of the ring is ALL plot. it is the weakest of the trilogy because of its total dedication to plot.

tell me, how many of peter jackson's films have you actually watched other than rings and king kong? are you gonna tell me plot was neglected in heavenly creatures, for example?

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Postby TAsunder » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:56 am

Bucky Goldstein wrote:are you kidding me? fellowship of the ring is ALL plot. it is the weakest of the trilogy because of its total dedication to plot.

tell me, how many of peter jackson's films have you actually watched other than rings and king kong? are you gonna tell me plot was neglected in heavenly creatures, for example?


I've not seen Heavenly Creatures, but I've seen The Frighteners, all three Lord of the Rings movies, and King Kong.

And FOTR was mostly boring plot, agreed. The problem is that the execution of the plot SUCKED. Thus, it was neglected. The dialogue at times reminded me of a B movie from the 80's. He did a fine job once the movies picked up in pace.

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Postby Bucky Goldstein » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:08 am

so you haven't bothered to watch anything but his hollywood work yet you talk about 'most of his films'. peter jackson does not neglect plot, he nutures it.

fellowship on it's own is the weakest film of the 3 but i don't look at the LOTR films as stand alones. when the whole body of work is looked at it is a fairly masterful 3 hours.

and porta alba's pizza is brilliant.

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Postby TAsunder » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:19 am

Sorry, I should have said most of his work that I've seen. Which is half of his feature film work. I skipped "Dead Alive", "Meet the Feebles", etc.

So aside from Heavenly Creatures, which films involve nurturing plot exactly?

Fellowship is not supposed to be the weakest of the three. It is an excellent book and even the animated version did a better job with the story than Jackson did. Maybe the screenplay came that way, all deformed and unintelligent, but he's the one that actually took it and made it into a deformed and unintelligent movie.

And King Kong was just as anemic.

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Postby christopher_robin » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:25 pm

You gotta see "Dead Alive." Goriest movie ever made, I'd wager, and it's a romantic comedy about oppressive family. Made on a shoestring budget, too--quite a remarkable film.

So, the original has never been topped eh? That kind of figures. I might take some goofballs and watch the 70s remake based on supa's rec, though...

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Postby Bucky Goldstein » Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:41 pm

TAsunder wrote:Sorry, I should have said most of his work that I've seen. Which is half of his feature film work. I skipped "Dead Alive", "Meet the Feebles", etc.

So aside from Heavenly Creatures, which films involve nurturing plot exactly?

Fellowship is not supposed to be the weakest of the three. It is an excellent book and even the animated version did a better job with the story than Jackson did. Maybe the screenplay came that way, all deformed and unintelligent, but he's the one that actually took it and made it into a deformed and unintelligent movie.

And King Kong was just as anemic.


dead alive, the frighteners, all of the LOTR trilogy. hell, king kong was purely plot driven for the first 90 minutes. you may find it boring, i did, but to say that peter jackson ignores plot and storytelling is absurd. you might not like how he presents it on the screen but his films are pure plot. even dead alive, which is a ode to blood, is plot driven.

and jackson co-wrote the LOTR screenplays. fellowship may not be the best movie as a whole but it's a great first act. then again, i am not a tolkien junkie and don't much care about the books whatsoever. either way, what he did cinematically is astounding and you might not be the film fan you think you are if you doubt that. you haven't even seen heavenly creatures for goodness sakes and you accuse jackson of neglecting plot? eh.

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Postby christopher_robin » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:07 am

There were a number of scenes in the restored version (available at Bongo) I didn't remember from childhood. For good reason, it turns out:

wiki

Known deleted, censored, or never-filmed scenes (some restored or reconstructed today).

* Kong battles three Triceratops. Partially filmed but scrapped.[15]
* The sauropod more violently kills three sailors in the water.
* A Styracosaurus chases the sailors onto the log. Filmed but cut afterward.[16]
* When Kong drops the log down the chasm, four surviving sailors are eaten alive by a giant spider, an octopus-like insect, a giant scorpion/crab, and a giant crocodile/lizard. When Merian C. Cooper showed the film to a preview audience with the scene intact, viewers were either frightened, scared out of the theater, or wouldn't stop talking about the scene. Ultimately, Cooper cut the scene. When asked later, he claimed that he cut the scene due to pacing. The scene was eventually lost. For the 2005 two-disc DVD release of the film, Peter Jackson and a team from Weta Workshop recreated the scene as it may have looked, based on the script, surviving images, and storyboards.[17]
* Kong pulls off Ann's clothes and smells them. Censored for the 1930s rerelease, now in every official print since 1972, as are the other "censorship cuts" listed below. Curiously, one brief moment during Ann's rescue was not cut out. The scene had her and Jack swimming to the surface of the water, and for one frame, Ann's naked breast could be seen.[18].
* A longer scene of Jack and Ann escaping from Kong's lair, including Kong climbing down the cliff after them. This was cut by Cooper for pacing even though the painstaking stop-motion animation had been completed.[19]
* Kong steps on two natives. Censorship cut.
* Kong kills two natives and a New Yorker with his teeth. Censorship cut.
* Kong picks a sleeping woman out of the hotel, then realizing she's not Ann, drops her to the streets below to her death. Censorship cut.
* Kong breaks up a poker party in the hotel. It's unknown if this was filmed or not, but the reason why it was dropped was because it was too similar to an almost identical scene in The Lost World.
* A shot showing Kong's body from above as he falls off the Empire State Building. This was cut because the special effects didn't look realistic enough; Kong seemed 'transparent' as he fell to the streets below. Peter Jackson did this shot in the 2005 remake in memory of him.
* The script initially called for Kong to be displayed at (and escape from) Yankee Stadium; this was changed to a theater scene for the completed film.

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Postby christopher_robin » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:24 am

Not listed here, so maybe it was always in there, but: at one point Kong touches Fay Wray and then sniffs his fingers.

It's an erotically charged moment between beauty and beast. It's a very animal-like action, but it reminded me that we are animals too. Kong is not so different from us, etc.

There's a lot going on in this scene and the subtext of that relationship. Then of course there is the racial tension.

Is Kong the threatening black man, stealing the white woman?

One one level I think the film is on pretty thin ice with the race relations stuff. Released in 1933, of course. Abolition would have been in many people's memories, older viewers would have lived though it. Surely the archetypes summoned here were intentional.

On the other hand, Kong is the hero. His death is a tearjerker. You don't really care about the people at all.

So I felt pretty good about the way that the racial subtext was handled - more sophisticated by far than I had remembered.

The story is terrific on both the surface and as myth, archetypes are handled with acuity and deftness, the visual effects hold up very well, and there are at least a dozen absolutely iconic images. Kong breaking down the doors is loaded with heavy psychological freight but it's also an utterly thrilling scene, with a dream-logic quality that feels right at the brain stem.

I think by every standard the 1933 version is one of the top five or ten films ever made.

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Postby TAsunder » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:34 am

Bucky Goldstein wrote:dead alive, the frighteners, all of the LOTR trilogy. hell, king kong was purely plot driven for the first 90 minutes. you may find it boring, i did, but to say that peter jackson ignores plot and storytelling is absurd. you might not like how he presents it on the screen but his films are pure plot. even dead alive, which is a ode to blood, is plot driven.


Fine, he's a shitty assed director of movies with plot then. Either he ignores plot or he sucks at focusing on plot. Those are the options. Which do you think is accurate?

and jackson co-wrote the LOTR screenplays.


OK, so shitty writer it is.

fellowship may not be the best movie as a whole but it's a great first act.


No it isn't.

then again, i am not a tolkien junkie and don't much care about the books whatsoever. either way, what he did cinematically is astounding and you might not be the film fan you think you are if you doubt that. you haven't even seen heavenly creatures for goodness sakes and you accuse jackson of neglecting plot? eh.


Yes, I've seen half his movies and all of them handled the actual storytelling aspect poorly. You call yourself a film fan and you actually think those movies were good examples of plot? eh.

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Postby pjbogart » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:39 pm

I don't totally understand the "no plot" accusation either. Hell, we didn't get to see Kong until a third of the way into the movie. Up until that point it was pretty much plot setting us up for some great special effects to come. The initial scenes with Anne and Kong were Anne terrified and Kong indifferent. Then Anne started doing some silly dance numbers and Kong starts to see Anne as something of a cherished toy. Then she becomes kind of a protected pet, and eventually something that Kong truly loves and is willing to die for. Throughout their evolving relationship, careful detail was put into how a gorilla behaves, from his facial expressions to his movements. Personally, I thought this aspect of the film was done wonderfully, and it was largely plot, with some nifty special effects to flesh it out.

Where Jackson lost me, and I don't mean that as a severe critic of the film, was that he simply overdid anything that had to do with special effects. To borrow a line from Jurassic Park, he was so interested to see if he could that he didn't stop to think if he should. All of the action scenes were simply so over-the-top that you started to snicker. Let's have a brontosaurus tumbling down a steep hill, or better yet, let's have twenty of them tumbling down a steep hill! The T-Rex scene was overdone, the bugs were totally superfluous in an already too long movie and the Empire State Building scene gave me vertigo. Everything was simply too much from the moment that they reached Skull Island until the ending credits.

Strangely, I didn't feel that way about LOTR even though the epic battle scenes probably were too much but didn't really seem that way. Fellowship, if anything, was too much plot and seemed to drag in areas, the extended cut version adding insult to injury. I'm not sure what's special about "Dead Alive" other than that it was made with a minimal budget (and was over-the-top gory). "The Frighteners" and "Heavenly Creatures" are wonderful films. Well written, well acted, well directed.

I'm glad Jackson signed on to make "The Hobbit" but it would be nice if he didn't take his bigger-is-better attitude into the film. It reads a bit quieter, and perhaps it should be viewed a bit quieter as well. I'd hate to say that I enjoyed the cartoon more than the feature film.

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Postby TAsunder » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:06 pm

It's not that there isn't enough plot or slow pace, it's that when there is, it's done really poorly. Those scenes in Kong / FOTR should not be considered "plot setting us up for some great special effects to come." They are part of the story and not merely tools for the "important parts". Fellowship felt very obligatory. So did the first half or so of Kong.


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