Thursday, December 22, 2005

Shock The Monkey

Wassup, Y'all!

It's been a while since old Tyrone has dipped into the local cinema to catch a flick - an oversite I plan to correct in the coming new year but I did get a chance to peep the new King Kong joint last weekend to see how it stacked up to that politically incorrect, stop motion 1933 original joint as well as that campy a$$ 1976 joint that starred (actually *introduced* so you *know* that was back in the day!) Jessica Lange. I'm here to report that I laughed, I cried and came away wondering how it is that after 72 years, King Kong can still make the island natives look like stereotypical caricatures...

Overall, I liked that joint y'all and I'm digging deep to give Peter Jackson's King Kong vision 3 Spinners. Most of those Spinners are dropped on the King himself - Mighty Kong - who demonstrated singlehandly how far special FX have come since herky jerky 1933 Kong. Amazing y'all and likely due to the fact that his expressions were motion captured from a real actor (Andy Serkis who provide the same service for that precioussss little Golum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Kong is the best thing in the movie and the fact that he shows up pretty much halfway through a three hour movie tells you where that other Spinner went.

This joint is long y'all and - unlike the previously mentioned Lord of the Rings movies and Saving Private Ryan - you do notice time passing. Our fair haired damsel in distress, Naomi Watts, puts her foot in her role as Ann Darrow, Kong's girl toy (y'all will remember me proppin' Naomi's work on The Ring flicks and she also brought it home in the back-in-the-day 21 Grams which I *finally* caught on DVD (3.5 Spinners!)). Jack Black is his same over the top self as Carl Denham, the opportunistic film director and Oscar winner Adrien Brody (who busted that slob on shorty Halle Berry at the awards show) is good but a little unconvincing as the story's sub-hero (he's Denham's screenwriter and everyone knows writers never get the girl! Y'all know Kong's the real hero).

But here are the actual factuals on this joint - it was good but could have been better and still clocked in at about 2 1/2 hours. In the writing world, conflict is good to hold an audience's attention. The rule of thumb is to make it BIG - put your hero/heroine in a desperate situation, then figure out how to make that situation even more desperate. Seems to me Jackson took that rule a bit too far, y'all. All the action scenes were drawn out well past the point of excitement. They started great and then just kept going and going and going and... Several of them stretched credibility pretty far (I know it's a movie about a giant ape but given that I still prefer action to stay within the bounds of reality, come on now!). Which brings us back to those island natives...

The controversy with the 1933 version of Kong was that the natives on Skull Island were portrayed as stereotypical jungle south siders courtesy of an unchecked north side view. Think early Tarzan vs. Shaka Zulu or Roots - The Saga of an American Family. Jackson's vision gives his Skull Island natives a hyperviolent, nasty Middle Earth vibe but unlike the hell spawned denizens from his Lord of the Rings flicks, you could tell the majority of the actors playing Jackson's natives were south siders. Seems to me on Skull Island they could have cast anybody for those roles but somehow we always seem to fall back on clowning south siders - hmmmm. In my opinion, you could have had the same movie by casting my girl Vanessa Williams as Ann Darrow and a bunch of grubby looking north siders (check out Rob Zombie's 'The Devil's Rejects' for examples, y'all) as the natives (kinda like 'The Others' in Lost) but I'm figuring that thought never crossed anyone's mind - except mine. That's why I'm here with you, y'all -- to keep my Urban Eye open and point out the obvious. I know, I know - you're welcome - no thanks necessary for my tireless work on your behalf. I got your back.



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