Wednesday, December 14, 2005

King Kong

I've never been a King Kong fan. I have to admit, I've never seen the original movie, so my opinion is not well-informed. I did see the Jessica Lange version. But mainly the story's never really appealed to me. I'm not a big fan of monster movies or movies where animals are the stars (e.g. Beethoven), and King Kong seems like the ultimate animal/monster movie.

That said, I'm really getting excited about this movie. The previews look great(don't they always, though), the reviews are very positive, and I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, so Peter Jackson's involvement carries a lot of weight with me.

So I've been reading the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and it's got an 84% positive rating from the critics, which is really good for a popular movie. Then I read the negatives to see what the handful of people who don't like it are saying. This is one of my biggest movie critic pet peeves. Of the 22 rotten reviews, the majority mention the length as a big negative factor. I can't stand this. There are a group of critics who seem to think that all movies sould be 2 hours or less, no matter what. I'm convinced half of these people saw the running time and went into the theater expecting it to be too long. If your attention span is so short, quit whining and start reviewing TV shows. These guys probably thought Lord of the Rings should have been one movie instead of three.

My position on movie length is this - if the movie's good, I want it to be longer. If it's bad, I'll just leave. I can't remember a time when I sat in a movie and thought, hey, this isn't bad, but it would be a lot better if it was 30 minutes shorter. When a movie's really good, I get caught up in it and don't really notice the time. Titanic is a good example. (I know there are plenty of people out there who hated it, but for every one of those, there were 1000 who liked it.) It was a long movie, but I was so into what was going on, I never looked down and thought, Man when is this shit going to be over?.

So I'm excited about seeing King Kong and I'm excited that it's a good, long movie. And it may very well be that it won't live up to my expectations, but if it doesn't, it won't be because it was too long.

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John Howard said...

I agree that people shouldn't just look at the length and think it's too long just because of that. But I think it is possible for a movie to be very good and still be too long (though petty rare). If 90% of it is great, but there are scenes that are too slow and/or don't add anything to the story then I can see saying a movie is good, and still say it is too long. But for the most part, I agree with you, if it's good, I'll watch it for as long as it goes without caring how long it is (unless I have to take a piss).

Ironically, though, I may end up waiting for the DVD specifically because of the length. Jason really, really wants to go see it, so I wouldn't want to go without him, but I really don't think he could sit still for that long without bothering people around us. Maybe we'll try to go sometime when it's slow.

Robert Bayn said...

i'm not very impressed by this movie, but i never cared much for these kinds of movies anyways.

eg: godzilla, and other crap like that.

Lex said...

My wife and some friends and I went to see "Legends of the Fall," which we unanimously found so awful (and awful in UTTERLY PREDICTABLE WAYS) toward the end that we spent the last 30 minutes or so openly mocking the dialogue, something I've never done in a movie before or since. If I don't like it, I usually just leave, but somehow, this particular piece of dreck just demanded a response.

Naturally, the other 150 people in the auditorium were LOVIN' the movie, so we made many enemies, but by damn, our comments got way more laughs than the movie, which still drew a fair number (most of them unintentional, I'm sure).

John Howard said...

Legends of the Fall sucked.

Christiana said...

Just got back from King Kong tonight, and it is excellent, though I think that it could have been shorter without really losing anything. A number of scenes, while interesting and well-done, didn't really contribute much to the main plot. And certain action sequences could have been trimmed as well, so I suspect that is what is being responded to when people complain about the length. Let me reiterate though, that the movie is excellent.

Chris Howard said...

A number of scenes, while interesting and well-done, didn't really contribute much to the main plot. And certain action sequences could have been trimmed as well...Let me reiterate though, that the movie is excellent.

So even thought the movie could have been "tighter" in some sense, you still thought it was excellent. That's why the particular critics I mentioned irk me so much. Efficiency in a movie is not the number one goal. Scenes can exist solely on their own artisitc merit, or they can add to the mood or they can just be fun without contributing directly to the plot.

I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. Having read many of your movie reviews, I feel like I can trust your opinion.

skywind said...


I saw the movie on Saturday. There are way too many scenes of monstrous creatures terrorizing the movie crew on the island, to the point where my companion and I were saying, "Not MORE monsters!" I mean, after the brontosaurus stampede AND the raptors AND the T-Rexes AND the bugs AND the bats AND the indescribable phallic-looking underwater maneaters AND all the other creepy-crawlies, I was ready for that shit to be over, capture the damn ape, take him back to New York and tell the rest of the story, already!

I don't mind long movies at all, as long as the plot is advancing. The LOTR movies were mesmerizing, and I'm planning on watching all 3 extended versions on DVD over the holidays. It wasn't the length per se that was a problem with King Kong, it was the endless parade of fantastic creatures in the middle, with no apparent purpose other than to show off still more special effects.

Other than that, it was pretty good. Appealing actors, good writing, and you could take a half hour or so out of the middle and not miss any of the story.