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Monday, December 19, 2005

"It wasn't the planes...

It was beauty that killed the beast."

And that's the last line you hear Jack Black, who plays Carl Denham in King Kong, say. Just happened to see that on Thursday night, the 15th I think, and since then I can't get this movie out of my head. I'm not going to say that it's utterly brilliant because there are a few things that could have been improved. But overall, like the Times of India, I would rate this a 4.5 out of 5.

One of the reasons that I went to watch the movie was because of Naomi Watts. I like her a lot, because I think she does a brilliant change of facial emotion. I don't know man, it's like she can shriek and/or look horrified to really make you (or in this case, moi) believe that shit is going down right here, right now. Yeah, yeah, I know that this is what you say about any actor out there, but what the hell, I was really in the moment when I was watching the movie. And that's not all, because the movies that she has done are all very srangely perturbing, yet have somehow totally captivated me...the ones I'm referring to are Mulholland Drive and The Ring.

Oh, before I forget, this opportunity was offered to me courtesy Pradeep. He works at JWT and he was the one who worked on the King Kong campaign. And here's the "pass" that he designed. Thanks Machcha!!!



But it's the legend of King Kong that has fascinated people across the world since 1933, when the first movie came out. In fact, as it turns out, the creators of the '25-foot ape' were themselves adventurers and otherwise 'swashbuckling' folk. According to one website, Merian Coldwell Cooper and Edgar Wallace both led interesting lives. For example, Cooper, thought to be the less 'silent' partner of the two, was an 'aviator' in World War I, was part of a volunteer crew of pilots who were offering Polish forces some assistance during the Polish-Soviet War, and flew in World War II as well, at the end of which he was made Brigadier General. Prior to the flying experience in both the 'big' wars, he was a soldier in the Georgia National Guard trying to capture Pancho Villa.

So, where did the 'big ape' come from? Same place, Skull Island. But the ape, or the concept of the ape is that of a monster, albeit a 'humanized' monster. It's like the beast in Beauty and the Beast, which is basically what this story is modelled on. There are several such stories which depict beasts who're given human qualities...and I'm not talking about any Teen Wolf type stuff either. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is another example, where Quasimodo, as 'hideous' as he was, was shunned by society until a beautiful maiden came along. She was willing to look beyond the 'shell' and see that there was something more than just the 'beast' that everyone else saw. That's the same thing with Beauty and the Beast. I'll even go so far as to say that Godzilla, although a reptile, and I'm talking about the most recent Holywood installment from a few years ago, was depicted as trying to carry out 'her maternal duties'...but that's about all the humanness there is, after which the story tended to be like Species..."Die alien scum" type of a movie. But that's one kind of 'beastly' flick, where survival of as many of the main characters as possible is the ultimate goal.

In the other kind of 'beastly' flick, such as King Kong, the beast is a result of either severe pain or trauma, or is a freak of nature, and is therefore relegated to a life of solitude...away from everyone/everything else. Such is the case with the 'big ape'...or "Kong" as the 'natives' call him. He is my favorite character in the movie. I don't know why, but there were times when I was all teary eyed because of the expressions that seemed to be going across Kong's face. I think it had to do with the brilliant depiction of King Kong as imperfect, and how he deals with this imperfection with the help of a new friend. Alright, now I realize that I probably just made it sound like some Free Willy version of King Kong, like Mighty Joe Young or something...but it's a good movie dammit!!! I'm referring to Peter Jackson's latest offering, of course. It's wierd but I think what got to me was the struggle that they showed King Kong going through...at times it was interesting to see him dealing with emotions that he hadn't dealt with before, and the 'personification' of the ape really seemed to work. Sure, there are some of you going to say that it's sappy, or that it's slow moving, but I think Peter Jackson does a good job of accelerating the story when it's needed, and slowing it down again when necessary. This man is a genius. I don't know...I could go on and on about this, but I'm not going to because I'd like people to go watch it and tell me what they thought.

And last, but certainly not least, here are some things that I thought they could have done a better job with. Initially, until the action picked up, I felt the movie was a bit slow. Also, and though I think he did a good job as Carl Denham, Jack Black was probably not the best choice for the role. Don't get me wrong, I think he did a good job...but I would have liked to see an actor who seemed to be more 'greedy' than Black. I think that's because we've come to associate him with comedy roles, so maybe this was a bit too 'new' for him. I was thinking about someone along the lines of Ian Holm or Gary Oldman. Or maybe someone else...I don't know. And some scenes seem to be a bit contrived, but I'm not going to tell you until after you've watched the movie.

Well, it's the beginning of a new week, and I still can't seem to get the movie out of my head...but I repeat myself. Please watch the movie and let me know what you think. Yenjoy Maadi!

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