Monday, July 03, 2006

3 Hours Closer To Death


It was back in February of this year that I got into a polite disagreement with my friend, Kevin Wolf. He had written an unfavorable review of Peter Jackson’s “King Kong.” In that review, he admitted that he was no fan of “The Lord of the Rings” films. This (for me) made his take on “Kong” somewhat suspect. I’ve read Tolkien’s books a few times over the years and counted them among my all-time favorites. When I saw the first film, I was more than happy with the outcome. I could have liked it half as much and still been satisfied. My appreciation increased with the second and third installments. Sure, they had their flaws (especially the 20 minutes too long “The Return of the King,”) but given the seemingly impossible task of bringing such an epic, complex and popular tale to the screen those flaws were easily forgiven.

I love those films.

Fast forward to this weekend. As I may have mentioned before, The Viscountess is my second wife, and I am her second husband. Our previous marriages were disasters, save for the fact that both of them yielded 3 great kids respectively.

Spare me the damn “Brady Bunch” comments.

Each summer, we get a couple of weeks alone. Her children go up north to visit their Dad, and mine live with their Mom year round, visiting every other weekend and one night per week. This passed weekend was the only one we got this summer with no kids. Yesterday, we grilled up a couple of steaks and ate them with a caesar salad and some watermelon, washing it all down with our favorite cheap domestic beer, I.C. Light. That had to be one of the best 10 dinners of the year. The steaks were done perfectly (Pittsburgh medium,) and they were tender and juicy.

We also bought some Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice-cream, a bottle of A&W Root Beer and some popcorn with the idea of watching a movie at home, just the two of us. I had made a trip to Blockbuster with the intention of getting an easy-breezy movie to watch, one with good special effects. We had viewed the excellent but depressing “Capote” on Friday night, and my mission was to find something much lighter. When I saw “King Kong” on the shelf I thought that it would fit the bill perfectly.

In his review, Kevin compared the remake to the original film with a deft expertise that would make a professional critic proud. He examined social themes in and out of historical context that I was ignorant of until I read his review. Very interesting. Still, none of that would have mattered to me had the movie been good just on a “let’s have some fun and watch a stupid but entertaining summer-fluff blockbuster with the surround sound cranked in the privacy of our living room while eating popcorn and drinking some ass-kicking root beer floats” kind of level.

During the first 30 or so minutes, I imagined writing a post today where I said, “see Kevin it may not have been an excellent film presenting some old themes in a new light rife with social commentary and political overtones, but it was a damn good ride!”

Not.

What a piece of garbage. From the minute they set foot on the island the movie descended into a self-indulgent, over-the-top and into the abyss bombastic imitation of a second-rate Spielberg flick. The unrelenting, excruciatingly long action sequences made some of the chase scenes in the “Jurassic Park” movies seem reasonable. Calling them "implausable" would be like calling Darfur an "unpleasant place to honeymoon." They might as well have thrown Naomi Watts and Jack Black into a giant blender, set it to “puree” for 10 minutes and then have them emerge with nary a hang-nail or a lock of hair out of place. I’ve sustained worse injuries getting up in the middle of the night and walking to the bathroom. I could go on, but what’s the point? Peter Jackson's "King Kong" stank like an abandoned porta potty.

At least the A&W / Ben & Jerry's root beer floats rocked...

***

By the way, Bobby Lightfoot wrote one helluva good post last week. Check it out.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Thanks for the link.

I love being right about something every once in a while.

I don't actually dislike the LOR movies but I don't especially like them either. The second of the three was easily the best. Overall, I find them too long.

I'd probably like them more if I was a fan of the books but I'm not. I read them ages ago, liked them well enough, but have no desire to revisit. That's more of an influence on my reaction to the movies than the movies themselves, I think.

9:53 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

Oops. Better remove this one from the Netflix queue, I guess...

1:45 PM  

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