Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Question of Length

So, King Kong on DVD. The big monkey movie.

I enjoyed it a lot. And I love the production diaries. I don't think there's any proof that online video diaries actually help promote a movie - Narnia didn't have em and it outgrossed Kong by miles. But they're a joyful celebration of a production. Shame they can't actually TELL you anything, can't comment on the key elements of the film, because they're keeping it all secret for the release.

Also, and you'd expect this frustration from me, there's almost no word on pre-production. No discussion, in particular, of the writing process. Which is a shame, because some really interesting decisions were made there.

I'm always baffled by the complaints about Kong's length. "How did a 90 minute movie get remade at 3 hours without loads of extra plot points?" Well, for a start, the characters are given some heft this time around. Jack, Carl ands Ann all have developed backstories. In the original, Jack's the first mate. And that's all he is. Square-jawed and heroic because...well, because he is.

The new Jack, though? He's the writer. He's artistically frustrated, screwed-over, but lacks the courage of his convictions. Which gives him an arc. At the start of the movie, he won't jump from the ship despite claiming to love theatre. By the end, he'll do anything for the one thing he REALLY loves - Ann. Plus, do you really thing the Jack at the end of the picture would stand for some wanky actor changing his dialogue for something 'funnier'? hell no.

So to all those who critque the hour-long wait for Skull island I say this - bog off. Me, I'm happily anticipating the 4-hour cut of the film on DVD. Not just more monsters, but more character stuff.

Still, I do kinda hope the re-issue fixes that bloody awful compositing. CGI that impressive deserves better bluescreen work. You can see the cut-out lines. You can see the actors not accurately interacting with their environment. It's crazy. Good directing helps, but there's a technical team somewhere who had too much to do in too little time, and the work suffered.


An interesting extra thought on the extended edition, by the way. You know that trailer scene of them filming on the coast, Ann screams in character, Kong roars back from within the island?

Didn't make it into the flick...but a very similar scene did. The gang are attacked by the natives, Ann screams...and Kong roars back.

Was this part of the much-mentioned pick-up shoots? I'm gonna guess yes. The scene was dropped, but Jackson moved the moment. (Interesting, also, to note that the film's trailers were not on the DVD. So you can't see this clip, or compare the original shots of Kong to those in the final film.)

My question is this - will the extended edition be a full-on recut? Will moments like this mean it HAS to be? Surely we can't have that same riff in twice?


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