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David Poland

By David Poland

Example #2372

This is why I find the NYT so frustrating.
The first problem with Sharon Waxman’s piece on King Kong is that it makes old news appear to be new news… and more so, surprising news. People have been talking about a 3 hour running time for six weeks now

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47 Responses to “Example #2372”

  1. Blackcloud says:

    I think they’re setting the stage for the inevitable Jackson backlash.

  2. Krazy Eyes says:

    If KONG is good (and every indication so far is that it will be an entertaining film) then the Jackson backlash will probably wait until his next film.
    He’s going to have his hands full with the HALO adaptation that he’s producing. Jackson + video game = huge backlash potential.
    The KING KONG tie-in video game has also been getting advance raves . . .that’s got to be a first. Jackson was supposedly very hands-on in the production of the game as well.

  3. Wrecktum says:

    The real story isn’t the budget (a huge Hollywood tentpole going over budget? Impossible!), but rather the bloated running time. That PJ and family can somehow take a tightly paced film like the ’33 original and nearly DOUBLE the running time for their opus makes me think that the production’s a bit out of control.

  4. Eric says:

    I agree with you, Wrecktum. It takes a heck of a lot of story to fill three hours, and you’re not going to find enough to do it in the original Kong.
    My guess: I’ll start checking my watch at about two-twenty.

  5. SpamDooley says:

    I do not understand what the fuss is. Almost no Hollywood film loses money anymore if you do the math. The last one was SON OF THE MASK.
    Nothing to see here.
    I am Spam Dooley and I FEED my people.

  6. Me says:

    What’s to complain about? The movie will be nice and long, but then get cut down for theatrical release. They’ll release a dvd and then a special edition dvd with the longer cut, just like LotR. If you really liked the movie, check out the longer cut. If you don’t, who cares as you probably only saw the theatrical cut. It’s the same with all those James Cameron movies that came out in longer cuts when they hit LD and DVD.

  7. Lota says:

    Kong won’t lose a dime and will make a fortune for everybody. There other movies, specifically a few dramas coming up which will lose money but not Kong.
    Everyone in the movie-going world has Heard of King Kong even if they haven’t seen the original–and there are plenty of fans in the gaming world. It will pay for itself before it goes to DVD, and I doubt anyone under 21 will be checking their watches if they even have ’em. They sat through Lord of the Rings III which could have been cut by 20 min, easy.

  8. Blackcloud says:

    Maybe this is how PJ is compensating for complaints that Kong is too small in the movie. So he made Kong big after all, just the wrong one.

  9. Scooba Steve says:

    I’m gonna have to agree with most of the posters here. 3+ hours is ridiculous. When I read the article on AICN last night one poster hoped he wouldn’t see Kong say goodbye to everyone for 45 minutes! It does seem like an indulgence from Jackson. Structuring an action movie to keep interest for 3 hours isn’t easy, but as the director proved before, it can be done.
    We’ll see soon enough.

  10. Eric says:

    The difference between Kong and LotR is the depth of the source material. There was a huge amount of both plot and context to squeeze into Return of the King. But the original Kong can be summed up in eight words: “Went to island, caught ape, ape went crazy.”
    That’ll take three hours?
    I’m not saying it’ll be lousy. I’m saying that Jackson and co. are going to have to come up with a LOT of material to keep it interesting for the running time, because it’s just not there in the original.

  11. Blackcloud says:

    Wasn’t there a long version of the 1976 “Kong”? I recall seeing it on TV once upon a time. Seemed mostly like padding.

  12. Lynn says:

    “The movie will be nice and long, but then get cut down for theatrical release. They’ll release a dvd and then a special edition dvd with the longer cut, just like LotR.”
    That’s not what the article says, though. It says Universal has agreed to a 3 hour release.
    Some movies can be cut down… others can’t. Return of the King made sense in the theatrical release (although for real fans of the books, the extended version added a lot of beloved moments).
    Other movies just fall apart if you cut cut cut — the theatrical release of The Abyss completely fell apart at the end. It wasn’t until the extended edition came out that I understood what was going on.

  13. Wrecktum says:

    Opening in NY when they find Ann Darrow and start expedition to Skull Island: 20m
    Trip to Skull Island: 10m
    Landing and discovery of natives: 15m
    Natives kidnap Ann Darrow: 10m
    Kong takes Ann: 5m
    Giant chase around Skull Island to rescue Ann: 40m
    Ann is rescued, Kong is returned to NY: 10m
    Kong is displayed, escapes: 15m
    Kong runs around, finds Ann, climbs Empire State: 10m
    Planes Down Kong: 10m
    Total time: 145m

  14. Wrecktum says:

    ^ Plus credits that’s 2 hours 30 minutes.

  15. The Premadator says:

    Let’s simplify it even more… an hour of build up until Kong, an hour of getting lost in the jungle, and an hour of New York. That doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

  16. Me says:

    “That’s not what the article says, though. It says Universal has agreed to a 3 hour release.”
    Yeah, but I believe they’ll all come to their senses before this thing actually hits theaters. ;>

  17. Me says:

    That said, who knows, maybe they *shock* added material not from the source material!?! that could make the movie actually worth its 3 hour run time.

  18. Wrecktum says:

    “Let’s simplify it even more… an hour of build up until Kong, an hour of getting lost in the jungle, and an hour of New York. That doesn’t sound so bad now does it?”
    Sure it does. Who wants to see an hour buildup before Kong arrives? The less buildup, the better.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t know about that, if Kong shows up ten minutes in, you probably won’t like it that much. Although they probably are expanding the time given over to characterization for Jack Black, Watts, and Brody.
    So if almost every Hollywood movie makes money these days, you’d think they could afford to take some more risks.

  20. PastyWhiteOldGuy says:

    My concern about Kong isn’t sitting in a theater 180 minutes. I’m worried that we’ll get a film from the pre-LOTR Peter Jackson. The wealth of source material supplied the length of those films (which I love dearly so this is not intended to be a Petey Jackson bash). The Pre-LOTR Peter of The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures, Braindead/Dead Alive, Feebles, and so on is what worries me. Not a single film over 110 minutes and all (with the exception of Creatures) from his own brain. Not a film over 110 minutes. Frighteners, Creatues, Braindead could have all used some trimming. Without copius amounts of source material to feed the fire, I’m worried that Kong will be a bloated mess punctuated with some great monkey action.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    I actually associate bloat with modern Jackson. If you ask me his early movies, Dead Alive, Bad Tase etc. are tight and lean, and I would prefer less self-importance in Kong.

  22. Wrecktum says:

    “I don’t know about that, if Kong shows up ten minutes in, you probably won’t like it that much.”
    I’ll agree with that. But surely they can get to him by the third reel, can’t they???

  23. PastyWhiteOldGuy says:

    “I actually associate bloat with modern Jackson.”
    That’s my point. Nothing over 110 minutes before Viggo and crew. Dead Alive, Bad Taste, Feebles – those films move with a purpose. I loved ’em. I thought Frighteners and Creatures were a bit long, though. I’ll be the first to admit if I’m wrong, but I sense a great 120 minute movie trapped within a 180 minute bladderbuster.

  24. Terence D says:

    When are you going to realize the New York Times has an agenda and tries to fit everything into that. They’re not balanced and their reporting has been subpar for quite some time. Don’t think the Jay Blair thing was a one time thing. Shows a lack of organizational restraint and ethics. It effects everything they do.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Agreed, they have problems…here’s my question: how does a story about problems with a Hollywood tentpole movie fit into an ‘agenda’? Is the agenda to smear Peter Jackson?

  26. Mark Ziegler says:

    Who are they kidding? This movie is going to be huge.

  27. Terence D says:

    The writer obviously has something against big Hollywood films and Peter Jackson. She should be doing magazine pieces and not straight up reporting if she wants to put her agenda out there.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Why would anyone have an anti-Peter Jackson agenda? I think it’s likelier it’s just shoddy reporting.

  29. Bruce says:

    NYT’s fair and balanced reporting???
    That’s the joke of the day.

  30. Angelus21 says:

    Can Peter Jackson strike out first before the press digs his grave?
    He’s more than earned some trust here.

  31. LesterFreed says:

    I really could care less how much it costs or anything like that. I’m seeing it opening weekend because of PJ. And I know it’ll make a ton of dough.

  32. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Any story that originates with the New York Times is automatically suspect.
    That said, this latest remake is a load of crap judging from the trailer. Universal better pray it has a hit because NBC is hurtin’.

  33. Crow T Robot says:

    My biggest concern with the film is going to be finding the right tone. I hope Jackson doesn’t apply the same heightened Tolkien dramatics to what is essentially a school boy’s adventure pic. I’d hate to think the director with all the (well-earned) success would get self-rightious on us.
    Jackson is a wonderfully perverse comedian and I’m hoping beyond hope that the movie comes off as a scare comedy rather than one big old weepy.

  34. The Premadator says:

    “Who wants to see an hour buildup before Kong arrives? The less buildup, the better.”
    You are a Philistine!

  35. joefitz84 says:

    Universal knows exactly what Peter Jackson is doing and they ok’d everything here. They’re just expecting a huge blockbuster.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    That’s basically what the story says: the movie’s bigger and longer than anyone expected, but they story doesn’t make it out to be a debacle and everyone’s anthusiastic about it.
    (Agreeing with Joefitz?!?)

  37. b diddy says:

    What movies last summer cost more than this and didn’t make $200m? The Island, Kingdom of Heaven and something else?

  38. jeffmcm says:

    Poland is talking about worldwide box office. Kingdom of Heaven is up to $210m worldwide. The Island only made it to $160. Stealth is the big loser with worldwide box office just over $70.

  39. Josh says:

    Stealth was a huge bomb. I bet Jamie Foxx erased it from his resume. And even left Bait there.

  40. joefitz84 says:

    It’s about time you made the move to the good side, jeff. I’m welcoming you with open arms.
    Universal is seeing huge numbers. Sometimes it costs money to make money. Look at Lord of the Rings. They’re drooling to be in the Peter Jackson business. Whats a few bucks?

  41. ZacharyTF says:

    “10. There will be at least two films more costly than King Kong next summer. There were three last year and four in 2003. None of them failed to crack $200 million worldwide.”
    Actually, this means that all 7 movies made at least $200 million worldwide. What were the 7?
    I’m guessing that one of the two next summer is Mission Impossible 3.

  42. David Poland says:

    Occasionally, I think the NYT does set into an agenda. But not here.
    I think what happens is that the story gets defined by a detail or two and for whatever reasons, the paper gets obsessed with the “hot story” and often “the premature story” and pushes in one direction… which is not good reporting, but even worse editing.
    Of course, a lot of people at the Times agree and everytime I write something like this, I here why its not this one’s fault or that… but someone has to take responsibility. Or not. That seems to be the mindset over there now. Even when they take responsibility, it is usually for the wrong fault.

  43. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    THe only pre-LOTR movie by Peter Jackson that was actually good was Heavenly Creatures and obviously that small movie didn’t lend itself to 3 hours.
    I’ll be interested to see what they have added to the essential story of King Kong. Obviously with technology nowadays they have added a whole bunch of monsters and such that will take up some time. I’m tipping a good 50 minutes until we see Kong through the doors, and however much longer until we see him in his full deal.
    The scenes in NY though look absolutely stunning in the trailer.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    I’m sorry you feel that way, Camel…I think Jackson has yet to make a bad movie. I just hope he isn’t too pretentious with Kong. The movie he’s making now, post-Oscars, is certain to be different from the one he was going to make after The Frighteners (his weakest movie. But still fun).

  45. jeffmcm says:

    Joefitz: I appreciate your welcome, but no thanks.

  46. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I could not even finish watching “Bad Taste”, unfortunately. I can stand amateur movies but that was just too much. And for an el cheapo amateur movie they certainly put in as much really bad/fake looking gore as they could mustre.
    If that constitutes good filmmaking then I should go out and make my own and then in 20 years time people will fawn and say it’s great.
    Actually… that’s a good plan.

  47. Martin S says:

    Wrecktum is dead-on. What I think is being lost by Jackson is that this story, as a movie, is so well known and played out, that you stand a good chance of boring people to death.
    Now, if the extra time is spent exploring Skull Island, he’s got a good chance of making a perfect Lost World/Kong/Jurassic Park film.
    But, if he spends the time exploring the characters – what brought Denham to shoot this film, etc, etc… it’s going to drop huge because they are not the draw.
    In other words, if PJ decides to make the Denham character a metaphor for himself, Uni is in deep doo-doo.

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