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David Poland

By David Poland

Irony Of The Week

Andy Klein spent so much time obsessing on the length of the new King Kong (which ultimately ends up with no real answer about what he thinks should have been left out) that in the print version, the review is too long to fit on the page he was assigned.

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82 Responses to “Irony Of The Week”

  1. qwiggles says:

    It would be more ironic if he were arguing that it should have been shorter.

  2. qwiggles says:

    Um. Longer.
    *pause* Let’s just strike my previous comment from the record altogether!

  3. Angelus21 says:

    What could have been taken out? Maybe shorten up the first 45 minutes but the last two acts certainly make up for it.

  4. Blackcloud says:

    “What could have been taken out?”
    A lot of Skull Island: the brontosaurus stampede and the spider pit scene, to name two. Those can go as a whole. The T-rex fight could be a lot shorter. The Heart of Darkness nonsense (what is this, Apocalypse Now?). And the first 45 minutes definitely should be the first 20.

  5. James Leer says:

    All the scenes where Jack Black is negotiating with the Venture staff over whether they’re going to go to Skull Island. We KNOW they’re going to go there. So get us there!
    The interminable sequence where the Venture beaches itself on Skull Island.
    A lot of the early sequences could stand to lose a minute or two. The early Jack Black scenes, for all Black’s vim and vigor, feel slack and long.
    See, I’d have no inherent problem with the first hour if it was actually used to give us character development with Ann and Jack. Unfortunately, Jamie Bell, Thomas Kretchmann, and Jack Black get more screen time than either of them and to what end?

  6. James Leer says:

    Also, it wouldn’t have saved much time but it definitely would have saved face: no terrible, jaggy-frame slow-mo!

  7. Blackcloud says:

    What was the deal with that scene where the chloroform bottle turns up? The one where the captain tells the Chinese guy to put them away. I expected some payoff from that, and not that they use that stuff on Kong.

  8. Blackcloud says:

    “Also, it wouldn’t have saved much time but it definitely would have saved face: no terrible, jaggy-frame slow-mo!”
    You are my hero!!!

  9. EDouglas says:

    They should have gotten rid of the fight with the bat creatures from Van Helsing….the fact that Kong made less than that with so much praise is more embarassing for Universal.

  10. Blackcloud says:

    One scene I like from the 1976 Kong is the one where Jeff Bridges realizes that Kong is going to go to the WTC. Why will he do that? Because it reminds him of home. The only reason Kong climbs the ESB this time is because that’s what he did before. That was . . . underwhelming.

  11. AgentArc says:

    What could have been cut? Uhhhh, are we forgetting we already have a perfect 90 minute cut of the movie?
    Whew… The flick’s first act just doesn’t work. For any other movie it would have been fantastic, but with the knowledge of Kong just right around the corner (as seen in countless trailers, unlike how Spielberg hid the shark / dinosaurs / aliens), it just all falls apart.
    Clearly everything with Jimmy could’ve been cut. What exactly was the point of the ending car chase? The ending to the stampede needed serious work. The bug scene could’ve done without the machinegun sniping. Denham and Ann easily could’ve had quicker introductions. The list goes on, if you really look for it.
    What should have been expanded was Denham thinking about taking Kong back with them. It just comes outta nowhere in this version.

  12. Rufus Masters says:

    I liked the opening set up. I am a sucker for character stuff.

  13. James Leer says:

    Also, I didn’t see the point to prolonging Ann’s kidnapping by the natives. They ALMOST get her while on the island…but then everyone gets away and goes back to the boat. Not that anything important happens with the characters there, as Watts has no dialogue, Brody is unconscious, and the natives eventually DO appear and kidnap Ann. Why didn’t they get her the first time, you know? What was gained, story-wise, in those extra ten minutes? That’s how the whole movie felt to me…prolonged. And it really makes you appreciate “Titanic,” where every single scene moves the story further.

  14. lindenen says:

    Is it too late to perform emergency surgery on this film and chop out an hour+?

  15. Blackcloud says:

    As my brother said, “He should release an un-extended edition . . . The editor’s cut.”

  16. Krazy Eyes says:

    I also thought the film felt way to long and I’m usually a sucker for 3 hour films. I would have ditched Jamie Bell’s entire character. He adds nothing to the plot, his entire arc amounts to zilch, and then he’s entire forgotten about after the caprture of Kong.

  17. Crow T Robot says:

    – The Jack Black “patronize the kid with a candy bar” thing was the most dead-on Spielberg poke I’ve seen in a movie. The child ends up really wanting a bite of him!
    – It’s funny that each of the three Kong films includes a tasteless moment where Kong throws away “the wrong Ann Darrow.” Love it.
    – Enjoyed how the cheesy movie they were shooting on the Venture was a word-for-word scene from the Cooper film.
    – Liked the fresh twists in scenes like the capturing of Kong on Skull Island and Ann’s location when he’s breaking out of the theater.
    – “Bring the wide angle lens.”
    – And the strobe effect (used before in the Morukai (?) running in Fellowship) was too much. Took you out of the movie for a bit. Good call.

  18. Melquiades says:

    I agree with some of what’s been posted here… but at the same time I didn’t really feel the film took too long to get to Kong. It felt about right to me.
    That said, the crash landing could have been tightened up a lot, and those slow-mo zooms were totally unnecessary.
    In the second act, the stampede and the bug scene could have been trimmed. I wouldn’t change a frame of the T (V)-Rex fight, though… that was brilliant.
    I could have done with a little less ‘airplanes circling Kong on the ESB’ stuff, too.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    I watched the new DVD with the director’s cut of The Frighteners a few nights ago, and the shorter theatrical cut was the better version. The movie’s kind of frantic to begin with, but the extra stuff in the director’s cut makes the movie downright annoying, and none of the new material adds anything significant to the film.

  20. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    the spider/bug scene in the pit should’ve been scrapped altogether. Not only was the shooting bugs off of Adrian Brody incredibly silly, but the entire scene was pointless and they could’ve killed those non-speaking extras another way.
    They didn’t need to expand on scenes such as the abducting one. It was fine in the original.
    And the dino stampede went on for waaay too long and was rediculous how all the main characters (including a tubby guy carrying a camera) just miraculously survived. And yes a bunch from the start could’ve been scrapped. It isn’t character development to just have characters walk around doing stuff. And it’s not like we didn’t know Jack Black’s character from the very start.
    For a very straight forward three-act film they managed to put a lot of pointless junk in there.

  21. frankbooth says:

    “Also, I didn’t see the point to prolonging Ann’s kidnapping by the natives. They ALMOST get her while on the island…Why didn’t they get her the first time, you know?”
    I thought the exact same thing as I was watching. Then we could have avoided the pole-vaulting native, which got bad laughs.
    And I also hate that jerky slo-mo business. It looks cheap in a big-budget film, and reminds me of the murder reenactments on TV true-crime shows.
    Did the depiction of the natives make anyone else uncomfortable? They went beyond sterotypes–they were zombie-orc monsters.
    And where the hell was Brody trying to lead Kong with the taxi? I assumed he had some clever plan, but apparently not.
    Despite all this, I liked it. Kong had real personality, and the CGI on him was the best ever. Almost everyone seems to agree, the length is the major problem.
    Didn’t they release a PG cut of Saturday Night Fever during its first run? Maybe they can still cut 45 minutes out of Kong. A four-hour long director’s cut with ten more minutes of stampede, fifteen more of bugs and entire chapters of Conrad read aloud could be saved for the DVD.

  22. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    oh, yeah, i liked it too! It’s just one of those movies where the negatives become a real sticking point.
    The pole-vaulting native was indeed a silly mistake.
    However, am I the only one who remembers the trailer including a scene on the island’s shore with Jack Black filming Naomi Watts screaming and then we hear Kong? And am I the only one who didn’t remember that scene being in the final product….?

  23. jeffmcm says:

    Considering that the zombie/orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies were already squirm-inducingly racist, the Kong natives didn’t seem so bad.

  24. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    But Kong’s natives sort of felt like evil Polynesian Islanders who want to kill everyone!!!!!! They also seem like they perform some sort of ancient voodoo.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Going back a little, yes, there was a scene where they were filming on the beach. It must have originally existed right before they go into the village and get ambushed. So we all know what’s coming: 3 1/2 hour director’s cut spread over probably 4 discs.

  26. Bruce says:

    I’m usually not a fan of directors getting final cut and including everything they want in a final picture. But here I wouldn’t have cut anything. I thought it all was needed.

  27. Blackcloud says:

    I’ve been complaining about Jackson’s melodramatics–the annoying close-up reaction shots and the insipid slo-mo–since The Two Towers. It’s nice to see others catching on.

  28. AgentArc says:

    Honestly, the feeling I and my friends had after the showing was being underwhelmed. Not thinking the movie was bad, just direly underwhelmed.
    $207 million for that? I would think that Jackson could’ve pulled off something this mundane for half that price.

  29. Blackcloud says:

    Underwhelming is a great way to describe the movie, Arc, a great way.

  30. Crow T Robot says:

    Am I alone in saying that shooting bugs off a man with a tommy gun was an inspired bit of comedy?
    Heck, that’s the reason I go to popcorn movies like this in the first place.
    Munich this ain’t. Lighten up.

  31. Krazy Eyes says:

    It would have been inspired comedy if it had been funny. Very little of the humor worked in the film for me.

  32. Crow T Robot says:

    The moment where Brody saw that his crotch was in danger of taking a round was very funny. His look to Jamie Bell said: “You can stop saving my life now.”
    But what do I know? I bite the heads off fish!

  33. Terence D says:

    Peter Jackson getting some vicious backlash already. Doesn’t he get a few movies before that happens?

  34. Blackcloud says:

    It ain’t backlash for me. I was calling him out after the abysmal “Two Towers”.

  35. Krazy Eyes says:

    I still love Peter Jackson and look forward to whatever he does next . . . I just don’t think he did a particularly good job with KING KONG. I think his love of the original film seriously clouded his sense of judgement.

  36. BluStealer says:

    Didn’t the 3rd one make you forget any flaws the 2nd one had? Don’t nitpick.

  37. Blackcloud says:

    ^ No, because the third one had flaws, too. It was just better, anyway. The first one also has flaws, but it is a magnificent movie regardless. Far and away the best of the series. The other two never came close to matching it.

  38. Lynn says:

    “Considering that the zombie/orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies were already squirm-inducingly racist, the Kong natives didn’t seem so bad.”
    You are talking about… orcs? Orcs are… racist? Now I really have heard it all.
    Orcs are orcs. That is their race. Not black, white, or anything else. Orc. They were (as Saruman says in one of the films) a twisted, sick form of Elves. The fact that some of them were darker-complected (and some, for that matter, lighter) does not make them anything that might logically be the equivalent of a human race. And orcs aren’t “zombies” either.
    It seems especially silly to equate dark skin = bad considering that the main bad guys you actually see on the screen (Saruman, Wormtongue) are unquestionably white guys. Sauron and the Witch-King would be white, too, if they still had bodies, and all 🙂
    If you are talking about the human Easterings and Southrons in The Two Towers and Return of the King, they are clearly depicted in the books as being darker-skinned than your average Gondorian… they are probably the equivalent of western Asian and north African peoples.
    Jackson was in a difficult position there — he was either going to be accused of racism if he used darker-skinned actors or being overly politically correct if he didn’t. I’m personally glad he went with the book. (Which, if you read, you’ll see there are reasons those nations/peoples ended up on the wrong side… they are not inherently evil like orcs.)
    If you want to talk about squirm-inducingly racist with no rationale whatsoever, how about those guys with the big eyes who sounded like they were speaking Chinese in Star Wars…

  39. AgentArc says:

    The ‘savages’ of Skull Island were always one dimensional, and to make them anything else would be walking the line of smart or hokey.
    That said, another part of humor that didn’t work was the whole ‘We’ll dedicate this picture to his memory’. That fell flat.
    Humor that did work? Ummm… Well, anything Bruce Baxter worked. Hell, when I saw the mustache on the poster, I thought ‘You know, that look might work for you’, and sure enough… Hehe.
    Jackson never impressed me until RotK, where the sheer scope just bowled over my senses. While I didn’t enjoy Braindead, I think he should give the Zombie genre another shot. We still don’t have the ID4 of zombie movies that we all secretly crave.
    Also pleased to see his next project being much smaller.

  40. Josh says:

    Orc’s racist?
    You got to be kidding me.

  41. Bruce says:

    What savages or storm troopers or nameless soldier in a movie isn’t one dimensional????
    Some of you got your priorities out of whack. Lighten up.

  42. AgentArc says:

    Sorry Mac, I don’t eat a sandwich if it’s filled with dung, no matter how good the bread looks. =D

  43. jeffmcm says:

    Lynn, to adopt your language regarding the Chinese aliens in Phantom Menace: they were not a race. They were Neimoidians. They’re not Asian or any ethnicity. That’s just what they happen to look, sound, and dress like. It was just a big coincidence that they resembled Charlie Chans from Outer Space.
    The simple fact, and it doesn’t destroy the movies for me, is that LOTR is a series in which a bunch of nordic white people are desperately fighting for survival against hordes of undifferentiated evil ‘other’ people. Take that as you will.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    I should point out that this is a theme in Western civilization that Tolkien was tapping into: fear of the barbarian horde, be it Mongol, Hun, Ottoman, or whatnot.

  45. Mark Ziegler says:

    Some people will find racism everywhere in every corner of the world.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, funny about that.

  47. Mark Ziegler says:

    Yea, its hysterical.

  48. Hopscotch says:

    I think what Kong is revealing is the Peter Jackson fan base, and exactly how large it is. Surely, not every fan of Lord of the Rings will flock to see Kong (and see it the extra number of times).
    I saw all three Rings movie on opening day. Right now I’m on the fence to see Kong now or wait for DVD. And yes, part of it is the length for me. 3 damn hours? Well I did just sit through the New World which I bet every lover of that film will admit that it could be niney minutes, easy.

  49. joefitz84 says:

    Good thing Jackson did Kong now before his smaller film. When you’re hot, use that to make the biggest film you can. Your dream film.

  50. Hopscotch says:

    And rake in the dough!!

  51. Angelus21 says:

    Who can blame him? He did say King Kong was his dream project. And if a studio is going to throw tons of dough at you to make your dream project???
    I’m going for it.

  52. Hopscotch says:

    Not a person in this country would refuse. I say good for PJ. It doesn’t mean, though, that all movie audiences will be on board.

  53. Rufus Masters says:

    After a big hit you get the leeway to make one film on your own. He took it and ran with it.
    The more power to him.

  54. Sanchez says:

    One thing I’m confident of?
    PJ won’t be hurtin for work in the near future. Or money.

  55. Josh says:

    What’s Peter Jackson’s next film? Anyone know of hand?

  56. Lynn says:

    He’s option Alice Seybold’s The Lovely Bones, and it’s been assumed he’d do that next.
    Unless, I suppose, The Hobbit legal issues get worked out pretty quick… if he’s ever going to do that, I’m sure he’d want to work with Ian McKellan again, before he gets too old to take on what would be a pretty demanding role.

  57. Hopscotch says:

    I beleive he and his writing team are working on “The Lovely Bones”, a book I haven’t read. But it’s small. NO zombies, orcs or gorillas.
    and he’s producing Halo 2.

  58. jeffmcm says:

    Bold choice to make a Halo sequel before the original Halo movie has been made.

  59. Angelus21 says:

    I’d like to see The Hobbit but he really should have made that one while they filmed the trilogy.

  60. Blackcloud says:

    “Bold choice to make a Halo sequel before the original Halo movie has been made.” LOL
    As a big fan of both Halos, I was pleased to see Jackson sign on to bring them to the screen. I have been critical of him in the past, but I think he brings instant credibility and legitimacy to the enterprise. It’s a good fit between talent and story.

  61. jeffmcm says:

    Angelus, just wanted to make sure you’re aware of the legal quagmire involving rights for The Hobbit…everyone would like to make that movie sooner rather than later.

  62. Lynn says:

    “The simple fact, and it doesn’t destroy the movies for me, is that LOTR is a series in which a bunch of nordic white people are desperately fighting for survival against hordes of undifferentiated evil ‘other’ people. Take that as you will.”
    Jeff, I take that as you not knowing anything about the underlying mythology, which is understandable if you haven’t read the books, or the Silmarillion. There was simply no way to work all the backstory into the films. But it really isn’t true, and it’s kind of sad that you see it that way. I would argue just the opposite — the LotR is about members of very different races who haven’t always gotten along very well (Elves, Men of various nations, Dwarves and Hobbits, etc.) who join to prevent the world from falling into complete darkness.
    “I should point out that this is a theme in Western civilization that Tolkien was tapping into: fear of the barbarian horde, be it Mongol, Hun, Ottoman, or whatnot.”
    I disagree completely, and I don’t find that *at all* in the books. (For one thing, Tolkien hated any form of allegory — loudly and persistently.) But within the story itself, there are good (but complicated) reasons that the Easterlings and Southrons have fallen under the influence of Sauron. They are not inherently evil, unlike the orcs, who are a twisted and destroyed form of life. And for the most part, Aragorn (as King Elessar) makes peace with the other nations of men after the Ring War.
    I’m afraid you’re bringing a lot of modern baggage into the story that wasn’t intended by the author (or the filmmakers). Really… sometimes and orc is just an orc.

  63. jeffmcm says:

    Lynn, Tolkien could have spent ten thousand pages chronicling the complex economic and social factors involved in the rise of Sauron, but the fact remains that it was a work of fiction. I’m not saying he was consciously writing literal allegory, but certainly the Rings novels are part of a literary tradition. After all, that’s why the stories resonate: because they tap into something in our collective histories and nightmares.
    I’m not saying Tolkien or Jackson are racists. Just that there’s an unavoidable subtext in the stories. But it’s okay if you don’t believe me.

  64. jeffmcm says:

    Sorry, that last line sounded condescending. I meant to say, the issue is up for debate, and I could supply other critics to at least prove I’m not pulling this out of my ass.

  65. Kambei says:

    I enjoyed Kong quite a lot, although i felt a bit let down in comparison to the rave reviews i had read. Although some questionable CGI dinosaurs took me out of the movie for a few moments, the CGI Kong astounded me. But overall, i just felt it was a decent movie, no emotional punch.
    However, now that I am seeing TV spots and hearing radio ads with Coldplay’s “Fix You”, the clips suddenly have a lot more emotional resonance. The right song at the right time or just some time to let the story of Kong sink in?
    I might actually see it again, although i wasn’t going to after first viewing.
    (and i completely agree with Lynn on the LOTR issue. it is easy to bring racism baggage to those movies, because it is about conflicts between races, species and societies. They are not meant to reflect specific human races, however. and i strongly agree that a major theme is about how success can only be achieved by people from all races (and species) working together against evil and chaos (hence the Fellowship))

  66. bicycle bob says:

    in rings every race does work together and come together to overcome great evil.

  67. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Hopscotch – i’d suggest seeing Kong on the big screen. I can’t imagine how much less satifying it would be on the small screen. And if you saw it on DVD and loved it you’ll regret it!
    “Honestly, the feeling I and my friends had after the showing was being underwhelmed. Not thinking the movie was bad, just direly underwhelmed.”
    that is definitely the feeling I and my friends had. We didn’t not like it, it’s just that it wasn’t as good as I figured it’d be. I never was TOO excited about it (3 hours about a gorilla just seemed like overkill from the moment I read that) but definitely wanted to see it. Alas…
    however, if “Heavenly Creatures” (his greatest movie yet) is any indicator the smaller Lovely Bones may be the best way to do – i haven’t read the book though.
    The racist Orcs thing is interesting in that Tolkien wrote LOTR at a time when racism was quite the discussion. His decision to have a race of “black” orcs being lead by a white leader, could well be used as a alagory for homogenous white power leading to social unrest.
    But that’s just a wanky writing school discussion right there (I took a Myths & Symbology module in my uni course)

  68. BluStealer says:

    Kong on the big screen was the most fun movie this year. I got over the slow start. It really was a ride. I hope I don’t get quoted by Universal. LOL.

  69. combat_wombat says:

    I believe that inside the great bloated thing that is the current version of Kong is a genuinely brilliant movie trying to get out. For me, the fault lies in the weak script and bad structure it forces on the film and the fact that almost every scene goes on for at least 25% too long.
    I can’t wait for it to come to DVD when, you can be sure, some online smart alec will rip it and re-cut it shorter and better. Just like they did with the Star Wars prequels. The democritization of the art form…or just illegal and immoral despoiling of art?

  70. Angelus21 says:

    I feel most 3 hour movies are bloated and could use an editor or two.

  71. jeffmcm says:

    You could also say that you’re getting more for your money…A ticket for King Kong costs as much as a ticket for, say, Yours Mine and Hours and you get twice as much movie.
    Angelus, you want to tell us some other movies you thought were bloated?

  72. Hopscotch says:

    What jeffmcm means by that Angelus, is that have you seen Munich yet, and don’t you agree with me that it’s bloated.
    Any movie directed by Kevin Costner could have 30 minutes shaved off.

  73. jeffmcm says:

    That is not what I mean at all.

  74. Bruce says:

    If you don’t agree with Jeff you are in for two days of nonstop arguing and putdowns. SO be warned.

  75. jeffmcm says:

    You’re only in for an argument with me if you say something dumb…which some people do more than others. Much more.

  76. jeffmcm says:

    ANYWAY, I was just curious to hear Angelus say some other movies that he thought were too long. It reminds me of what Siskel (I think) said: every bad movie is too long, and no good movie is long enough.

  77. Angelus21 says:

    I think my statement that most 3 hr movies are bloated is enough. Why bore everyone with a list? I can take a good 3 hour movie as much as the next guy but they are few and far between. For every classic like The Godfather there are a hundred bloated 3 hour borefests. That shouldn’t have been made. Giving final cut to directors really kills some movies.

  78. jeffmcm says:

    It was a simple question. Why bore everyone with anything on this blog? It exists for discussion.
    I agree, some directors deserve final cut more than others.

  79. bicycle bob says:

    even spielberg shouldnt have final cut. u dont think a few cuts would have helped ai, catch me if u can, and war of the worlds?

  80. Hopscotch says:

    Two words: Martin Brest. That guy slit his own throat with his last three movies.

  81. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “Any movie directed by Kevin Costner could have 30 minutes shaved off.”
    Even Open Range? That was great!
    And, yes, it’s now as if these huge directors don’t know that people get tired of over-long movies. That goes out to Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Jackson and at times Mr. Scorsese (although 3 hours wasn’t enough for The Aviator)

  82. jeffmcm says:

    I said it before, but I think people would have liked War of the Worlds better if it was 5 minutes longer – especially at the end, with a bit more of a wrap-up before Morgan Freeman came back. I guess they could have made it up by trimming some of the ‘hiding from the alien’ scene.

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