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Thursday, December 15, 2005

[General] Hot in the Ciii-tay

You know what it’s a really nice day today. It’s warm and muggy (20º and 80% humidity). It makes walking feel like wading through warm water, not quite as bad as Singapore, but still gooood.

For this reason I am not writing my long-awaited (by me) post on the new weather patterns we are seeing and the possible ill effects, even for the rich folks.

Instead I thought I’d tell you about my day yesterday. I attended a conference that was being put on by a large analytical software company. As part of the conference (and a big incentive to buy their product) the company gave each attendee a ticket to see the premiere of King Kong at Reading Cinemas.

This was, of course, far from the “star”-studded event down the road. Though I’m not sure what makes Don Brash a star? Wasn’t this the man whose election promise was to slash creative funding? The event was perhaps better described as a “star-dusted affair” with the films main actors (sans Jack Black) walking the red carpet, then sneaking out, then sneaking back in for the end. Yes that’s right, we saw you!

I’m not going to give anything away but the film is bloody good! I haven’t sent the original (nor the 70’s version) so I can’t compare stories or atmosphere but the new one is very well done.

The film revels in scenes that have no music. My friends and I have often discussed the way a good scene can be completely ruined by the perceived need for “atmospheric music”. Kong has some very long scenes that have no music at all, and I loved it. Though it may have to do with the following piece of trivia:

Howard Shore had written and recorded much of the score for this film, but shortly before release, he departed from the project. Peter Jackson stated that because of "differing creative aspirations" between the two of them, they both thought it best for Shore to be replaced by James Newton Howard, who was given less than two months to write and record new score for the entire film.

Kong is actually a character and is more the hero than any of his non-digital counterparts, he is also more fleshed out (un-intended pun). Black’s character, Carl Denham, is the exception. Denham can be seen moving through various phases as the circumstances change. Nicely done, but I doubt he (or Adrien Brody) will get the Best Supporting Actor Oscars the studio believes they will.

The effects were convincing. Well I was convinced. Though there was one thing that did piss me off a bit: no one in the film seems to have a fear of heights. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean.

It takes a gigantic Kong-sized dump on the last movie I saw: War of the Worlds (Spielberg Edition). That film was so full of holes and crap acting that it took the idea of “suspended belief” and tied a big fucking anchor to it so that belief stayed well and truly grounded. The small “mob scene” is great and scary but did not save that film. The use of what looked like stock footage and handheld cameras were good and innovative but didn’t happen enough and so didn’t save the film.

Speaking of that. Man was WOTW full of plot and goofs holes! I now have to see the Pendragon Films version which was released at the same time, but stayed as close to the book as possible (to the point where they were wondering if not using an actual culvert would piss fans off). Then again, maybe not. That’ll teach me to stop reading books.

Oh and for those who are interested (which is no one). I am still wading through Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in America: Collected letters from 1968-1976. I’m up to Jan 29, 1970.

And for those visitors from the KF Monkey who are thinking “all this guy does is write about sport”. Hell Hamsters in now in post-production (though there will be a Christmas break) and the official site is up. It is gonna be a great “date flick” with more internal consistency than War of the Worlds.

All photos for today’s blog were kindly supplied by Jenny.


mike said...

Wow - that Pendragon Films WOTW has some of the lowest-rated user comments I've ever seen! That's almost enough on its own to make me want to see the movie. Well, you know what they say, Hadyn, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

(And definitely don't leave it to Spielberg to do a rush job. I actually thought his version had enough redeeming features to not make it the worst film ever, but oh how it should have been so much better. I hope David Koepp didn't get his usual fee for this.)

And you're right about suspension of disbelief - that's one of my biggest bugbears about movies...hmmm, I think there's a blog entry of my own in there.

ben.run said...

I saw War of the Worlds on a plane. It was a rubbish movie., The only thing good about it was the cool sound the tripods made.