Tuesday, December 20, 2005

King Kong

I recently saw King Kong. I must say I was surprised.. till I found out who directed it (Peter Jackson of LOTR fame, for the uninitiated). I had expected a lot of things, after all I think certain fragments of popular culture (King Kong, Godzilla etcetera etcetera etcetera) are so embedded in our minds like relics of a not-so-distant past- huge and undeniable ad unavoidable - that we cannot revisit a reconstruction of them without some form of prejudice or biased expectation. I had expected a lot of things from a Blockbuster and that too, one with such a history, but POIGNANCY! Never.

Blockbusters have become a sort of derogatory tag. At least for me, the name conjures up visions of overhyped mediocrity. A cleverly packaged and publisized pandering to the least common denominator. Take Spiderman, I have nothing against him or the movie, I rather liked the second installment but once again, what I had liked in it most were the parts that did not scream blockbuster, the slow parts, the internal battle as opposed to the climactic Good vs Evil which is essential to any blockbuster.

Which is why I loved War of the worlds. Because I did not have to suffer "And meanwhile, in the White House.." sequences. The almost voyeuristic approach to an event in the life of an insignificant man, an event so enormous as to almost infuse claustrophobia at having to watch it unfold through one narrow perspective. But It is without the trappings of the formulaic mutiple-angle, sweeping big-picture treatment that one can immerse oneself in the tribulations of a character, it is there that we mirror his fabricated emotion captured on the big screen with our real ones- fear, anger, hate, ecstacy.

There are genuine moments of fear (it would be a gross injustice to call them moments, rather large chunks of time) where one is shocked and petrified and gripping the edge of the seat and yet simply cannot tear one's eyes away from the screen. The scene in War of the worlds where the young girl looks on as bodies float past in the swift current of a bloodied river, THAT was authentic shock and horror. Moments like those leave a lasting impression long after the credits roll. The same can be said for the sequence in KK where the film's protagonist(s?) are confronted with the island dwellers. It's been a long time since I've felt genuine fear while watching a movie.

The film IS slow-moving at first, but the rest is a whirlwind despite the three hour long duration and the final moments are quietly heartbreaking. I strongly recommend anyone to watch it. One of the best movies I've watched this year, right up there with Revenge of the Sith.
Well, I had originally intended NOT to write a review. This post was supposed to be about something else! But then again, I promised myself I will not spend too much time updating my posts..

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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