The Masked Reviewer hasn't seen King
Kong, at least not the 2005 version. This will be a No-Look
Review (tm). Why? Because the screening for the film happens
the day before it opens, and the Masked Reviewer will be out of town.
They just announced the screening, less than a week hence (that's a good
word, hence the Masked Reviewer will utilize it).
After the Masked
Reviewer actually sees the film, the review will be adjusted
accordingly. The Masked Reviewer is nothing if not fair and balanced.
Perhaps the movie itself will sway the Masked Reviewer's opinion.
First of all, one has to wonder why the screening is being held the
day before it opens. Typically, this is a very bad thing.
Film companies love to have the films screened a week (or more!) before
it opens, so that they can get the buzz machine a-churnin'. When
they do a last-second screening, they don't give the reviewers much time
to come up with witty puns to suggest that the movie isn't good.
"This movie should make like a giant banana and split." "You'll
want to throw your own feces at the screen." Or, perhaps the
straightforward approach: "King Kong? More like King
At least there will be a screening before it opens. Some films
never have a screening. Remember From Justin to Kelly?
No, of course you don't. Be glad. Let's just say that
Gigli had a screening the day before it opened, too.
But, maybe the movie is so good that the studios don't want to
risk piracy. That's possible. Cling to that hope.
Another unusual fact: the movie opens on a Wednesday. This is
done by the studios to generate much bigger weekend numbers...because
they count Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the
opening weekend. It's a way to bolster the numbers and get
momentum. Typically this is done on or around a holiday, not in
the middle of the week in December. Why didn't they open on
Christmas Day? Well, maybe it is good and they know that
people will see it and tell their friends in the two weeks before
Christmas. Or maybe not.
What else do we know about the movie? It's directed by Peter
Jackson. He did that other series of movies, Lord of the Rings.
Perhaps you've heard of it. That information alone will be the
deciding factor for most moviegoers. If you loved Lord of the
Rings, you'll be there on opening day for King Kong. If
you thought Lord of the Rings was great only in terms of being
over-rated, you'll probably pass on it.
This may be a mistake. Peter Jackson has done some entertaining
movies, and the source material for King Kong is quite different
than the J.R. Tolkien novels. For instance, there are no giant
gorillas in Lord of the Rings. Are there? There might
have been, actually. But that's beside the point.
One can expect some stunning visuals. He shot King Kong
in New Zealand, which has beautiful scenery. He's working with the
best effects people in the business (show business, that is). Even
so, the clips don't really make the Masked Reviewer want to go out and
climb the Empire State Building. It looks fine, and it's probably
a big action movie with a lot of CG. Then again, so was the remake
The fact is, unlike getting a seat on the Supreme Court, most viewers
will be able to know if they'll love or hate King Kong by taking
the following litmus test: if you loved Lord of the Rings, you'll
love King Kong. If you didn't love it (or didn't like it)
you probably won't like King Kong. That's the Masked
But what about the Jack Black factor? Jack Black plays...some
guy...and so does Adrien Brody (who either won or was nominated for an
Academy Award (tm), so he must be good). Does that combination
work? Popular guy, serious actor? Well, remember how it
worked for the 1976 version of King Kong with popular guy Jeff
Bridges and serious actress Jessica Lange (who either won or was
nominated for an Academy Award (tm), too). The gorilla probably
looks better in this version.
So, in conclusion, when the Masked Reviewer actually sees this film,
he'll give it a rating. Maybe he's wrong, but his guess is that it
will be visually impressive, kind of unfulfilling, and almost certainly
way too long. Jack Black will probably seem like an odd choice,
but there's only one way to know for sure...stay tuned!
Expectation from the Title: In trying to come up with a name
for their chocolately cake product, the manufacturers tried everything.
Sing Song. Ping Pong. Bing Bong. Wing Wong. One
night, when the doorbell rang, a lightbulb went off in Mark's head...the
guy at the door was wearing a gorilla suit...and a snack food legend was
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
That gorilla is probably very good to his mother.
The Pros: Well, without seeing it, it's hard to say, but let's
go out on a limb and say "visuals."
The Cons: Again, not having seen it, it's just a stab in the
dark, but how about "cheesey Jack Black performance."