All entries for Sunday 11 March 2007

March 11, 2007

DVD Review: King Kong

3 out of 5 stars

So, following the massive success of the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, here’s what Peter Jackson did next. All $207 million of it. And to be honest I ended up on the fast-forward button.

In a nutshell, filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) hires struggling vaudeville actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) for his new film, setting sail for Skull Island. Darrow is then captured by locals and offered as a sacrifice to the eponymous ape which is then recaptured and brought to New York, where he predictably runs amok.

While the film looked great, too much of it was eerily similar what we’d seen in the Lord of the Rings; the walls of Skull Island looked like Mordor, the locals could interchangeably stand in as orcs, the jungle was Fangorn Forest and so on. It just seemed, for want of a better word, lazy. And despite the fact the film was released 12 years after Jurassic Park, the CG dinosaurs were nowhere near as convincing. The escapade on Skull Island itself is the principal problem; it’s far too long. Like other films we know the ending to, such as [shudders] Titanic, we know what the denouement is and would like to be taken there in a prompt and orderly fashion.

It’s a shame, because the acting is quite good; Watts performs the role of Darrow well, and Black is always engaging. If I could give it 2-and-a-half stars I could, but 3 will have to do.

PS: On a pedantic note, how many chemists do you know that can throw 2.5 L winchesters of chloroform (density 1.49 times that of water) great distances…?

Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

3 out of 5 stars

This is the follow up to Arcade Fire’s debut album, Funeral (2005). The critics on Newsnight Review came to verbal blows two weeks ago, producing amounts of pompous bluster even this viewer thought impossible on that particular programme.

Whereas in Funeral the atmosphere was sombre (inevitable given the subject material) yet somehow uplifting at the same time, Neon Bible has an ominous, portentous tone from the opening Black Mirror. Perhaps it’s a little bit too wrapped up in the politics and fears of the moment, but there are still 5 or 6 outstanding tracks on it. Sadly, 3 or 4 are far from outstanding (including the truly dismal title track) which is in contrast to the first album.

That said, it’s probably the only album you’ll ever own that has a church organ on it; to very great effect in Intervention (a wall of noise) but less so in the last track, My Body Is A Cage which is basically House of The Rising Sun

I can’t give it 3-and-a-half stars, so I’ll stick to 3. Too many duff tracks for 4 stars.
Download: Black Mirror, Intervention, Ocean of Noise, No Cars Go

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