Kong, The Eighth Wonder of the World

Sandra and I decided that King Kong was the one film we had to see together this holiday season. Then, like a jerk, I decided I couldn't wait until next Thursday when we can both find time and a babysitter, so I went and saw it alone yesterday. You need to see this film in theaters. I probably didn't need to tell you that. I mean, come on... GIANT GORILLA. You've seen the trailers, I'm sure. Often with trailers that good, I'm worried that they've shown me all the best parts of the film. Not so with King Kong. They've shown you tiny snippets taken from some of the best parts of the film, and they've very thoughtfully NOT shown you some of the VERY best bits. I remember reading "Liberty Meadows" one day, and Frank Cho had drawn a gorilla fighting a bunch of velociraptors. The caption was along the lines of "Sorry, no story today. I just wanted to draw a monkey beating up on a bunch of dinosaurs." Now, students of Cho's work will likely tell you that this was a dig at the syndicates, because "monkey-boy" Frank Cho was sometimes at odds with his employers, the "dinosaur" syndicate editors. Regardless, I like to think that he really DID just want to draw a monkey fighting with dinosaurs. And if I'm right, Frank Cho will weep tears of joy while watching King Kong, because it will fulfill his darkest monkey-punching fantasies. (Yes, I know, Kong is an APE, not a MONKEY. Understand, however, that "monkey" is a funnier word by several orders of magnitude. If Charlton Heston, in Planet of the Apes had said "Get your hands off me, you damn, dirty monkey," the film would have been a smash-hit comedy.) King Kong is just over three hours long. Don't buy a drink at the theater unless you've got great bladder control, because I can't think of a single place in that film where it's okay to miss a few minutes. Just hold it in. And do go before the movie starts, kids. Some will say that the film COULD have been shorter. Peter Jackson COULD have just given us two hours of eye-candy, with none of that bothersome STORY or CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Thankfully, he's a better director than that. Even when Kong is not on the screen, your eyes will be. You'll care about ALL these players, and you'll keep watching to find out how their epic adventure changes them (hint: at least one of them becomes monkey-chow).