Friday, December 02, 2005

Of apes and lizards

Tonight I saw the Dateline NBC sneak of the new Peter Jackson King Kong. While I'm still very dubious about casting Jack Black in such a prominent role, I'm more and more convinced that Naomi Watts is the most inspired bit of casting in the history of film. Not only does she look period, she out-Fay Wrays the orginal Fay Wray. I wasn't much of a fan before, but I think I am now. And, wonder of wonders, I can't believe how much of the dinosaur fights they showed on the program. I'm still disappointed in Jackson's decision to substitute the pack of Allosaurus in his original script for Tyrannosaurus (Allosaurus being my favorite extinct dino) but still. Wow. Somewhere, Mark Finn is going spastic. Speaking of which, the old monkeyboy has his own Kongish media project ready to roll:
At the cineplex this holiday season, the 800-lb. gorilla – make that 8,000-lb. gorilla – is Peter Jackson's little remake about the ape that scaled the Empire State, King Kong. But here in Austin, the simian sovereign of Skull Island will also be heard beating his chest in a live theatrical presentation. The Violet Crown Radio Players, those intrepid devotees of 1930s audio drama who brought us staged radio versions of The War of the Worlds and It's a Wonderful Life, among others, are mounting what they're calling the "lost" radio adaptation of King Kong, as produced for the Lux Radio Theater by Cecil B. DeMille. Whether that's indeed a nugget of forgotten history or a whopper the size of our monumental monk we'll leave for you to decide, but VCRP Creative Director Mark Finn has indeed cobbled together a script for Kong as radio drama, adapted from a novelization of the 1933 film that's now in the public domain.

And on top of all this, I got in my review copy of the Godzilla: Final Wars DVD the other day. I've always been more of a Big G fan than a Kong fan, although I really get into both. This latest Godzilla flick is... different from previous efforts. There are some things about it that are impossibly cool, and other things that are so cheesy you could keep Pizza Hut in business for years with it. Those expecting Destroy All Monsters will likely be let down, but folks who've said "Godzilla movies should be more like The Matrix" will want to reserve their copies now. My full review will be coming in a week or so, but man, this is one trippy Godzilla film.

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