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英文影评: 金刚 King Kong (2005)


浅影发表于2009-01-04 00:55
来源:130影萍网 标签:金刚King Kong

Among the reasons "King Kong" - the old 100-minute black-and-white version, that is - has retained its appeal over the years is that it reminds audiences of the do-it-yourself, seat-of-the-pants ethic of early motion pictures. In 1933, when RKO released it, sound film was in its infancy, and film itself was in the midst of a coltish, irrepressible adolescence. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack, who directed the first "Kong," understood the alchemical convergence of gimmickry and sublimity that lay at the heart of the medium's unrivaled potential to generate spectacle and sensation.

That potential still exists, but it may be harder to find these days, given how much bigger and more self-important movies have become. In his gargantuan, mightily entertaining remake, "King Kong," Peter Jackson tries to pay homage to the original even as he labors to surpass it. The sheer audacious novelty of the first "King Kong" is not something that can be replicated, but in throwing every available imaginative and technological resource into the effort, Mr. Jackson comes pretty close.
The threshold of sensation has risen drastically since the 30's, when movies were still associated with older, somewhat disreputable forms of popular culture. Unlike the 1976 remake, which tried to drag the story into the corporate present, Mr. Jackson's version returns it to the Great Depression, reminding us that the road to the multiplex stretches back through the music halls and burlesque houses of those bygone days.
Of course, this new "King Kong" (written by Mr. Jackson and his frequent collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) cost more than $200 million to make and can hardly be called scruffy. It arrives burdened with impossible expectations and harassed by competition from all sides. The director, who not so long ago was making low-budget monster movies in his native New Zealand, clearly wants to hold onto the artisanal, eccentric spirit of the past - his own and that of the art form he loves. But at the same time he must live up to the success of his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and prove to a glutted, gluttonous audience that large-scale, effects-driven filmmaking is still capable of novelty, freshness and emotional impact.
He succeeds through a combination of modesty and reckless glee, topping himself at every turn and reveling in his own showmanship. His "King Kong," though it has a few flourishes of tongue-in-cheek knowingness - including references to Cooper and Fay Wray and shots that directly quote the original - never feels self-conscious or arch. And though it presents the interspecies love story between Kong (Andy Serkis, who also plays a shipboard cook named Lumpy) and Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) with touching sincerity, the picture wears its themes lightly, waving away the somber, allegorical sententiousness that too many blockbusters ("Lord of the Rings" included) rely upon to justify their exorbitant costs. The movie is, almost by definition, too much - too long, too big, too stuffed with characters and over-the-top set pieces - but it is animated by an impish, generous grace. Three hours in the dark with a giant, angry ape should leave you feeling battered and exhausted, but "King Kong" is as memorable for its sweetness as for its sensationalism.
After setting a nostalgic mood with Art Deco titles and James Newton Howard's old-fashioned movie-palace overture, "King Kong" plunges into a New York of vaudeville houses, soup lines and Hooverville encampments. Ann, a winsome, wholesome hoofer, is performing in a threadbare revue that shuts down just as Carl Denham (Jack Black) loses the star of his next movie. Somehow, he entices not only Ann, but also her favorite playwright, the Barton Finkish Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), onto a rusty tub whose unsavory captain (Thomas Kretschmann) captures and transports exotic animals. Denham's plan is to take his film crew - which also includes his anxious assistant (Colin Hanks) and lantern-jawed star (Kyle Chandler) - to Skull Island, where they will discover ...
Well, take a guess. The sea voyage is, for the most part, a diversion and a tease. Denham frets and schemes, Ann and Jack make tentative moves toward romance, and we also meet the noble first mate (Evan Parke) and his skittish young protégé (Jamie Bell). The actors take evident pleasure in shedding the demands of naturalism and trying out an older, more emphatic screen style. Mr. Black holds some of his clownishness in check and adapts some of his "School of Rock" monomania to the task of playing Mr. Jackson's alter ego. The rest of them mainly serve as dramatic fodder for the coming battles with Kong and the islanders.
First among these are the human Skull Islanders, whose grunting, wild-eyed savagery is one bit of nostalgia Mr. Jackson might have forgone. But their seaside settlement is soon abandoned for the island's green, craggy interior, which gives biodiversity a whole new meaning. There are enough dinosaurs to overrun Jurassic Park, and every kind of slithery, crawly, beetly thing you can imagine, as well as some you can't.
At times, the blending of computer-generated imagery and live action is pushed to a point where the seams begin to show, as in a Pamplona-style running of the brontosauruses, with various human actors darting between the legs of rampaging lizards. But two scenes are so madly inspired that they are likely to become touchstones: a three-way T-Rex versus Giant Ape wrestling match in a deep ravine hung with vines, and a battle involving fanged worms and giant vampire crickets (at least I think that's what they were).
In this world, Kong, while certainly irascible, also shows himself to be a pretty evolved guy. Apparently the only nonhuman mammal on the island, he is a grumpy vegetarian who treats the people sacrificed to him as playthings rather than prey. He takes a special shine to Ann, not just because she is blond and lovely, but because of her pratfalls and dance moves, which turn out to be the universal basis of entertainment.www.130q.com
The rapport between Ms. Watts and Mr. Serkis is extraordinary, even though it is mediated by fur, latex, optical illusions and complicated effects. Mr. Serkis, who also played Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" movies, is redefining screen acting for the digital age, while Ms. Watts incarnates the glamour and emotional directness of classical Hollywood. Together they form one of the most unlikely and affecting screen couples since Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina did their beast and beauty act in "La Strada."
Come to think of it, there is a touch of Fellini in Mr. Jackson's sentimental, ambivalent love of theater and spectacle. Returning to New York, "King Kong" evolves from jungle adventure to pop tragedy, as the big monkey becomes a symbol for ... well, for quite a few things, not all of them coherent. According to Denham, his captivity and display prove the power of show business to make the mysteries of creation available to anyone with the price of admission. In his mouth, this sounds both appealingly democratic and grossly cynical, which is fitting enough, since that is precisely the paradox Mr. Jackson embraces. He intuitively understands that the machinery of mass spectacle has the power to despoil and demystify whatever it touches and, at the same time, the ability to endow easy pleasures with a durable and genuine nobility.
The climax of "King Kong" - one of the most familiar sequences in movies, and one that never grows old - exemplifies both tendencies. It is shameless and exalted, absurd and sublime, vulgar and grand. It's what movies were made for.

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