A beautiful girl. Exotic location. Adventurous filmmaker. And
a REALLY big monkey. That's all. Okay, so there's a little more
to it. Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack saved RKO studio
from bankruptcy with one of the earliest sci-fi blockbusters.
(Without Kong, RKO never would have made "Citizen
Kane".) Willis O'Brien's special effects set a new precedent
for movie illusions, while Max Steiner's use of animated music
and sound effects to enhance the action elevates the musical
score to a new art form. Though primitive by today's Spielberg/Lucas
standards, "King Kong" is still delightfully entertaining.
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What's scarier than a rampaging giant monkey? A rampaging giant
shark. Steven Spielberg's breakthrough is a triumph in cinematic
story-telling. Peter Benchley's bubble gum novel is transformed
into a mythic battle of man versus nature through Verna Fields's
clever editing, stunning cinematography by Bill Butler, and
one realistic monster. Top notch performances are turned in
by Roy Scheider as the land loving police chief, Richard Dreyfuss
as the puerile icthyologist, and Robert Shaw as the old salt
with a bone to pick ... or cartilage, as the case may be. (Sorry,
I couldn't resist.) Topping everything off is John Williams's
haunting score. Watch Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert
Shaw chew up the scenery! Watch Bruce chew up Robert Shaw! Watch
attendance at the beach drop off dramatically! What more could
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So the plot has holes big enough to run a T-Rex through -- aren't
those dinos cool? "Jurassic Park" is another Spielberg
f/x triumph. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the rest
of the film. A bland script that only comes alive when someone
is being chased by a prehistoric beastie and ho-hum performances
from all the leads (save the ever-so-droll Jeff Goldblum, who
has a remarkable knack for popping up in multi-million dollar
blockbusters) run this film into the ground. It is a sci-fi
breakthrough for computer animation, brought to life by Stan
Winston and the Digital Domain team. Thrilling one moment, slow
as mud the next, "Jurassic Park" is a spectacle --
and not much else.
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He is big, he is bad, and as the Japanese know all too well
he is badder than ever! T-Rex never looked so good!
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Debbie Twyman. All rights reserved. TERMS