I’m suppressing an urge to jump up and down on my sofa and yell “Whoopee!”, kind of like Tom Cruise on Oprah a few months back when he declared his love for Katie Holmes. The reason? At lunchtime on Friday I was treated to an exclusive, extra-early preview of King Kong: 20 minutes of footage, much of it unfinished, of Kong fighting not one, not two, but three T-Rexes. The clip was introduced by Andy Serkis (Kong himself) and the 30-odd people in the screening room were the first people in the UK to see it.
I think it’s safe to say that the footage went down well.
We all know Peter Jackson can make a good movie – hell, I’ve been a fan of his since the early ’90s and his gore-fest Brain Dead – but Kong is a surprisingly hard sell. Many people just aren’t interested in the story of a giant ape, especially because they all know what happens at the end. Other are wary of the film’s Kong-sized budget – audiences have learned from experience that big doesn’t necessarily mean better. However, judging from this footage, fear not! This film will rock. It looks astonishing. Jackson has aped (pardon the pun) Spielberg’s sure-handed skill at setting up an action sequence (remember the rippling glass of water in Jurassic Park?) but he’s added his own touches; a quirky sense of humour, moments of ickiness, a sensibility that’s pure New Zealand cheese. It works magnificently. Kong himself is amazing: a monster, true, but one we’ll no doubt learn to love. He’s so gorilla-like you’ll be expecting to spot Sigourney Weaver sitting in a misty corner, studying him with a notebook. By the time Kong falls from grace, bi-plane splinters in his grubby hands, I prophesise that there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
So the King Kong footage was brilliant. I went back to work and totally failed to concentrate all afternoon, visions of dinosaurs and jungles dancing in my eyes. Then at 6pm I was in Leicester Square for the press screening of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, so excited I think I must have popped to the toilet 20 times before the film started (not much fun when the Empire cinema’s water pressure had dwindled away to a mere trickle). Thankfully I’d managed to get hold of three spare tickets for some friends – blood, sweat and tears went into that search, I can tell you – and we were all so excited that I fear we squeaked, giggled and bounced all the way through the screening. Apologies to our neighbours…
And it was great. Really great. Not as good as Azkaban, in my opinion, though I’m biased because that’s my favourite book and I loved Alfonso Cuaron’s style to death. Also, sadly, I can’t say too much else here because all reviews are embargoed for a while. Dammit! I will point out that, while I do prefer Azkaban, there are scenes in Goblet Of Fire that trounce it. Especially the ending. And any scene involving the Weasley twins. I love those guys!
There you are: two films, two thumbs-up. I have a suspicion that Kong will be my favourite film of the year, though it’s hard to tell without seeing the whole thing; I think Serenity is my second favourite, Potter third and Ong-Bak fourth. The South Park sequence in The Aristocrats may be my favourite moment of the year – I have never, ever laughed so much in a cinema. You know when you’re a kid and you laugh so much you start to cry and you get a stitch in your side and you think you’re going to die? That’s how hard I laughed. The Aristocrats will be out on DVD soon… see it.
He he he. I just watched Sky News cover the Potter premiere in Leicester Square. It’s raining buckets and all the fans are soaking wet, but it still looked cool, probably thanks to the giant, fire-breathing dragon in a cage roaring at all the passers-by. Dan Radcliffe was trying to talk to a reporter and had to stop, turn round and say, “Shut up!” to it. Priceless!
The reporter said to him, “You’ve just come top of a survey asking who is the most fanciable teen in the world. How do you cope with things like that?”
Dan replied, “Really? I didn’t know that. Actually, now I know that, I think I will cope much better!”
Hmmm. That doesn’t look funny when it’s written down. Trust me, it was funny when he said it…