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CON: King Kong


Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody and Jack Black

This presentation even started out differently than most with a Universal representative getting up to introduce the KING KONG event instead of the Comic-Con official who had been doing it all weekend. You could tell Universal is immensely proud and excited about this film. The exec talked briefly about the film and then stepped aside to introduce a man who's nothing short of an icon for most people in the room, Peter Jackson. While he wasn't able to make it to San Diego, he did send a taped message from the set in New Zealand....but the video didn't work. The antsy crowd started to get restless and the Universal rep came back on and said, "It's OK, these things happen... Don't know why it had to happen to us, but they happen." Lucky for them, it was the only setback to the extraordinary show they'd put on.

Once they got the footage rolling, Jackson came on to talk about the film. First off, I have to mention just how much weight the guy has lost. I mean he looks like a completely different person. But he talked about how the trailer came out and alluded to some of the backlash on the web about the FX saying that even the things you see in that trailer aren't finished yet so to hold off judging anything we saw at the Con. He said that event though the trailer was released already on the web and in theaters they wanted to show it again just in case anyone missed it or wanted to see it again.

After they showed the trailer again (which looks a lot more impressive on the big screen that it did on TV or on the web) Jackson went on to talk some more about his love for KONG. He said he had wanted to make this film from the very first time he saw the original. He told the story about how he wanted to make this even before the LORD OF THE RINGS films. He then said he had a special treat for us. He had about three minutes to show us from the King Kong/T-Rex battle that we see glimpsed in the trailer. What we would be seeing was the last third of the battle with about six minutes or so that led into this clip. Again warning about unfinished effects he said some of what we will see will have little or no effects work done. He said that even the stuff that looks done isn't done yet. To give us a sense of what we would see in some shots when the FX weren't done yet, he explained animatics to those in the crowd that were unfamiliar. To give a sense of what an animatic is, he showed a clip from RETURN OF THE KING (when Orlando Bloom hits the dude on the elephant with an arrow, knocks him down and the two elephants collide and fall over) in both rough, animatic form and the finished form. Keeping that in mind, he said, here's a glimpse of the movie...

The clip started with Kong fighting one of the T-Rex while holding Anne (Naomi Watts) in his fist. As he fights, he continuously shifts her from one hand to the other to keep her safe. As they're rumbling they start to fall off a cliff. Kong is barely hanging on and the T-Rex is hanging on to him. Eventually Kong loses his grip and they fall into a gorge but are saved by a series of vines draped throughout the middle. Anne is stuck and Kong is up on a higher level of the vines battling one T-Rex. Below him on Anne's level is another T-Rex. She starts swinging on her vine to try and reach safety, which gives the other T-Rex an idea. He uses his weight to propel himself closer to Anne. At first he doesn't get very close but after a few tries (with her still swinging back and forth) he's able to chomp down mere inches from her face (seen through an awesome "Anne POV" shot of the T-Rex with mouth wide open).

Kong senses danger and immediately drops down to save Anne. He lands on the T-Rex's back and they start scrapping. Anne falls to the ground and lands in a shallow swampy area. She gets up soaking wet and starts to run. But there's another T-Rex waiting for her. That's when we see the shot in the trailer with Anne standing in between the T-Rex and Kong. Stuck in the situation between these two monsters, Anne slowly starts inching towards Kong where she knows she'll be safe. She hides behind him and Kong lets out a huge battle cry. The two go at it in an insanely vicious fight that...well to tell you that would be telling too much! You really have to see it for yourself. But obviously Kong is eventually victorious and at the end gives us another massive roar while beating his chest.

The lights come up and on the stage already are Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody and Jack Black, waiting for us. The crowd, pun intended, goes APE SHIT. Absolutely bonkers. I swear you could almost feel the ground move under your feet. I thought the SUPERMAN response was incredible but this? This benefitted from an amazing clip AND the surprise of seeing the combined star-power of all the leads on stage (while it was rumored they would be attending and most of the press already knew they were there, it wasn't "official" news). The Universal rep formally introduced all of them (as if he needed to) and they sat down at the panel to answer some questions about the film.

The King of Kings - No I'm not talking about Kong, I'm talking about Jack Black. With an Oscar-winner and Oscar-nominee on his side, Black was definitely the king of this panel. I'm not a huge Tenacious D fan but I might have been one of the only ones in Hall H. A good 75% of the questions were for Black and as silly as some of them were, he answered gamely. He even, when prompted by a fan, broke into an impromptu KING KONG song with Watts and Brody backing him up by banging on the table to the beat. I forget exactly how it goes but one of the lines was "King Kong/Back in the jungle, is where he belongs!" (I had this whole performance captured on video but wouldn't you know it, the audio crapped out and all I have is the video. Maybe I'll post it eventually but without the audio, it ain't much...). And NO Kyle Gass will not be in KING KONG no matter how many times you ask...

I'm Outta Here! - After what seemed to be a million Jack Black/Tenacious D questions someone finally got up and started giving props to Naomi Watts. But they quickly went right back to JB and start handing out props to him again. Brody says, "What about me?," and the fan says, "Oh I like you too James." It took Brody about a two seconds to realize it but the crowd started dying laughing at this kid and Brody says, "That was the guy from JAWS. I'm Adrien." Then in mock indignation he decides he's had enough and storms off stage. But right before he's about to walk off, he waves it off laughing and comes back to sit down. Later the kid would apologize to him profusely with Adrien insisting he was just busting his balls.

Acting Styles - All of the actors agreed that the acting styles of today are very different from the ones that existed back when the original was filmed. Black, in particular said, that it wasn't like he had to improve on Brando so he wasn't too worried about adding his own spin to it. Watts also said that while she felt she was taking over an "iconic" part originally played by Fay Wray, she did feel like she could add a bit more reality to the character's plight.

Beyond all of that, there really wasn't much of substance divulged. There were probably just as many Tenacious D questions at this panel as there were at the Tenacious D panel, which directly followed this one. It was a tad frustrating as we probably could've learned a little more had people asked some more relevant questions, but this is what you get at the Con! I can't very well hold that against this panel, which in my opinion, was one of the very best at the whole show. Before this I was lukewarm to KONG and now I'm right there on line this December!

Click here to read the Comic-Con coverage of the SUPERMAN RETURNS panel

Click here to read the Comic-Con coverage of the GOBLET OF FIRE and THE FOUNTAIN footage

Source: JoBlo.com



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