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DVD Review – Derailed & King Kong

DVD ReviewOnce the kid was born, movies in theaters became a thing of the past. Now, the wife and I are big fans of NetFlix. A while back I started to create a recurring post called the DVD Review. The thought was, I’d offer thoughts on movies after the luster of their release marketing wore off.

This week’s delivery brought King Kong, Derailed, and Pride & Prejudice. We haven’t made it through Pride & Prejudice yet, so I’ll hit the others.

Derailed – This movie didn’t have a lot to offer. At all. At any point. The plot was thin. The characters were uninteresting. The pace was slow and the story predictable. Aniston didn’t bring much to the flick, and Owen himself didn’t seem to care what happened to his character.

The movie tells the tale of a married man who meets a woman on a train, gets involved in a tryst, and ends up being mugged and watching her get raped. Shortly thereafter, the mugger begins blackmailing him. That has the potential to set up a suspenseful movie, but it never gets there. Aniston refuses to talk to the police about the brutal rape because her husband would learn of the affair – ignoring the possibility that her husband wouldn’t notice the physical trauma from the rape.

The movie spends the next 102 minutes dragging the viewer through one hackneyed premise after another. If you haven’t figured out the plot from that brief recap of the first 10 minutes of film, you might enjoy this. If, like most people, you’ve already put the whole story together, save your time and money.

Before the movie serves up the ending you have known was coming for 85 minutes, you’re trying to do your taxes in your head and wondering how you can get the last 90 minutes of your life back.

King King – Before I moved this blog to Word Press (and in doing so lost all my previous posts) I spent a lot of time railing on this picture. Only one note made it into the post-transition blog.

I’m still amazed that Paramount spent nearly $300 million to make and market this film. It’s much better than I expected, but not $200 million better. I had seen most of it in the Jurassic Park franchise. The cast spends two hours and 45 minutes of the 3:10 run time stuck on Isla Nublar Skull Island being chased by dinosaurs and giant insects. The remaining 25 minutes is spent watching Kong slide on ice in New York.

They did manage to make King Kong much more disturbing and sinister than I ever thought possible. The natives on Skull Island, for instance, were like something from under the staircase in a Wes Craven flick. Seriously, what’s with the mutants and what about a giant monkey causes their eyeballs to roll up inside their heads?

The one thing I found really interesting was the model work. I’m trying to figure out whether Peter Jackson meant for all of the models to look cheesy or if that was an accident. If you’ve seen any comments by the director on that topic, send them along.

In all, I’d be hard pressed to recommend Derailed to anyone other than insomniacs that don’t respond to medication. Kong is a good rent for the visuals. In the alternative, though, you could pull Jurassic Park or Jurassic Park III out of the cabinet and watch them. Just remember to imagine a giant gorilla thrown in with the raptors and T-Rex and you’re all set.

Written by Michael Turk