'Twas Hubris Killed the Beast

I didn't see the new King Kong in theaters, but my son did. When the DVD came out last week, I asked him if he wanted to get it. He was lukewarm on the idea, which made me wonder...but we acquired a copy anyway and we watched it this weekend. I had seen articles in which Peter Jackson talked about being faithful to the original film. Yeah, right. I don't remember the original running three hours. And I don't remember any limb-sucking sabre-toothed pods, or super pole-vaulter natives, or any of the other clutter Jackson felt the need to add. I came away from the movie annoyed by it all.

Apparently, I wasn't alone.

James Lileks is a writer of immense talent, and in this Bleat he spanks Jackson so hard that future generations of relatives will be born with pelvic deformities. Excerpt:
"Take the battle with the T-Rexes. (Three!) Kong saves whatsername from a T-Rex, who’s just abandoned a nice big freshly-killed fellow-saur to run after what would, in Rex dining terms, be a breadstick. He chases her down through the forest, which she nimbly negotiates, but just as he’s about to eat her – he pauses, of course, to roar, one of those little ticks that evolution finely honed in their predatory instincts – Kong comes flying from the County of God-Knows-Where and picks her up, violently whipping her around, snapping her neck and pureeing several internal organs . . . no, strike that, she’s okay. So he battles the T-Rex, and then another one shows up, and everyone’s Kong Fu Fighting, his moves are fast as lightning, et cetera, until ANOTHER T-Rex shows up.

Kong pretty much dusts the guys, even though he takes a couple of bites on the arm – he shakes it off! He’s okay, folks! T-Rex teeth, which are capable of cutting through a fresh battleship, have no power over monkey skin. Then he pushes them down a slope and they go falling off a cliff, but he falls too, with Faye Rae screaming her head off, but vines cushion the blow. Yes, vines! Special lost-world vines capable of holding twenty tons of ape. Did I say 20? Make that 60, because two T-Rexes are also caught in the vines, and then there’s another fight for, oh, sixteen minutes or so. Eventually everyone falls to the ground and there’s another 48 minute battle, and at the end that’s when the blonde realizes that Kong has saved her, and she loves him.

Yes. She loves him. The heroine and the ape have special moments together. They watch a sunset. (The sun is an odd thing in this movie – it goes down only to pop right back up again; Kong begins his rampage on 46th street at about 9 PM and ends up dying on the Empire State Building at sunrise; I don’t care how bad traffic is, it doesn’t take nine hours to get to 34th street. Gravity also works in an odd fashion; it’s sunrise when Kong falls off the ESB, but mid morning when he hits the pavement. So I guess gravity is lesser around there, which explains why he took so long to reach the ground, and why he landed intact instead of blowing fur and monkey guts for a six-block radius.) They ice skate together – a scene that would stand as one of the more embarrassing moments of modern cinema had not Naomi Watt’s vaudeville-routine-for-Kong set that standard a few hours earlier. (She even does the walk-like-an-Egyptian move.) At the end she tries to save the big lug from a swarm of the giant ape’s most fearsome predator, Period Aircraft."

As the Instaman would say: Read the Whole Thing. And skip the Kong remake.

posted by Mike at 8:30 PM


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