ITEM:As seen in the remake of the 1933 film classic, Skull Island is supposedto lie somewhere in the Indian Ocean.In the island's jungles roam a wide array of dinosaurs, includingTyrannosaurus rex; aggressive, 3-foot (90-centimeter) cockroaches;bloodthirsty car-size crabs; and, of course, Kong, a 25-foot-tall(8-meter-tall) silverback gorilla who lives alone in his mountain hideaway.It's a world that violates most of modern science's evolutionary rules.--National Geographic News December 14, 2005
KK is indeed a weird ecologiocal concoction but that's hardly the point. What with Jurassic Park, The Land that Time Forgot, The Island of Dr Moreau, et all -- there's been a rich cultural thread that addresses DNA's options very freely indeed.
The other point is of course that a mammal like Kong is so out of place -- by quite some time indeed - coexisting -with these dinosaurs.
More to the point is how Jackson handles the exotic racism of the original and to that end he creates a resident tribe who are asanthropologically bizarre as the local fauna. They are more like Gollum's relatives than people in the real world.
In a wry sense of cultural time, Jackson employs the 1933 original representation of the indigenous islanders -- complete with KK dance suits, and coconut shell bras -- as a gaudy showpiece/dance sequence to accompany Kong when he is first displayed in New York.
So let's say neither logic nor science are credentialed well in this movie feature. But I like the film if only because -- like Jackson's other work -- the slogan rings true: " I have given up my quest fortruth and justice and will settle instead for a good fantasy."
The PETA brigade will love it as like Disney's cartoon characters,Jackson's Kong is invested with so many human like attributes albeit cast in a sort of primeval savagery...and while Kong gets it tough on Manhatten Island, I doubt that his lifestyle back on Skull Island had much to recommend it given the nasties that were all over the place.
Indeed, the one emotive connection between Kong and the more caring of humans is the ability to appreciate a good sunset...Try doing that with your pet dog!
And this penchant to humanize the Kong I think is savagely parodied in Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein. The monster there -- played so well by Peter Boyle (of TV's Everybody Loves Raymond ) -- is displayed before a packed theatre and the same chain of events areplayed out, except this monster has been cultivated to an extreme level of sophistication -- it's Greystroke to the umpteenth power!
And when Boyle as the monster and Frankenstein ( Gene Wilder)dance 'Putting on the Ritz' -- I think its one of the funniest sequences on film.
But as am exercise in society versus Nature the divide in KK is as sharp as any you may want to note. Jackson tries to emphasize this chasm -- and give his film intellectual pretension -- by grounding some of the discussion on Joseph Conrad's Hark of Darkness. Thats' pretty pretentious when you consider the circus tale you get instead. But when you consider that the last time we were treated to the same exchange was in Apocalypse Now! and that film's Kong isBrando's Kurtz who have to wonder how many remakes Conrad's short story can bear.
Because essentially Hark of Darkness is a story of imperialist miasma -- a last ditch attempt at projecting animist beliefs on the new exploitative frontier that confronted imperialism in its new age in the late 19th century. Thats' the heart beat of Conrad. And I guess we exist in its wake.
Where once upon a time capitalism chose ideologically to brutally 'assimilate' the humans who inhabit the natural, none civilised, non capitalist world -- the new undertone in Kong is to preach respect and bemoan the fact that we have something -- in Kong's case, "beauty" --a white skinned, fair haired beautifulness -- that will lead to his undoing.
Because as every cinema buff knows the last line of King Kong 1933 and KK 2005 is the same: "beauty killed the beast."
That's a pretty sick notion when you think of it. It's like that the imperialist edge is opium or the option of petrol sniffing or alcoholism. Something "we" have that "they" can't do without such that it becomes an addiction. That despite our deference to the au natural lifestyle, we still manage to have something by dint of our own imperial 'thingness' and our civilization that they ain't got.
We've got Naomi Watts. They have not.
Anyway, in order to finish off this ramble I refer you to a Kliban cartoon which I cannot find on any of the web's Kliban galleries: (please check them out)
Kliban is a sardonic master...although he tends to be an icon today only for cat fanciers.
However the setup is this:On one side of the frame is the big toe of King Kong pointing skywards. On the other is a hamburger cart. In the foreground is a man eating a hamburger....and below is the caption:"What the city of New York did with King Kong".