I've just read two reviews of Peter Jackson's King Kong. One is hardly a review, more than a quick sense of what he liked about the film. Yeah, I kinda missed the compare and contrast of the untamed jungle life vs. the crass commercialism of civilization.
The second one is a full-blooded review, which is that of Bryant Frazer. Unlike me, Bryant has seen the original King Kong, and he objects to one decision Jackson made. Where Jackson wanted a King Kong that actually seemed like an ape, which meant that his Kong wasn't going to be sexually interested, and he wanted Ann and Kong to have a mutual, if oddball relation, based on, well, animal magnetism?
The original Kong apparently played Kong as mighty Kong of the jungle who has fallen hopelessly in love with the main character. But here's the key. She doesn't fall for Kong. Thus, it represents, in some odd way, the kind of rejection males have when trying to woo the unobtainable, that even as imposing a figure as Kong can somehow lose complete control, and do anything to impress this woman who just doesn't care.
This creates a much different dynamic, and as Frazer points out, it makes for a creepy sensibility. Far from detracting from a movie, he thinks this vaguely icky idea is what makes the original Kong (and even the mid 70s remake) work. Jackson takes a deliberately more PC approach to the film.
This is the kind of review that's quite interesting because it defends an older approach, even as there's much to admire (and deride) in Jackson's approach.
It's also one reason I like to read good reviews, because they present an insight into the film that you don't get just by watching it, and that the best reviews observe stuff that you don't notice, or don't pay attention to, and describe it with such clever use of the English language, that you want to shrink back to a hole and never write again.
So be a good boy or girl, do a search on Senor Frazer, and read his review.
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1 month ago