Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros., 3.10) opens in three and a half weeks. The junket whores are seeing it this weekend. The idea behind Jordan Vogt-Roberts‘ film seems to be “play up the meta, use a fair amount of humor, revel in the fantasy by over-amping it, we’re making a cartoon,” etc.
The Vietnam War-era story, written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and based on a story by Gilroy and John Gatins, should be called Apocalypse Kong. Catchier title, says it all, promise of combat fireball action, etc.
A friend asked me for a thought or two about themes and myths that have long buttressed the King Kong legend. My first response was to say that Kong has always been the primal other who cannot and should not be tamed. But the “dark jungle beast with a romantic-sexual obsession” gets mentioned more than anything else.
In the 1933 version King Kong was the hulking muscular beast with strangely human white eyeballs who, along with the natives of Skull Island, was intensely attracted to pretty Anglo-Saxon blondes. One in particular, yes (i.e., Fay Wray), but are you gonna tell me Kong wouldn’t have been equally hot for Jean Harlow or, if he had lived in the 1940s, Lana Turner?
When Kong gently stripped Wray’s dress off and then sniffed his fingers after touching her…well, c’mon. Even I knew what was going on when I first saw King Kong at age eight or nine.
As Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) remarked in the original film, “Yeah, blondes are scarce around here.”
If the old King Kong has been re-made as a Mel Brooks comedy, the big ape would’ve spoken candidly and even outrageously at times. Having crashed through the jungle foliage and arrived at the gates of the huge wall, he would have look up to the tribal chiefs and shouted “Yo, where da white women at?”
I’ve always thought of Kong as a poor sap who fell for the wrong dame and couldn’t get her out of his head, and then lost his shit when some Manhattan city-slicker in a tuxedo tried to take her away from him. Just another lovesick goon lying dead on 34th Street…his last thought being “when will I be loved?”