Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crushed Jack On The Rocks

Some days ago, a discussion about horror at Writers' Digest got me thinking, and about an aspect of this recent movie. So of course, I had to write about it.

We've all seen Peter Jackson's take on King Kong. How could we not? After the outstanding Lord of the Rings trilogy, we'd all have to.

I like the film, with one exception. The casting of Jack Black as Carl Denham.

Don't get me wrong, the character is a smarmy sleaze, and he plays that part to the hilt. It's the actor himself I object to.

I just find that he really tends to play the one part: the hipster slacker stoner dude. Over and over and over. And yes, some actors tend to play endless variations on the same character. They can't vanish into the role. All they've got in them is the one character. Black's like that. I just find the persona really, really, tiresome.

So Black wound up cast in this film, and sure enough, just like his predecessors (I assume, I've never seen the version from the seventies) he survives to the end of the film. A pity, really. Would it have been all that hard for Jackson to feature the big ape falling off the Empire State (poor Kong) and crushing Carl when he hit the street? It's a nice way to go out, squashing the moron who took you off your island in the first place.

And let's face it, Carl would have deserved it. A wise man wouldn't have gone to the island in the first place, but Carl's not wise, right? A semi-wise man, after surviving everything on that island (just how did that pudgy guy outrun a pack of rampaging dinosaurs anyway?) would have realized that it was best to cut his losses, leave that unconcious big ape behind at the shore, and cast off with the others. Does he do that? Of course not. He's got this bright idea about turning Kong into a Broadway show. In the history of bad ideas, this is one of the top ten.

Right up there with the Trojans thinking "that wooden horse looks awfully fascinating, and why don't we bring it into the city? What could possibly go wrong?"

So of course it backfires. The big ape gets mad on opening night. Breaks free of his chains. Wrecks havoc, goes berzerk, kills a few people, tosses Adrien Brody around (it's the jealousy factor, you see...) and skates around with Naomi Watts, who seems just a little too attached to the big ape (feel free to make your own snarky remarks about bestiality)

And Carl survives to the end of the film, instead of getting squashed by a fallen big ape. Oh well. It's not like his life is going to be easy after the credits roll. The big ape goes berzerk during opening night of your show and tears apart half of New York while he's at it? You're going to have the police and the lawyers coming after you. So maybe there are fates worse then being squashed by giant apes. Or getting eaten by really big bugs.

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