Saw it tonight, possibly the best movie of the year. Yeah, special effects were iffy in some places (stampede, cough cough), but the story more than made up for that. Long but captivating and holds true to the legend of Kong.
LMAO - I've met two people recently who didn't know how the story went either. Unbelievable that after all the pop culture references to the older movie over the years in cartoons,other movies and so on people still haven't picked up on it. Serioulsy, how many images of Kong atop the ESB being circled by planes have you seen throughout your life?
I've seen all the moves, even the ones that haven't been made yet. When someone makes a movie, that already hasn't been made, I'll watch it. Doesn't your soul ever get tired of doing the same thing over and over guys? WTF?
Is KING KONG racist? asks Jim Pinkerton in his Thursday NEWSDAY column.
"Lots of people say it is. And, if it is, why does the film keep getting remade? What does it say about us if the new KONG is a huge hit?"
Pinkerton writes: Any movie that features white people sailing off to the Third World to capture a giant ape and carry it back to the West for exploitation is going to be seen as a metaphor for colonialism and racism. That was true for the original in 1933 and for the two remakes: the campy one in 1976, and the latest, directed by Peter Jackson. (In addition, a KONG wannabe, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, has been made twice.)
Movie reviewer David Edelstein, writing in SLATE, notes the "implicit racism of KING KONG - the implication that Kong stands for the black man brought in chains from a dark island (full of murderous primitive pagans) and with a penchant for skinny white blondes." Indeed, a GOOGLE search using the words "King Kong racism" yielded 490,000 hits.
Comparing the new film with the original, the WASHINGTON POST's Stephen Hunter observed, "It remains a parable of exploitation, cultural self-importance, the arrogance of the West, all issues that were obvious in the original but unexamined; they remain unexamined here, if more vivid."
And by more vivid, Hunter might be referring to the natives of mythical Skull Island, where Kong is discovered. Director Jackson took people of Melanesian stock - the dark-skinned peoples who are indigenous to much of the South Pacific, including Jackson's own country of New Zealand - and made them up to look and act like monsters, more zombie-ish than human. Indeed, one is moved to compare these human devils to the ogre-ish Orcs from Jackson's mega-Oscar LORD OF THE RINGS films. The bad guys are dark, hideous and undifferentiatedly evil.
Errr... I haven't seen the original in a long time, so I don't remember the subtleties of the first Kong. However, the new version seems to be more an indictment of ignorance than of white vs. dark. Jack Black's ever-so-cheesy line at the end, "twas beauty killed the beast" was, I think, a poor assessment of the situation meant to show his being ignorant to the end. Kong embraced "beauty" at the end of the film, but not just of the feminine form. Man, however, was incapable of doing so.
I suppose the island people are harder to pin down. Didn't matter what color they made them, though. Anything with piercings through every part of its face would scare me, and that was the point. Besides, what would one expect to find on an undiscovered island in the South Pacific... Nordic people?