Saturday, December 24, 2005

King Kong (movie review)

King Kong is a venture into the skulletarium, as my friend Gene Fowler might put it. We're warned in advance that science / engineering (the other side of C.P. Snow's chasm) is not in control. Some discontinuities appear deliberate: swept away in the river, then dry?; where'd the natives go?; how'd they get the ape on the boat?

It's a film, see, inheriting from theater before it. So check your literal rational machine world mind at the door. This ain't no Jurassic Park. This is a feast for the unfettered imagination, supported with the best our high tech has to offer. Dino pile!

The injections of vaudeville and burlesque are likewise by design, as is the veneer of faux depth, atop the real depth of strong storytelling. I caught so many intentional Hollywood cliches: scenes of the boiler room; feral boy with mentor turns sharp shooter; pied-piper movie-maker loses his way, improvs a thin cheese, including a final line (no truer than anything else he's said).

So whose dream is this, whose skull are we in? Is our girl undergoing intensive regression therapy? Is our writer rescuing his feminine soul from the collective bug-infested Jungian unconscious? I had to admire Kong as technology, completely adapted to his world, winning a victory for mammal and ape consciousness, with whom we share a bond.

Arrogant city people, impressed with their machinery, their airplanes, don't really have their own economy together. There's this superficial consciousness here, so unsatisfyingly hollow compared to our primal one. Kong is the fitter species, in so many dimensions (no, I'm not jealous; hey, let's do a love triangle).

Our girl moves beyond fear with Kong, because he's so at home in Universe. Even when outside his private enclave, he follows his intuition and soon knows the score. He sets her down gently, knowing he's doomed -- and that he's found his friend again (she's real in both worlds).

Kong is no dummy.

So maybe the dream was his?