Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #740: It's All Gone King Kong!

20th Century Fox has officially gone monkey crazy. Hot on the heels of the upcoming release of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes the venerable studio has announced plans to do an animated remake of the classic big-ass monkey story King Kong.

But wait there's more!

Not only will it be animated, they are going to tell the story from the POV of the title character, King Kong.

What can I say about this....






Seriously, I can't think of a worse idea, and here's why:

1. Motives: I think the motivation behind this film is bad. It's purely an exercise in cash grabbing, and not seeking to tell a decent story or fulfill a unrequited desire in the audience. They just looked at the $550 million take Peter Jackson's remake took in, and said "me too!"

Of course they're not stupid and realized they mustn't spend the hundreds of millions of dollars spent making and marketing the remake, so they go the cheaper animated route, and will probably tack on a happy ending so the kiddies can enjoy repeat screenings.

Of course they must acknowledge that the remake left many fans of both Peter Jackson and the original 1933 masterpiece unsatisfied. There was no sense of wonder attached to the film, just an overwhelming sense of indulgence on the part of the people making it. No feeling that Jackson
had to make the film, just that he could make the film and make it BIG.

Fox knows that these same fans are not going to play a game of "fool me twice" with another re-boot. That is why they're going for the kiddie market. Fox knows that most children haven't seen the original in its city-stomping glory, or know that the story is supposed to be a tragedy. All Fox hopes is that they'll love the big monkey and have well timed conniptions until their parents buy them the King Kong plush toy and the Empire State Building play-set.

2. Understanding: The pitch that the film will be told from the big ape's POV shows that the people behind it really don't understand the original source material. The 1933 King Kong is as close to the ape's POV as you can get without him being able to talk.

Kong is the most sympathetic character in the movie. Carl Denham's charming, but a bit off his nut, and reckless about little things called human lives. The romantic leads Jack Driscoll and Anne Darrow come across an oaf and a naif respectively. It's Kong who becomes the center of your attention, and even affection the moment he comes on the screen.

He's the film's anti-hero. Yes, he does do terrible things, and a lot of innocent villagers and New Yorkers perish because of it, but why does he do those things? He does them because his kingdom on Skull Island is invaded, he's kidnapped, and dropped into the middle of a crowded island metropolis. He's a wild animal, in an unfamiliar environment with people screaming and shooting at him. It's perfectly natural for him to go ape-shit under those circumstances, and the audience understands that.

Take away that bit of wild animal believability, in order to make him cute and kid merchandise friendly, and you lose the sympathy that gives the film its emotional impact.

I'm sure the folks Fox are talking about working on this project are nice folks, and probably talented, which is why I suggest they step back from this intellectual and narrative abortion, and go do something different.

Maybe something original for a change of pace.

I know original material scares studio executives, so just call it "source material for future remakes."

Now that you know what I think, why don't you tell me what you think in the comments.


  1. Blast Hardcheese8/6/11 10:28 am

    OK, you just about made me spew coffee with that poster. Where did you get that?

  2. I made it.

    Photoshop is fun.