Friday, February 25, 2011

Lessons I Didn't Want to Take Away from Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong: Whiplash

The 1933 King Kong made me at a very young age realize my life's ambition: to become a blonde flapper with great pipes, carried around by a giant gorilla. I'd have all sorts of exotic adventures whipping through the wild, untamed terrain of Skull Island, watching my ape fight T-Rexes and Pterodactyls while I perched atop a tree or peeked out from behind a bolder, my flowy white dress almost in tatters. I might even enjoy a clunky romance with a rough-but-gentle sailor, who'd awkwardly grumble, "Shucks! I guess I love you." Then there's the thrill of dodging bullets sprayed from fighter planes as I totter on the edge of the Empire State Building's highest point. All this and more while screaming my ass off!

I can't say Peter Jackson's 2005 remake absolutely ruined this fantasy of mine--I've nursed it so long, nothing could permanently shake my idealized image. But one of these remade scenes, taking place not long after CGI Kong picks up Naomi Watts for the first time, stunned me with its sobering reality, with an idea that had never occurred to me. Something that would undoubtedly hinder my safety in the giant's paw.

Whiplash. I could totally die from whiplash.

Jackson shoots the scene I just alluded to from Watts's point-of-view, as she's swung through branches while clinging in terror to Kong's paw. And we see through the camera's jerky, sudden movements that the young woman's neck is violently bobbing up-and-down, thanks to Kong's heavy steps and his arm swaying back-and-forth. This--not to mention all the brush and branches she narrowly avoids getting smacked in the face with--would most likely break a person's neck in real life. I'm actually not sure how Jackson accounts for Watts's Ann Darrow surviving this harrowing journey he portrays.

But instead of abandoning my beautiful, pure life goal, I've decided that next time a fast-talking film director invites me along on his totally legal and safe cruise to an uncharted island, I'm wearing a jewel-studded neck brace. Just in case. The jewels so I can pull it off as a fashionable choker. That way my shipmates won't think I'm weird.


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