Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Can't Make a Monkey Outta Me.... Or Can They?

So I finally sat down and watched all of Peter Jackson's version of "King Kong" this past weekend. At three hours it is much longer than the original 1933 version. It is chock full of references to the earlier work which is why I know exactly how much affection Peter Jackson has for it. Anyone who is a fan of moviedom will pick up on the little references here and there that recall an era when movies were not just remakes, but new forays into new worlds. But I digress.

One aspect of the original story that was given more screen time in this one (part of the reason for the longer running time) was the love story between Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) and Kong (Andy Serkis digitally captured and 'aped' out). Now I know some of you are probably thinking, "Love story? Get outta here!" But it's true! As in the original, Kong is shown to fall in love with Ann because she is unique in his eyes.

Their relationship begins the way most of Kong's relationships start and that is with the girl being a sacrifice. But just before he is about to 'break' the relationship off, Ann escapes. This little difference from all of Kong's other 'girlfriends' is what leads him to take a closer look at Ann. Through a series of adventures with bugs, giant lizards, dinosaurs, bats, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! (I had to throw that last bit in); the two come to an understanding with one another and Ann realizes that Kong truly cares about her and even she becomes protective of him.

Unlike in the original, when Kong is brought to civilization and makes his inevitable escape, Ann does not go into hiding, rather, she goes to him to calm him and to be with him. And it was at this point that I realized that more than any other male character in the film, Kong is portrayed to be the ideal man and perhaps this is why Ann weeps so much for him rather than Jack (Adrien Brody). Perhaps this is Peter Jackson's way of telling all of us guys out here that we should take a page out of Kong's book. I mean really! Kong didn't have to say a word, heck, all he did was bellow and roar and beat his chest, but he was able to show more love and express it much more vividly than Jack could.

Like all classic heroes in non-Kong movies, Kong puts his life in peril for his girl, fighting off dinosaurs, dodging fighter planes and contending with New York traffic. Nothing says 'I love you' quite like that. And the fact that Ann reciprocates that love is what made me realize that we could all learn a lesson from that ape. She loves him not because of how he looks, what he drives, or how much he earns but because he cares for her deeply.

One key point which women always make against men is that we never listen. I think more often than not that's the truth. We don't always listen. But look at Kong! On Skull Island, Ann makes a sign to indicate that the sunset they are seeing (awww... how classically romantic) is beautiful. When the pair are in New York watching a similarly hued sunrise, Kong repeats the sign. Ann just seems to melt. Finally, a man who listens!

They also make one another laugh; a key ingredient to any healthy relationship. Sure Kong's humor is a bit simplistic, he enjoys watching Ann do pratfalls. But hey, Ann reciprocates when she tries not to laugh when during his tantrum, Kong causes a landslide causing a boulder to hit him in the head. Sure it's a bit violent, but physical comedy has always been the quickest road to humor. I got to thinking, these are life lessons that I should keep in mind.

As odd as it sounds, being a monkey... er... ape in some ways would possibly make me a better man. Perhaps if I take a page from Kong's book and make some small changes, I can become a better ape... er man and win the heart of some fair maiden. We should all strive to be the best monkey.... ape... man. Whatever.



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