I can let go of a lot of reality when I watch movies. Sure, I’ll believe that a radioactive spider can give a man superhuman powers or that travel through space at light speed is possible. That is part of what is so much fun about movies: the chance to escape from reality.
However, sometimes the lack of reality in small areas can undermine the effectiveness of a scene or an entire movie. While watching the 2005 version of King Kong this weekend on DVD, I was willing to believe the whole giant ape thing of course. As well as dinosaurs and giant bugs living on an undiscovered island.
However, during the scene where they fight off the giant bugs, after Jimmy suddenly becomes an expert marksman the first time he picks up a machine gun, he takes the gun and THROWS IT AWAY. Now, I’m not 100% sure what I would personally do in that situation, but I would like to think that if me and my travel companions had just been attacked by giant cockroaches and flesh-eating swamp slug things, I wouldn’t get rid of the gun right away. But maybe that is just me.
But what really did it for me is the scene in New York City after Kong escapes from the theater and Jack Driscoll draws him off by having the giant ape chase him by driving a taxi. First of all, this is kind of a stupid choice: in order to save a single trolley car full of people, he leads King Kong on a rampage through the city that results in dozens of city blocks being destroyed. Good job Jack! Once the massive monkey catches the cab and Jack in it, they manage to wind up in a quiet residential area of Manhattan. One that apparently doesn’t have any people living there who would be concerned that there was just a loud screeching car and the loud grunting and breathing of a 25-foot gorilla.
Of course, this is all very convenient since at the same time, Ann Darrow arrives on the scene, even before the cops and the military, even though they had shown up in Times Square moments after the problems started. She managed to beat them all to the place where Kong has run to even though she was on foot and in a light dress in the middle of winter.
So we end up with a girl wearing a showgirl dress beats the police and the military chasing a giant monkey across New York City into a residential neighborhood where no one seems to care that there is a 25-foot monkey confronting a taxi with the roof torn off. That’s perfectly believable, no?
And what is up with the whole love affair between Ann and King Kong. I know that the connection is one of the basic elements of the story, but isn’t it a bit much to say that Ann would be in LOVE with the Monkey? At least to the extent that they show her in this version.
In the end, the little unbelievable moments make the big fictional basic elements of the story less entertaining. The special effects aren’t quite as good as I had hoped – that scene in Central Park was clearly fake (not to mention another unbelievable moment…. shouldn’t that ice have cracked?) and there were several other blue screen scenes that weren’t as seamless as we’ve grown accustomed to. I’ll be sticking with the original, thanks.