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Tomas Gallucci

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An Examination of the Sexuality of King Kong [Jul. 25th, 2006|06:17 pm]
Tomas Gallucci
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I've thought this from the first time I watched Peter Jackson's version of Kong, namely, did PJ intend for there to be sexual overtones in his movie? Let me explain.

When we first see Kong in his natural environment, he attempts to scare Anne. In fact, it's pretty apparent he was going to shake her up and then either when he got bored or she totally freaked out, he'd leave her for dead in the "bleeding boneyard." Unlike any other human sacrifice offered to Kong this one fights back instead of just being terrified. There is something strange going on here.

The next scene with Kong, however, establishes him as a herbivore. Good. So he isn't going to eat pretty chicky baby. Anne tries to escape. Her every attempt to do so is cut off by Kong. He establishes his dominance. But they each notice something about each other. They both get this look in their eyes as if to say "I'm going to test you and see how far I can go."

Anne then puts on a show for Kong in the style of vaudeville. Kong is definitely interested and amused, but he acts as though he's bored. She finished her routine leaning on a stick that's serving as a makeshift cane. Kong gets the idea to push the cane out from under her. Of course, she falls because she was putting all her weight on the stick. There is a go-around with Kong continuing to knock Anne down and laughing about it. Finally, Anne has had enough, and defiantly tells Kong "that's all there is!", repulsing his further attempts to knock her down. Immediately, Kong acts like a brutish, jealous man whist Anne glares at him.

He roars and displays his anger and power towards Anne before throwing a tantrum which ends with him punching a cliff, causing a giant rock to fall on top of his neck, much like fate would punish a jealous husband for such a display. Kong walks off giving Anne the could shoulder even though he was remorseful and perhaps embarrassed by his display of anger.

Anne attempts to follow Kong, but he goes out to meet the rescue party. In the meantime, Anne gets attacked by T-rexes after being forced out of a log where centipede-like creatures had put their antennae into her mouth. Was that act supposed to be some kind of sexual reference?

Of course, like any jealous man, Kong is smitten with the sexy woman who shows him the least bit of attention, ergo he fights off the T-rexes. Though he struggled to overcome them, in true male behavior, he makes a flourishing show of finishing off the damsel-in-distress' foe. Again, typical male, he wants her praise and adoration, yet he can not accept it when given. Let's not forget that the last time they were together, he was upset with her because she refused to "put out" as it were, ergo accepting her infatuation with his defense abilities and the simple act that he cares would be equivalent to pardoning her unwillingness to continue performing. So he turns his back on her, but of course she's on his heels.

Then the damnedest thing happens: as she's chasing after him begging him not to leave her, he picks her up and flips her onto his shoulder for a piggy-back ride. The parallels are numerous. This would be the equivalent of a poke war or general groping game between two lovers ending in him throwing her over his shoulder and carrying her off somewhere. Of course, she'd put up a fight (Anne didn't) but the truth of the matter is she'd be enjoying every minute of it.

The next series of shots can only be described as a guy trying to impress a girl by driving the car really fast. Of course, she loves it and is now in love with him. I mean, if I were a girl and I was riding on something that big and strong and fast, I'd totally want to fuck it. Now I'm not saying I want to see good ol'e Kong pleasure the girl better then the Trojan army, but the sexual overtones are pretty much blatant at this point.

Next comes "Scene Beautiful." When Anne walks up to Kong, she has that playful, coquettish look on her face. After a few attempts to get the ol'e boy's attention, she realized that it's not because he doesn't like her that he doesn't pay her any mind, it's because he's admiring the breathtaking scenery. He reaches out his hand for her. She does that typical girl thing of hugging her knees to her chest. Of course, she's stunning from the chosen angle. What quiet intimacy! It is as if she just got out of a wonderful bath and is curling up with her boyfriend in front of a fireplace on a cold winter's night.

Jack Driscoll to the rescue! This is where things really start to get messed up. Clearly Kong has it all going for himself. And here this conniving thief comes to steal Kong's girlfriend away! Kong's pissed and rightly so. Other then Kong's fierce anger, the thing to comment on is that Kong's feet and body were used as a blocking device keeping Anne and Jack separated.

Leaving Skull Island is a very emotional scene. While it just doesn't feel right for Jack to rescue Anne, she must go back to the man-tribe. If a bird and fish love each other, where shall they live? Kong doesn't want to let her go but almost comes to grip with doing so…until in true stupid love-clouded female fashion, she starts resenting going home and cries and fusses about it. Kong mistakes this for being held against her will and comes to the rescue. However, her unwillingness to let Kong go is ultimately his downfall. Too bad Anne is too caught up in being rescued—presumably as the damsel in distress.

The crew is trying to trap Kong so they can profit greatly off of him upon returning home. Once Anne realizes this, she resists even more, begging and pleading with the crew to let Kong go. This of course eggs Kong on to rescue Anne from her rescue party. She yells at Kong to go back, but he has to prove he is a man i.e. he can't walk away from a fight.

Central Park Scene: Very romantic! Oddly, for me it's rather reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (IMDB, Amazon). What I found interesting about this scene is that when Kong first dives into the snow bank, Anne gleefully accepts the falling snow although she protects her face. But when he shakes himself, she doesn't like it.

Next, we have repetition of "Scene Beautiful". Each thinks the other's world is beautiful, yet the lovesick bird and fish couple still have no place to dwell together although survival would probably be most likely in Kong's world.

Now we come to the great climax. At the beginning of this scene, Kong pushes Anne to safety. Kong discovers that the biplanes are a new kind of enemy. While he finds ways to rid himself of a few of them, ultimately he's no match. Anne can't let watch her beloved fight a futile to-the-death battle' no, she has to be with him, giving him the moral support. At first, she just wants to be at his side. While she is climbing to the top of the tower atop the Empire State Building, ordnance from the biplanes frees the bolts on to of the ladder, thus causing her to be suspended over the city holding on with her hands overhead. Simultaneously, Kong is holding on for dear life due to a barrage of bullets. Seeing Anne out of the corner of is eye, Kong takes the plunge, grabs the ladder and gets Anne to safety by putting her inside the building. She can't stand watching the slaughter from this vantage point either, so she climbs to the top of the top. Another barrage of bullets; Kong loosing ground in this fight. When Anne gets to the top, she sees the planes coming in for another attack. Standing in front of Kong, she waves her arms frantically to the planes shouting NO!

They pass. Kong holds Anne at arm's length admiring her own personal strength and commitment. Out of nowhere, Kong is shot in the back. His health rapidly declines. No longer possessing the strength to hold her, Kong sets Anne down and caresses her cheek. Anne knows the inevitable is imminent, yet the good-byes are still difficult. Kong, now dead, slips away—away from Anne forever.

Good ol'e Jack finally arrives at the top of the Empire State Building. While he comforts the bereaved Anne, there really is nothing romantic about this scene. It's as though Anne has been dating two people, fallen in love with one, keeping the other around because the one she loves is an unconventional choice. Even though the safety net is in place, she dares not to embrace it.

Maybe I'm reading too much into the movie, but this is what I feel every time I watch it. What amazed me (and what is miraculous in its own right) is the fact that Dad was moved by the ending. In fact, he was so moved by the ending that he made a joke to suppress the sadness. Too bad.

I don't think I'll ever forget the second time I saw this movie in theaters. I blogged about this some time ago here. I remember Timon's (at the time) girlfriend bawling her eyes out and then when it was over beating Timon up for taking her and giving me hell for dragging them to Cullman (i.e. holding me responsible for her emotional reaction to the film) as a birthday celebration for stormreaver. Oh, those were good times! I wonder what Miss Right thinks about me now. Of course, none of that really matters and I refuse to get into "what if" mode at the present moment. All I can really say is Kong is a very inspiring movie to the young inspiring filmmaker, one who might be working for Sidewalk this fall.