Monday, December 19, 2005

Monday Notes

Well, I finished all of Battlestar Galactica: Season One yesterday (including commentaries and extras, of course) and it was great. Perfect timing, because Season Two street dates tomorrow. (Guess what's at the top of my Netflix queue?) It was great because (like Dawn, Shaft, and Manchurian) it was both an homage and a remake (they called it a "re-imagining") done by people who loved the original -- unlike certain remakes I could mention that seem to be done just because a studio owns the rights to some brand name and a bunch of characters and didn't have anything better to do. Here are David Anson's comments on the remake phenomenon.

Speaking of lovingly crafted remakes, my ♥GF♥ and I went and saw Peter Jackson's King Kong last night. It was awesome! Jackson is a devoted Kong fanatic, as evidenced by his loving recreation of the lost Spider Pit Scene. (More lost/censored Kong info here.) We watched the original afterwards (actually, she watched it all, I watched parts and offered comments). Things to look for, large and small, to compare and contrast between '33 and '05:
  1. Roger Ebert observes that the Jack Black portrayal of Carl Denham is modeled on Orson Welles, and I agree.
  2. They must not have had Stockholm Syndrome back in 1933.
  3. It's impossible to see military planes on a sudden, unforseen, crucial mission over New York's skyline without thinking about having at least a brief flashback to the emotions you felt watching you-know-what unfold.
  4. The similarity of the billboards/neon signs in Times Square.
  5. The self-referential comment in Jackson's version about Denham "killing off the first mate."
  6. The yellow taxicabs.
  7. The hats the sailors wear on Skull Island.

Years ago I was at a screening / discussion of the original Kong film, and in the discussion afterwards, they started talking about Kong as Christ-figure. This prompted me to think of the best line I've never used (until now). I should have said, "Well, Kong was killed by Army pilots..." (wait a beat) "...and Christ was killed by Pilate's Army."

How did it come to be that Kong was finally felled by the biplanes? (I know, I know, 'twas Beauty, etc. -- Beauty didn't have any machine guns, though.) It's a safe bet that it's because producer Merian C. Cooper was a combat pilot himself, both before and after he made the 1933 King Kong. I might have to check out this Cooper biography by Mark Vaz sometime soon, and also see if I can catch this Turner Classic Movies documentary.


Blogger Christian Johnson said...

The documentary is excellent, I queued it up on my TiVo the other day. It appears that Cooper was a real life "Blackhawk," like the comic book pilot.


6:09 PM  
Blogger KaneCitizen said...

Thanks, #. Any new news on the TTLB community you want to start?

7:04 PM  
Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:01 AM  
Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

I always thought of Kong as representative of man's past and his overwhelming urge and struggle to survive in a relatively peaceful state of nature but being defeated by the industrial state and modern era... and that he was a cool, kick-ass giant gorilla.
On a serious note- Fay Wrey's life is an interesting one- I felt as if TCM should have also invested in a brief documentary about her. I haven't gotten my King King Collector's set yet (my wife insists that one must simply wait until Christmas) but I'm hoping there will be some sort of tribute or feature about her there. She deserves it.
Also, I enjoyed the post about D.B.. I have the Americans Trilogy and the Discoverers, Creators, Seekers set- I always felt D.B. was a seriously underappreciated historian. When I was in grad school (being a budding historian myself) his name was rarely mentioned. I cited his work several times in some studies and research I had done and was once rebuked by a professor for using someone who was considered "thematic" at best. My comment about "pointy-headed, ivory tower academes" and "actual working, publishing historians" did not go over well.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I can't wait to get BG. Great show. Keeps getting better. I hope the 3.0 season starting in Jan returns to the amazing start that 2.0 had.

12:06 AM  

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