This post, and the next one I’m about to write, have been lingering for days. I feel like I’m posting all sorts of outdatedness, due to the busyness of life right now. Ah, well.
It was (white) beauty killed the (black) beast…?
So, Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame has remade King Kong, as most of you probably know. And it’s been getting all sorts of rave reviews, or at least, most of the reviews that I’ve caught have been raving.
But, ever since I first heard about the film, I’ve been a little nervous. I’d never even seen the original King Kong in its entirety, but what I knew of it was enough to inspire some worries. Let’s see… a big, dark, savage ape falls in love with an extremely white woman, wreaks havoc left and right, and is taken down in the end? Hmm… do I smell a thinly-veiled, dubious racial subtext here?
Jackson doesn’t really solve King Kong’s “native” problem—nor can he. The original was as much a symptom as a movie—the most extravagant cinematic expression of white supremacy made in America since The Birth of a Nation and perhaps the most delirious imperialist fantasy ever. Lose the spectacle of the white woman at the mercy of a savage horde and you lose the movie, although in keeping with Skull Island’s decor, Jackson recasts the indigenous people as a mob of slavering aboriginal zombie orcs.
So, my question is: come on, Peter Jackson. I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but every time I see your undeniably racialized depictions of Uruk-Hai and Haradrim, I kind of hate myself for loving it. What’s with your penchant for taking old, racist source material and retaining the worst of it? I understand and appreciate being true to the text, but does truth to the text trump being a wee bit less fucked up, especially when, by now, we should know better than Tolkien and the makers of the original King Kong?
Luckily for me, whereas I have a sustained love for and addiction to the LOTR movies despite the racial fuckedupedness, I have absolutely no interest in sitting through the 3-hour long tragic romance between a giant ape and a white girl.
Now, on to a tragic romance that I was very happy to sit through, and will most certainly purchase when it comes out on DVD: Brokeback Mountain.
I loved it. It was amazing and heartbreaking and beautifully shot. And, on top of all of that, it did not disappoint on the hotness factor. I love me some Jake Gyllenhaal, but Heath Ledger surprised the hell out of me with his excellent acting. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for those of you who have not gotten to see it, but I will recommend that you do get to seeing it ASAP.