King Kong Lives (1986) Directed by John Guillermin
I don’t like to watch bad films that are purely bad. If “bad” is the only defining aspect of the movie, then all you end up with is boredom. However, if the film is also crazy, I can get into it. A bad film needs to have that sustaining weirdness if I’m to be entertained by it. And King Kong Lives has so much weirdness that it exhausts itself with it, and just turns bad. Allow me to explain.
I love the 76’ version of King Kong. All the mysticism behind the character of Kong is obliterated, and is replaced by Charles Grodin assuring Jessica Lange that she was about to be raped by a thirty-foot gorilla. It’s got a lot of weird touches like Kong arriving on stage in a cage shaped like a giant gas pump and the “epic” fight between Kong and the helicopters on top of the World Trade Center, which feels less like a dramatic duel between nature and man, and more like Kong leaped into the climax of Taxi Driver.
King Kong Lives feels a lot like a Toho film, as its plot is more in line with stuff like King Kong Escapes than it is with any American Kong efforts. Apparently Kong survived his 1000+ foot fall and is being held, in a coma, in a giant research lab in Atlanta. This movie takes place in the South, an interesting locale for a fantasy/adventure film. The first took place on Skull Island and New York City, and this one just takes place mostly in the backwoods and swamps. It’s pretty sobering, since both Skull Island and NYC (Jay Z rapped about it) are places of wonder and smoke, while rural Georgia just has snakes and a large river. (No diss to you, rural Georgia, but you might be getting unfair representation in King Kong Lives.)
Kong is going to die if he doesn’t get a blood transfusion – enough blood for them to put a mechanical heart into him. I’ll give them credit for the idea. While they end up finding a Lady Kong that has a blood type to match Mr. Kong’s, it’s a way more interesting plot than just having a new Kong show up. I also like that everything is taken so seriously in it. Everyone is straight-faced while debating how to keep Kong alive with his new heart and how Kong will react to his potential mate.
The main, non-ape characters are Brian Kerwin and Linda Hamilton, and while Linda Hamilton has Terminator cred going for her, Kerwin is so unlikable that you’d swear he was giving the other cast members cancer, just by being in close proximity to him. Every joke he makes resoundingly thuds against the floor and he’s just confident enough that, if you saw him get punched in a grocery store, you’d walk right by. I don’t have anything against people with swagger, but not when that swagger feels like it’s trying to strangle my liking of someone through a screen.
In the last movie, Kong fought a giant snake. In this movie, he fights four hillbillies that capture him in a rockslide in a canyon. It’s my favorite part of the movie and it doesn’t last nearly long enough. Kong also eats a lot of alligators and the Colonel who is given the task of hunting down Kong looks like he’d make a good Colonel. See how much I’m grasping at straws for things to enjoy in the second half of this?
I’ve always viewed King Kong Lives as the time Kong found a love interest that would accept him. He liked Jessica Lange in the last one, but she was too flighty and immature for a committed relationship with a Kong. She lusted for fame while Kong just wanted a nice cave for two on the top of a mountain. With Lady Kong, he is finally introduced to someone who adores him for who he is and can relate to him. So, these two Kong movies, rather than being about monster apes and shit, are actually about the evolution of love and attraction as one gets older and wiser. I don’t think I’m wrong.
One-And-A-Half Brian Kerwin’s Character Out Of Fuck Brian Kerwin’s Character
Digimon: Volume 1 (1999)
I like to revisit things I watched in my childhood to see if they hold up. Nostalgia doesn’t work for me very much. If things are based on nostalgia, then being entertained by them rarely lasts longer than an episode. If I want a quick nostalgia fix, I’ll watch the show’s theme song on YouTube and go on with my day. No use sitting through twenty minutes of it.
While the video games are another story (you’d have more fun repeatedly setting up and knocking down a chessboard than you would with any Digimon game), the Digimon anime is exponentially better than the Pokemon one was. I like animes that have an end point. When they don’t, you just get repeated arcs of people talking about the things that are going to happen, culminating in a single episode of things happening, before you watch it all again, with slightly larger hair styles.
I’ve tried to rewatch the Pokemon one, and, since the franchise has decided that it will outlive most of the people who originally starting enjoying it, it just goes nowhere. Sure, they finish certain things, but there’s always things to do after it, and I like when things conclude, and while I’m sure the characters go on to have more adventures and live great lives and stuff, I don’t have to watch all of it. I can just kind of salute them and move onto the next exercise in patience. No need for all the DLC, animes.
Digimon concerns seven kids who get magically transported to the “Digital World”, where they are paired with Digimon that complement their personalities. They learn that they, naturally, have to save this digital world from destruction or enslavement caused by more powerful, asshole Digimon that they have to Digi-volve to stop. I’m also twenty-four.
I like that there are seven of them and seven Digi-monsters, so that you have fourteen personalities that interact. And I like the creature designs, usually. The animation can get kind of clunky sometimes, and the quality fluctuates a bit, but it’s fairly consistent. All of the characters, unlike what I’ve seen in a number of other animes, tend to stay the same size as they always are. The voice acting doesn’t match the mouth movements a few times, and when it happens, it’s really obvious. But other than these minor complaints, I dig watching this show, or having it on as a background thing as I write about Black Rambo or whatever.
Two things of note: One) A major staple of kid’s cartoons is the lame jokes that you’ll respond to as being bad. Digimon does this for you, especially in the first few episodes. When a character makes a bad joke, another character will tell them “Ugh” or “Shut up.” I like that, being on the same page as Agumon and all. And Two) Etemon is my favorite villain in the history of anything.
Three Anime Goggles Out Of Five