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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic



We have recently been treated to yet another version of King Kong, not to mention the long ago quasi-sequel Son of Kong and the distant cousin Mighty Joe Young and many other variations on the original yarn.  The 1933 version was a classic in its own day, and even today is well-regarded.  It was admirably redone in the 1976 remake, in which the expedition’s initial raison d’etre was provided an environmentally and economically relevant twist. But what is the rationale for even one more version, let alone two, especially without a newly updated story line?  At the rate of their production, a next version will hit the theaters after in only a few years.  Will it still look the same?  Heaven forfend.

I have a better idea.

Classic yarns that hit the silver screen tend to be remade over and over again.  Beau Geste was done three times and pirated for variations several times.  A Christmas Carol has been done so often that an accurate count may not be possible.  The Four Feathers was made four times. 

My Last Remake of King Kong concept is as up to date as, well, tomorrow.  For openers, let's forget about a bunch of sailors rushing off to rescue a damsel in distress; they'd more likely look to her to take care of herself as best she can.  And never mind a mysterious, unknown or unexplored island; there just aren't any any more.  Then we can junk the business about benighted savages, it's hopelessly and justifiably politically incorrect.  And the business about bringing the big galoot to entertain the huddled and affluent masses?  Strike that.  Finally, Kong himself will need to be redone, into a kinder and gentler, more humane, less threatening critter.

So what will the Last Remake of King Kong look like?  I thought you'd never ask.

We begin with agents of the Marriott or similar hotel chain setting off for Skull Island, which is the absolute last undeveloped piece of real estate on the globe.  They are bent on starting work for a vast hotel/casino complex that will be reached by flying boat or cruise ship from Cape Town or Sydney.  They heard about the place from refugees, swept away and settled in far away places after the lower reaches of the island were overwhelmed in the 2004 tsunami.  From aerial photographs the Marriott guys know the terrain enough to have planned the resort for the higher section of the island, safe from future tsunamis or typhoons.  The lower area, near the former village site, will be used for only a modest collection of docks and airline access and terminal, which can be sacrificed if another aquatic catastrophe strikes.  The possible view of the destruction down below would be a bonus for hotel guests safe on the mountain top, where the complex will be constructed with strength enough to resist anything short of the end of the world.

The Marriott scouts have heard, of course, of what happened to Kong and are content that the place is totally deserted.  When they arrive, however, they discover that Greenpeace activists have arrived before them, and are determined to prevent the agents of so-called civilization from doing their work.  They are led by Isabel Ibrahim (nice politically correct name, huh?), the one-half Spanish, one-half Iraqi, whose Iberian ancestors fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and whose father was a suicide bomber in the aftermath of the American “colonization” of Mesopotamia.  She is crafty, shrewd, and yet naive in the ways of the world, and never heard of Kong.  She heads a delegation to the Marriott vessel, with demands that the newcomers not only leave, but renounce future plans to “criminally exploit the last pristine place on earth.” 

The Marriott people are headed by thirtyish, muscular, Richard Reagump (how's that for putting three villainous Republicans into one package?  By film time he may have a similarly sinister middle name.), who is just as insistent that the “strictly business venture, which will safeguard the environment” will go ahead.  In support of this, in typical Philistine fashion, he flaunts the muscular crew, led by the elderly but still impressive former Governor of California, who still mutters broken English.

The confrontation boils down to an exchange of abstractions, derision, insults, sarcasm and finally threats that would develop into violence except for the former Governor counseling harmony and calm.  Isabel and friends leave in a huff, telling Richard that the Greenpeace operatives will make the project unworkable by guerrilla (gorilla?) harassment, whose not so subtle irony will certainly not be lost on the audience.  Back on the beach she and her computer nerd and maliciously small minded husband (paramour?), William Albert Hilliard, whose parents were young Democratic operatives in times past, take up residence in one of the few shacks unrazed from the tsunami, with their little boy, Hugo Fidel Hilliard.  In a very little while we discern that the apparent lovebirds are not on particularly good terms, for reasons that need not be delved into too deeply. 

When the Marriott crew comes ashore the next day they note the ancient wall and gates, in disrepair.  They encounter Greenpeace land mines, salvaged from Southeast Asia for the purpose.  Enraged, the Marriott crew goes on a rampage after the Greenpeace gang and their camp amid the village remnants, land mines detonating as they dash about.  Isabel, William and Hugo are separated, little Hugo running off into the jungle.

Who appears at this time but Queen Kong, who is still, even in her advanced age, smarting over the loss of her old simian.  She has been disturbed by the land mine explosions.She blunders into the chaos, and does away with William, while Isabel heads off in search of Hugo.  Queen Kong runs amuck for a while, scattering both the Marriott crew and the Greenpeace folks, then heads off toward her hideaway on the mountain.  On the way she captures Hugo, who she believes is the reincarnation of her King.  Isabel realizes that she cannot rescue Hugo alone, and returns to the settlement, in time to find that the Marriott crew and the Greenpeace folks discussing how they can settle their differences, with the Governor as a sort of mediator.  She pleads for help.

The Greenpeace people refuse to pursue Queen Kong because they can't risk doing environmental damage to a rare specimen of fauna in this virgin land, and the Marriott crew won't do anything to help Isabel whose interference led to all of this trouble.  Richard, however, empathizing with Isabel over the demise of William and the loss of Hugo, and taken by her fetching good looks, resolves to help.  Together they head off into the jungle, after being warned that the two groups might be gone when they return.

Richard and Isabel follow Queen Kong's trail, but for the sake of simplicity, do not run onto any large, dangerous critters.  When they finally, after a couple of days of getting acquainted, escaping quicksand traps, getting better acquainted, crossing raging streams, getting very well acquainted, and evading rampaging ants, arrive at the Kongs' penthouse suite, they have bridged the gap of their differences.  Richard is resolved to keep Skull Island pristine, and join the Sierra Club, and Isabel agrees that Richard may continue to work for Marriott, scouring the world for development opportunities in places where the environmental damage has already been done.

Meanwhile, back at the beach, the two battling groups have reached a modus vivendi, the Marriott people skittish about continuing on the project, especially since their leader has taken a powder, and the Greenpeace people less sympathetic with a wilderness whose principal inhabitant can squash a bunch of them on a whim.  With the Governor’s conciliatory skills they have agreed that both groups will leave the premises as they found them as soon as possible.  Abruptly, a representative of the United Nations arrives in a ship that conveniently mounts a helicopter, with a decree that Skull Island must be off limits to development as a sample of undeveloped grandeur for future generations.

Richard diverts Queen Kong while Isabel spirits Hugo away.  The trio flees, and is discovered and picked up by the U N helicopter.  When they arrive at the U N ship, the Marriott crew is back aboard their vessel and the Greenpeace folks have detonated all of the land mines and are headed off to their ship.

Richard and Isabel realize that they love each other.  With Hugo they watch the anguished and puzzled, Queen Kong wander the beach of the now safe from exploitation Skull Island.  The three ships leave in the twilight that bathes the island in beautiful and subdued colors.

Fade out.  Interminable credits.  Oscar nomination.  Black ink on the bottom line.

Submitted: January 12, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Bruce Graham. All rights reserved.

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